Bhubaneswar: The 10th Monks, Caves and Kings (MC&K), heritage walk on Saturday morning under Ekamra Walks at the Twin Hills of Udayagiri and Khandagiri had a beautiful profile with visitors from many leading educational institutions in and around the city, making it a nice confluence and to explore the history, anthropology, archaeology and last but not the least, the development aspects of the age-old monuments of the State Capital, known for its Jain influences over the period of times.
While three students from National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER) Jatani, could made it their day’s beginning with a heritage trip to the historic hills, two students from Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar, two research scholar from Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology and three anthropologists from State Tribal Museum near CRP Square in the city participated at the event making it colourful.
Dr. Ron Harper, managing director Centurion Global, the international wing of the city-based Centurion University of Technology and Management, who is from Australia, was the lone face as a foreign national at the walk.
Lipsa Jena from NISER, a researcher in biosciences, said “the heritage walk today at the Twin Hills of Udayagiri and Khandagiri taught me many things apart from the fact that how the people and especially the religious preachers were living in such restricted environment and were showing lights to the world. The rich history of these mere stones is so colourful and touching, I just discovered this morning with such a beautiful event. I would definitely tell my other friends to join and explore.’’
Diptanil Roy, also from NISER, but doing his studies in Physics, said “I had heard about the beautiful temples in and round the city, but it has so beautiful caves, cave art and all with such interesting tales of their past, made the heritage walk a wonderful encounter.’’
Bhagyashree Parida, Raimani Murmu and Bhagyashree Acharya, who came from the Tribal Museum in the city, termed the experience at MC&K as “interesting and educative.’’ All the three are working as anthropologists at the Tribal Museum and were students at the Post-Graduate Department of Anthropology, Utkal University.
“As students of anthropology and currently working at a premier museum in the city, many topics discussed at the walk made us more curious to know and explore the Twin Hills quite often as it has a treasure of so many things especially the rock art found inside Hati Gumpha. More studies would definitely throw more lights into their accurate timing and also genesis as there are several rock art sites inside Odisha. Even rocks arts could also attract niche tourists from foreign lands to Odisha,’’ said Bhagyashree Parida.
Sreebha Ghoshal, MBA student from XIMB, who is originally from Kolkata, said “we were aware of the beautiful temples of Bhubaneswar and I have also visited the Ekamra Walks Old Town Circuit, but today’s MC&K at Udayagiri and Khandagiri was unique and interesting as it involved so many things starting from the old rulers, caves, sages, Odissi, lifestyles of the royals and last but not the least, the sociological overview of the past era.’’
Ritika Chandra, also MBA student from XIMB termed the day’s experience at the 10th MC&K as “extraordinary.’’
Dr. Ron Harper from Centurion Global was happy to notice the simian population staying so closely to the Udayagiri-Khandagiri Hills, but not harming the tourists. “As a place of Jain philosophy this uniqueness of this Hill could be the peaceful co-habitation of man and animals, whereas in many places around India and world the friction is distinctly seen.’’
After the Udayagiri tour the group of 30 walkers also saw the beautiful rock-cut relics of Jaina Tirthankaras at Khandagiri Hills.