Bhubaneswar: On the eve of Christmas, visitors from far away Manila city in Philippines, senior officials from Bhubaneswar Military Station of Territorial Army and several others joined Ekamra Walks, the first weekly guided heritage tour of the city and explored the rich heritage and Kalingan temple architecture in the old city area.
The four visitors from Philippines were poet and radio broadcaster Kooky Tuason, poet and percussionist Marty Tengco, poet, musician and singer Jing Jorge and journalist Rome Jorge, who had come to Bhubaneswar to take part in the Mystic Kalinga Literary Festival that concluded on Saturday. They had extended their stay in the city to take part in the Sunday heritage walk along the lanes of old city exploring rich heritage and culture spanning several centuries. All four of them were equally enthralled to witness the finest carvings on stone and vivid temple architecture in different iconic temples and monuments in old Bhubaneswar, said Kooky Tuason, who is a poet and also works as a radio broadcaster in Manila city. Mesmerized by the heritage treasure of Old Bhubaneswar, Filipino journalist Rome Jorge said “We have been truly lucky and fortunate to have participated in such a nicely structured heritage tour covering ample number of ancient temples and monuments spanning thousands of years.” Learning about the concept behind the medicinal plant garden Ekamra Van and the beautiful Odissi dance performances at the end were truly befitting the memorable walk, he added.
Among other visitors were a team of senior defence personnel from Bhubaneswar Military Station including Commanding Officer of 120 Battalion Col Jacob Freeman who had come to the walk with his family and Lt. Col. Gopi, who is the Admin Commandant of Bhubaneswar Military Station.
Today’s Ekamra Walk begun with a sparsely foggy climate of wintry morning from the picturesque Muketshwar Temple in the old city, aptly complimented by the classical ragas performed on flute and table by Jagat Ranjan Pattnaik and Subrat Kumar Jena, respectively. Moria Chappel, an Odissi dancer from Seattle, USA, who had come for a photo shoot at the Mukteswar Temple was delighted to know about Ekamra Walks and expressed keenness to join both the Old city and Khandagiri-Udayagiri heritage walks in the coming weekend.
A total of 45 heritage enthusiasts including children took the tour today and visited the heritage sites such as temples of Mukteswar, Parsurameswar, Kotitirtheswar, Ananta Vasudev, Lingaraj, Chitrakarini, Sari Deula, Mohini, Vaital, Bharti Mutt, Old Dharamsala, Bindusagar lake and ended the trip after visiting the unique medicinal plant garden, Ekamra Van, which has over 220 varieties of medicinal plants. The participants also experienced beautiful recital of Odissi by the students of renowned Odissi dancer Ileana Citaristi at Art Vision, the institute for Odissi learning by the Italian-born dancer.
It may be noted here that Ekamra Walks, the first guided heritage walks in the city, recently completed one year witnessing over 3000 participants from over 25 countries. It is jointly organized by Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA), Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Odisha Tourism. The walk is curated by Detour Odisha.