Ekamra Heritage Walks of Bhubaneswar is a rediscovery and celebration of the city’s rich architectural treasures, its traditions, rituals and customs. The area we now call Old Town, was in ancient times known as the Ekamra Kshetra, referring to an area adorned with mango trees. Guided walk through, its landscapes, streets and temples will reconnect visitors with the city’s glorious past.
This free walk by the Bhubaneswar Development Authority in association with BMC and Odisha Tourism, covers Mukteswar, Lingaraj, Parasurameswar, Ananta Vasudev, Kotitirtheswar, Gouri Shankar, Sari Deula, Chitrakarini, Vaitala Deula and other temples in the vicinity. Along the walk, one experiences not only the largest clusters of magnificent temples, constituting virtually a complete record of Kalingan architecture, but also witness the living traditions of existing settlements around the temple, its rituals, festivals and other observances believed to be centuries old. Old traditional structures like the Doodhwala Dharamshala on the bank of holy Bindusagar Lake, which is there for nearly a Century and mostly used by the budget religious travellers from across the country, is also part of the heritage tour.
The walk starts at 6.30 am on every Sunday morning from the premises of Mukteswar temple and ends at Ekamra Van, the medicinal plant garden on the Western bank of Bindusagar, covering nearly 2 km. The weekend heritage tour has become a hit with many domestic and foreign visitors arriving in the city for the first time to explore the city and its monumental past.
Monks, Caves and Kings, the heritage tour in the Twin Hills of Udayagiri and Khandagiri has been a new addition under the umbrella of Ekamra Walks as the new venture explores the stories behind the caves, carvings, stories of the famous Jain monument, which had also received royal patronage in the past.
Rani Gumpha, Ganesh Gumpha, Udayagiri Hilltop, Bagha Gumpha, Hati Gumpha, Patalapuri, Manchapuri and Swargapuri Gumphas in Udayagiri and the relief images of Jain Tirthankars of Khandagiri are major attractions. From the many inscriptions, the Hati Gumpha Inscription needs a special mention by the guides narrating the stories to the visitors.
The Monks, Caves and Kings heritage walk starts at 6.30 am every Saturday from the foothills of Udayagiri. However, entry fee of Rs 15 for Indian visitor and Rs 200 for foreign visitor is applicable here as the hill is a ticketed monument of the Archaeological Survey of India.
(For more details, please log on to www.ekamrawalks.com and www.facebook.com/ekamrawalk)