Bhubaneswar: Ekamra Walks, the only guided heritage tour of the city got a nice experience of two walks in two different circuits and a wonderful participation by the corporate team of a leading public sector bank and general public including a tourist from Slovenia.
While there was a grand group of more than 100 employees, trainees and students including Chief General Manager (CGM) Praveena Kalla and other top officials at Ekamra Walks Old Town Circuit, from nation’s biggest banker, State Bank of India (SBI) on a Special Tour, a smaller group was there at Udayagiri and Khandagiri, the famous Jain heritage site at the twin hills.
CGM Praveena Kalla said “I had attended heritage walks before, while in Mumbai, but it was about the colonial architecture of the British Raj. Knowing of our own cultural heritage, monuments and the unique temple building style and architecture of the Kalingan era was something very interesting. The Odissi recital at Art Vision, an institute by Guru Ileana Citaristi was also an interesting addition to the walk. We will definitely want to promote it in future by more and more participation.’’
General Manager Sudhir Thakore said “today’s walk of the SBI team was a beautiful experience of the Temple City, which was once a leading Shaivite shrine and was famous across the region as Ekamra Kshetra.’’
Deputy General Manager-cum- Chief Development Officer Krishan Sharma termed the heritage tour in the Ekamra Walks (Old Town Circuit) as an enriching exposure and an eye-opening episode to know the unique temple building style in ancient Utkala, as Kalinga was also known as for its excellence in `Kala’or art.
AGM Pradeep Kumar Biswal said “I am from Odisha, but I did not so many things about our beautiful temples. We actually started with an awareness generation on YONO, but ended up with exploring so much of knowledge on our own temples, monuments and the classical dance form, Odissi.’’
The SBI team was promoting YONO and were with red T-shirts and flooded the monument campuses of the Old Bhubaneswar area with red. YONO (You Only Need One) is an integrated digital banking platform offered by SBI to enable users to access a variety of financial and other services such as taxi bookings, online shopping, or medical bill payments. Currently, YONO is offered as a smartphone app for both Android and iOS.
MONKS, CAVES & KINGS
Meanwhile, there was also a small group at Khandagiri and Udayagiri for the Monks, Caves and KIngs to explore the Jain heritage sites, pre-historic caves and art form and various other caves named after the erstwhile rulers of Kalinga.
Matjaz Kovse, from Maribor, Slovenia was a guest at Monks, Caves and Kings. He is a first Slovenian to join Ekamra Walks with him the heritage walk has now included foreign nationals from 28 different countries across the world.
Matjaz, later spoke about the interesting walk at the cave and pre-historic site and added “this experience is totally different and I got to know stories of different times from the guide. This walk is also helping interested participants to wake up at early morning hours and it is a good thing to come to the heritage walk and explore the past even for the local citizens.’’
Rajeswari and Kumaresh, who once joined the Old Town Circuit in the past, observed “after the Old City experience we decided to visit the Twin Hills of Udayagiri and Khandagiri and found it very interesting with a very different architecture, style, stone shaping up human habitation proving the oldness of the place and listening to nice stories associated with the two hills.