Temple City's - Heritage Tale
Updated: Apr 5, 2018
Former Tourism Secretary Arti Ahuja on December 18, 2016 flagged off the heritage walk in Old Town area of the Temple City of India by unfurling a white flag with the logo of Ekamra Walks written in deep black at its centre. But, within a short span that simple, sober and black and white beginning has evolved into a nice spectrum of colourful journey, which took the heritage enthusiasts by storm and week after week, the show turned out to be a showpiece of Bhubaneswar’s pride, attracting citizens from more than 25 nations and with a footfall of 2500 plus walkers.
Yes! While the early Sunday morning walk, starting at Mukteswar Temple at 6.30 am,
includes all major monuments and shrines surrounding the majestic Lingaraj Temple and the
holy Bindusagar lake, the second walk at the Twin Hills of Khandagiri and Udayagiri, named
Monks, Caves and Kings has also walked into its 17th edition and adding an average of 30
enthusiasts each Saturday morning. It starts from the gate near Udayagiri, which is having a
beautiful landscape, maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Ekamra Kshetra, as the ancient place was known in the past, was once a home to more than
7,000 temples, as experts have studied in archaeology and history. However, due to urban
development, growth and several other factors we are currently having a little more than
360 temples left in the Old City. All these monuments, big and small have emerged from 7 th
Century AD to 15 th or 16 th Century AD. Interestingly, most of the monuments have come up with beautiful water bodies near them making the atmosphere of the entire area cool,
comfortable and green.
During each walk the guide would explain the walkers the typical design elements and
ground plan of Mukteswar Temple as it is regarded as a `Gem’ of Kalingan temple
architecture with a beautiful arch, carvings, windows on temple walls, Panchatantra tales on
its window panels, intricate carvings on the ceilings inside the prayer hall, small temples on
the campus and a beautiful sun dial on its green lawn.
After the 10 th Century Mukteswar, 7 th Century Parasurameswar, 7 th Century Swarnajaleswar, Bindusagar, 12 th Century Ananta Vasudev with its efficient temple kitchen, Century-old Doodhwala Dharamsala, 11 th Century Lingaraj Temple from the View Point (locally called Curzon Mandap), 13 th Chitrakarini Temple with beautiful Pancharatha style, 12 th Century Sari Temple, 9 th Century Mohini Temple, 7 th Century Vaital Temple, medicinal plant gardenEkamra Van and Odissi recital at Art Vision are on the list, though the visitors enjoy their time with other cultural celebrations, rituals and traditional activities as part of the Old City’s religious trends.
As the walkers view the beautiful carvings on temple walls with several types of postures or
``Mudras’’ the Odissi recital at Art Vision, dance institute established by Italian-born well known dance Guru Ileana Citaristi, remind them these postures in action and they could
relate how the Classical dance form has taken inspiration from the carvings and gradually
evolved into such a graceful, sensuous and engaging dance form, which has established
itself as a major Classical dance form in the world and with fan following in almost all
From an agrarian economy around the Ekamra Kshetra in the past to the New Capital a
now an emerging Smart City in the making, Bhubaneswar has undergone a dynamic shift in
its historic and urban character. However, the heritage walks are there to remind the
visitors the great historical past of the city . If you are in Bhubaneswar or planning a trip to the Temple City, include the Ekamra Walks to your schedule as they would enlighten you with more insights, besides the usual tours to the age-old monuments. The guides and co-walkers would make you feel at home as every question from your mind would be addressed and explained with reciprocation and love.
Aesthetic. Appealing. Elegant. Let us walk through Ekamra...