Bhubaneswar: Heritage walk and re-discovering the monuments of Old Bhubaneswar apart, the Ekamra Walks today became a celebration for the couple Shyam Chetty and Surekha Rani as it was five decades after Shyam, former director of National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL), Bangaluru, returned to his roots and was overwhelmed to see the changing cityscape.
The high-ranking scientist of the famous R&D laboratory under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, studied Senior Cambridge level at city-based Stewart School, Bhubaneswar as his father was the Auditor General in Odisha.
“I have a very fond memory of the city and really feeling excited about the trip and especially the nice initiative of guided heritage walk. Though in the past I had been to Bhubaneswar on several occasion, my wife is coming to the city for the first time and she is also equally happy as it was here I studied my pre-university courses at Stewart School,’’ said the scientist.
He has more than 30 years of experience in the field of Aircraft Flight Mechanics and Control. His research fields include Flight Control System Design and Development, Aircraft Simulation and Modelling, Handling Qualities and Aircraft Pilot Coupling, Computer Aided Flight Control Design and Rapid Prototyping Techniques.
Shyam is a native of historic city Mysore in Karnataka. His wife Surekha is a well-known artist, who has done number of her paintings and other works in various mediums to express her feelings and creativity.
Apart from the former director of NAL and his wife, a well-known Professor of University London from School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) David Taylor, American Odissi dancer Durga Bor, 60 students from Piloo Mody College of Architecture with their three faculty members, research scholars from Orissa University of Agriculture Technology (OUAT) and 12 students of Indian Institute of Travel and Tourism Management came calling for the Ekamra Walks Old Town Circuit today making it a grand event with a massive footfall of more than 100.
Professor David Taylor first came to India in 1962, but though he had made several visits mostly to the North India, came to Odisha for the first time and was accompanied by his former student Lopamudra Tripathy as she was doing her Ph.D in University of London and was consulting with the professor for her studies.
Professor Taylor while speaking about changes in the country, said “as I have seen India in the early Sixties, there has been a very encouraging change in cities getting bigger, better health-care and economic development, but to me it seems to be a very steady growth, unlike China, where the growth has become very fast. Infrastructure-wise India has done well, but has to progress much.’’ Professor Taylor’s wife Pamela, a scholar in Medieval English History is an archivist.
US-BASED ODISSI DANCER
Trained under three distinguished Odissi Gurus, Surendra Nath Jena, Kelucharan Mohapatra and Gangadhar Pradhan, Durga Bor, US-based Odissi dancer’s journey with the classical dance form started in 1975. “After seeing a performance of Odissi by Guru Surendra Nath Jena in US I came to Triveni Kala Kendra in New Delhi and learnt the dance steps from the Guru for five years. I also learnt from Guru Kelucharan and Gangadhar and was fortunate to showcase my talent in many stage shows,’’ she said.
Travelling several times to Odisha in search of Odissi and exploring the roots has made Durga an ardent follower of the local culture. “My Dutch husband Joep Bor is also in love with India and a Sarangi player. He stays in New Delhi and we travel between the two ends of the globe for our love for music, dance and culture,’’ Durga summerised.
STUDENTS’ DAY OUT
While 60 students of Piloo Mody College of Architecture explored the temple building style, their various forms under the Kalingan influence and the periodic effects from different eras and dynasties, the faculty members helped them to know the minute details as the students would not only use the experience for the present studies, but to take up conservation architecture as specialization as it has become a sought-after subject in many regions across the globe.
Monalisa Pani, a student of the college said “we need to have more such visits in future to learn details on the structure and design components of our temples.’’
Swati Pattnaik and Abhipsa Bal, two Ph.D. scholars from OUAT, who were happy with the walk’s outcome promised to request other friends to join the event in future.
Biswajit Tripathy, an IT professional from Patna said “many locals are not aware about the basic details of our monuments and their stories. Young people should join the heritage walk to explore these stories.’’