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’s first ever trip was successfully organised on 24th December 2017.
A total of 14 culture-enthusiasts came together for this one-of-its-kind 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. “People are seldom aware of the fact that the valley of the Prachi river was once the most coveted site for a new structure. Said to be the ‘most sacred river of Eastern India’, the Prachi has been the cradle of Odisha’s ancient beliefs for centuries. We have more than 350 temples on its banks alone. We wanted to make everyone aware of these wonders nested in remote corners.”, Ashish pointed out.
From the hundreds of temples that dot its banks, the maiden tour with touch a handful of magnificent monuments including Buddhanatha (at Garedipanchana), Gangeswari (at Bayalishbati in Gop), Barahi Temple (at Chaurasi), Angeswara (at Pitapada), Madhaba Temple (at Madhaba village) & Sobhaneswara in Niali. The route is a dream come true for travellers and a photographers, judging by the number of both. Interactive discussions sprung up every second while the team showed everyone around the historical sites.
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, “The Buddhanatha Temple at Garedipanchana is known for its serene atmosphere. The fabulous Gangeswari temple was built as a model for the Sun temple of Konark. Chaurasi’s Varahi temple enshrines a fish-loving goddess and is known for its Tantric associations. Angeswara at Pitapada is a rare terracotta temple & is said to be built by the king of Anga, the ancient kingdom of Bihar. Niali’s Madhaba temple at the village of the same name houses an image of Vishnu known to be Jagannatha’s uncle. Finally, Sobhaneswara is a Shiva temple that was once a revered spot for Odisha’s legendary sadhabas or seafarers.”
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 trip will be organised on the 21st of January 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. Our uniqueness lies in the fact that Kalinga Diaries will never repeat the route for a second time, at least till an year. Hence, each route will be completely unique. Details will be posted through our social media handles and the website www.kalingadiaries.com.”
Avinash Patnaik, one of the participants said, “I did not know anything about these temples until I came here. These are fascinating pieces of our history that every one of us ought to know about.” Hrudananda Behera, a photographer who participated in the tour was all praise about the project. “This team is doing such wonderful work! Why has anyone else not done this until now? Bringing more and more unexplored sites to the public gaze, this project is sure to be a pathbreaking attempt that brings a new angle to the tourism scenario in Odisha.”, he said.
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].