Bhubaneswar: Ben Lenzner from New York City has come to Odisha for the first time, but he thinks that participating in the Ekamra Walks is the best thing to do in the Temple City, as a visitor.
Ben, a documentary filmmaker and storyteller feels participating in the Monks, Caves and Kings on early Saturday morning “guarantees satisfaction.’’ He joined the Jain heritage walk with his Pune-based photographer wife Shraddha Borawake.
Francisco Sanchez from Barcelona, France, who is in the city for an IT-based project for two weeks with Software Technology Parks of India also felt very happy and enthusiastic after participating in the 66th Monks, Caves and Kings heritage trail of Ekamra Walks and also plans to be there at the Old Town Walk tomorrow.
Apart from the foreigners Mumbai-based traveller, heritage and culture enthusiast Nandan Mangaokar also termed the experience with the Monks, Caves and Kings as “excellent” and also observed that looking at all the angles from its social media reach, web presence and a successful public-private partnership (PPP) model, Ekamra Walks would one of the best-curated heritage walks across the nation.
Odissi dancer, researchers, cinematographer and documentary filmmaker Yamini Makeshwar, who is currently doing research on community-based dance forms and the local cultures of Odisha and a regular at Ekamra Walks termed today’s experience as another learning experience.
Participating in the discussion on the depiction of an old dance scene inside Rani Gumpha (ground floor) on Udayagiri, Yamini said “ancient texts have the reference of “Oddra’’ dance which could be the precursor of modern Odissi.’’
She started learning Odissi from a tender age of 5 under the tutelage of Guru Mohan Bode in Maharashtra. Bode, a disciple of the two greats Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra and Sanjukta Panigrahi, influenced Yamini in her childhood days. Later she learnt Odissi from Guru Lingaraj Pradhan and Sanjukta Dutta. A graduate of Cinematography from FTII Pune, she is now into documentary film making and researching various aspects of cultural and socio-anthropological issues.
Ritika Acharya, a friend of Yamini and Odissi dancer is a TV show host and anchor with leading channels of India also joined the Monks, Caves and Kings today. She started learning Odissi late in 2015. In fact, she was a trained Bharatnatyam dancer and had started it when she was 10 years old.
“I learnt Odissi from London at Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan. Today’s heritage walk was a fantastic experience with a lot of learning on Odisha’s past and its rich cultural traditions,’’ Ritika said. Originally from Rajasthan, she is married and settled in Bengaluru now.
Three students from the College of Engineering and Technology (CET) also joined the 66th Monks, Caves and Kings. While Pratyush Rout was from Instrumentation and Electronics Engineering, Sumant Kumar Sahoo and Sweta Pradhan were from Fashion Technology.
“We have already joined Ekamra Walks three times in the past covering both the Twin Hills and Old Town and we always love to document the walks through photography,’’ said Sumant adding they would also tell their friends to join the walks and know our past better.
Amit Kumar Mallick and Alisha Mallick, both siblings studying in the BJB Autonomous College, Bhubaneswar joined today’s walk and enjoyed their time very much. “I have just finished B.Sc. Bioinformatics and my sister is doing her M.Sc. Bioinformatics. We really loved exploring the facts on the caves, monks and the royalty behind their creation,’’ said Amit.
Local youth Rashmiranjan came with his mother and sister to have a memorable experience at the Twin Hills and explored the caves, inscriptions and both the common and untold stories and was delighted. Most of the visitors expressed their willingness to join Sunday’s Ekamra Walks (Old Town Circuit).