Bhubaneswar: The 70th Monks, Caves and Kings hosted many travellers including video blogger, students from TERI (Energy and Resources Institute), KIIT University, a senior official of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), a dental surgeon and vocal artist Sashikant.
For the first time, the heritage trail at the Twin Hills saw a unique “jugalbandi” of music as Sushant played the tabla and Sashikant came up with a fine rendition of “Vabani dayani..” in Raag Bhairavi and Taal Jamtal. All the walkers at Monks, Caves and Kings enjoyed the “jugalbandi” of music, history, archaeology and tales of the rulers of the great Kalingan Empire.
While the morning hours at the Twin Hills of Khandagiri remained cool, filled with divinity and the guide narrating a series of interesting stories to the first-time visitors, the other visitors were also found glued to the tales as they also saw some rare evidence like the famous Hatigumpha Inscription and the historic caves, probably created for the Jain monks at Udayagiri.
Guide Satyaswaroop Mishra described how the-then collector of Cuttack Andrew Sterling discovered the inscription and it was learnt that the British official was spending a major time from his administrative responsibilities in working on the rock edict and later others came forward in understanding the inscription and later it was deciphered completely. The complete text in English is also there in front of Hatigumpha placed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) so that visitors could go through the valued piece, which tells much about Emperor Kharavela and how he conquered more than 40 percent landmass of the Indian sub-continent.
Mohammad Anas Khan, who is currently doing his internship with IT major HP in Bengaluru also collected videos for his Vlogging Channel on Youtube “Maxplorer”. “I found the Jain trail under the Ekamra Walks very interesting and the event also takes the visitors to that unknown era as during emperor Kharavela the Kalingan empire was at its pinnacle of glory,” he said.
Two students from KIIT University Shivam Shrey and Parijat Sinha also termed the Monks Caves and Kings as a “unique experience” and urged the student community from all city-based institutions to explore it and be part of the rich cultural heritage of the ancient Kalingan kingdom.
Dipti, a student of TERI, New Delhi and currently an intern with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said “the walk is very interesting and takes the visitor to a different world. I will also try to be there at Ekamra Walks, Old Town Circuit and the Museum Walk at Kala Bhoomi in near future.”
Senior official from RBI Niladri Bihari Panda from Chennai, who came to attend the 70th Monks, Caves and Kings along with his dental surgeon brother Nagendra Bihari Panda, said “I came to the Twin Hills on so many occasions, but today’s experience was unique as I could get a new perspective of the historical background of my own forefathers and the rulers, who ruled a major part of Asian region in the past.”