Kalinga Diaries is a brand new project to get people to the lesser known, hidden monuments of Odisha. Founded by a dedicated team determined to make more people aware of the unexplored side of Odia, the startup successfully organised its second tour on 21 Jan to Jajpur, which was once thecapital of ancient Kalinga kingdom & holds a vibrant history.
A total of 14 culture-enthusiasts came together for this unique event. Ashish Sarangi, an engineer by profession but also a self-made expert in Odisha’s ancient history & Kalingan architecture, who has extensively toured through ancient Kalingan sites for years is one of the founders of the project. “Jajpur, the ancient capital of Odisha contains some of the ancient monuments in the entirety of Odisha. Sadly, not many are aware of them. Our goal is to get everybody to know more about our forgotten ancient heritage.”, Ashish pointed out.
From the many temples in the district, the tour covered Deuli Buddhist Site, Barahanatha Temple, Bimala Temple, Jagannatha Temple, Jama Maa Sata Bhauni, Budha Ganesa, Dasaswamedha Ghata, the famous Biraja temple and lastly, Langudi or Pushpagiri. Interactive discussions sprung up every second while the team showed everyone around the historical sites. Everyone was captured by these marvels that Kalinga’s artisans chiselled hundreds and thousands of years ago. Barahanatha is the largest and one of the very rare temples to Baraha, Vishnu’s boar-incarnation. Jajpur’s Jagannatha Temple is similarly ancient and houses many ancient sculptures. In the Dasaswamedha Ghata, the Jama Maa Sata Bhauni is a heavily tantric shrine with 8 life-size images of the mother goddesses. Langudi or Pushpagiri is an ancient Buddhist monastery which Hiuen Tsang recounted in his memoirs.
One of the participant, Dr Kartik Herkel, working in a reputed govt medical college in Bhubaneswar, said “Such tours gives us a chance to visit many lesser known heritage sites which otherwise I would not have gone all alone. Being with like minded knowledgeable people on a Sunday tour is worth it”. Another participant, Debendra Kumar Pattanayak who is an ex-banking staff, explained his intention regrading joining the tour for the first time – “I saw the promos though social sites & was quite impressed with the team’s sincere efforts to bring lesser known sites into limelight. Hence, joined the tour & Im quite excited on visiting the Buddhist sites of Langudi & Deuli for the first time & feels proud of these sites in Odisha which needs proper preservation.”
Prateek Pattanaik, a physics undergraduate who researches into Odisha’s temples, music and literature and has been digitally documenting them for posterity is also one of the founders. Describing the route, he said, “Deuli is hill-top stupa that enshrines Buddha’s hair relic. It is said that two sea merchants (sadhabas) from Odisha, offered arisa pithas to the hungry Buddha. The two had built two stupas, tbis is one of them”.
Bithi Das, one of the participants said, “I had attended their previous tour. This one was equally enlightening.” Debasis Sarangi, another participant also appreciated the one-of-its-kind effort. “This team is doing such wonderful work! I am glad to find people who are willing to discuss and debate about our ancestors and what fascinated them and what resulted from it”, he said.
The guided tour is a paid one with Rs 999/- being minimum charges per tour depending on route & time. More and more people have been showing interest in the project and applauding it for its fresh perspective. Taranisen Patnaik, an accountant by profession who has been passionately capturing intimate shots of Odia culture through his camera, also one of the three founders told, “The next tour on a new route (to be shared soon) will be organised on the 11th of February 2018, a Sunday. We prefer to take the time in between to extensively plan a route that will be equally fascinating as our first one”.Kalinga Diaries first tour was to the Prachi River Valley on 24th December which was a successful one.
The project and its unique approach have been well-received on social media and elsewhere. More details can be found at the website www.kalingadiaries.com, through the social media handles on Facebook (facebook.com/kalingadiaries), Twitter (@kalingadiaries) and Instagram (@kalingadiaries) or via email at [email protected].