Visitor from Poland, UN officials join Jain trail

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Bhubaneswar: Travellers from Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, UN officials and a visitor from Poland took part in the 67th Monks, Caves and Kings.

The participants explored the colourful history, military prowess, religious and cultural developments and socio-cultural fabrics of the 2nd Century BC Kalinga and the nearby era through the archaeological remains of the famous Jain shrine Khandagiri -Udayagiri through the heritage trail.

Robert Roclawski, a native of the great historical city Olsztyn in the Warmia-Masuria province of northern Poland on the river Lyna, who visited the Old Town heritage tour last Sunday, was happy knowing so much about Odisha’s glorious past as it was known as Kalinga then.

“This Monks, Caves and Kings heritage trail has many things amalgamated into one like the history, carvings on the sandstone, the patronage of the Royalty for the propagation of Jainism and the story of Emperor Kharavela as nicely narrated by the guide made a special day and I enjoyed every bit of it,’’ Robert said.

Chief of Field Office, Unicef Odisha, Monika Nielsen said “the heritage trails under Ekamra Walks have really put a nice way to represent Bhubaneswar’s rich and glorious past so that visitors would get a slice of it through the guided tours.’’

Harikiran Bangera, an orthopaedic surgeon from Mangalore, who came with wife Dr Smitha Bangera and son Sathwik said “as my wife is a professor of nursing at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Bhubaneswar I usually come here once in a month. I had been to the Old Town heritage walk once, but today’s walk at Khandagiri and Udayagiri was a wonderful experience and we all enjoyed our time very much.’’

Sathwik, studying in Class VII took much interested in the discussions and also asked a lot many questions to the guide and all the visitors enjoyed the conversations as the site has got some interesting elements like naming of the caves as per animals, members of the Royalty and the inscriptions with fabulous historic and archaeological values. Sathwik has also a brother Sidharth, who lives in Mangalore with his dad. Harikiran is on a three-day family tour to nearby places this time.

Sandeep Kumar S, originally from Kerala and a staffer with AIIMS Bhubaneswar came to join the walk with his friend Sunil Nair. “From AIIMS we are almost a regular group to the Khandagiri heritage trail. Many more friends are likely to join the expedition to explore the stories, tales and the mysteries behind the stone-carves caves and other stuff,’’ said Sandeep.

Snigdha, a student of IIT Bhubaneswar who had heard about the Ekamra Walks from friends, joined the 67th Monks, Caves and Kings along with her father K. Gurumurthy and mother S.N. Padmavathi. Gurumurthy family from Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh enjoyed the tour and they also participated in the interactive trail to know more about the famous monument with influences of Jainism and also partly Buddhism as evident from the structures atop the Udayagiri Hills.

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