With a history of over 3000 years of rich cultural heritage Bhubaneswar is aptly called The Temple City of India where over 2000 temples stand in clusters – big and small. Proclaimed as the Land of Shiva – there is no better place to get an insight into the story and heritage of Bhubaneswar than its Old Town city complex.
Detour Odisha, a 6 month old travel startup which provides authentic and curated theme tours across the State organized a Heritage Walk in Bhubaneswar last Sunday. The event had close to 27 participants who decided to get together and explore the lesser known side of the city!
The weather didn’t play spoil sport too and an enthusiastic group of photographers, bloggers and heritage lovers congregated on 19th June to ‘experience’ the walk. After a quick registration and intro session the participants with their local Guide, individual tags, heritage route maps and a bottle of water to keep them hydrated were all set to Walk!
a. Mukteshwar Temple
The 10th century Mukteswar Temple was our starting point. The term ‘Gem’ becomes hackneyed while talking about the temples of Bhubaneswar but Mukteswar is certainly one of them. The first thing that draws your attention is its elegant and superb arch gate. It appears as if it has been finished by jewellers and not sculptors.
b. The ‘Story’ behind the carvings!
The adjoining Siddheswar and Parsurameswar Temples were also greatly admired for their intricate carvings and legends.
The Local Guide – Satya Swarup Mishra narrated a fascinating story behind the Buddhist carvings on the Temple walls, the various amorous couples and the real reason for their depiction in Temples and many more.
c. Of Ghats and serenity
We made our way through the by lanes to uncover more temples situated amidst local dwellings such as Kotitirtheswar Temple, Swarnajaleswar, Subarneswar, Sampurnajaleswar. Gradually our walk opened straight into the beautiful and vast Bindusagar Lake.
The serene ghats beckoned photographers with its charming silence and aura.
d. The story behind the taste
Next on, we went to experience ‘food’ in its purest form at the Ananta Vasudeva Temple.
We made our way to the temple kitchen and we were nothing but awestruck at the chance to interact and document the kitchen activity inside with scores of rustic machinery, ancestral temple cooks cooking in hot furnaces, earthen pots filled with Odia delicacies, all set to be offered to God and his devotees.
e. The winding streets have stories to tell
Later we set off to the vantage point of the Lingaraj Temple, which is undoubtedly one of the most revered Temples of Odisha.The walk continued along the narrow streets and our participants interacted and engaged with the local street vendors, checking out the fresh produce which are also the offerings of the Gods.
We headed off further into a small street to visit the ruins of the Sari temple and Sanskrit Gurukulam and Matha.
While it was time to end our Heritage Walk, we made one last stop at the Ghats of Bindusagar, soaking in the past glory of the Old City and its Temples. Though we are rapidly taking steps towards urbanization, it was almost a ‘time travel’ like experience into an era gone by and soak in the nostalgia which ‘old’ Bhubaneswar has to offer.
[Story contributed by: Team Detour Odisha]. You can check out their website here: www.detourodisha.com