Bhubaneswar: There was an eclectic mix of enthusiasts at the 70th Monks, Caves and Kings recently. In the group were a video blogger and intern with a leading IT company, students from TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute), Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT) University, a senior Reserve Bank of India (RBI) official, a dental surgeon and vocal artist Sashikant.
For the first time, the heritage trail at the Twin Hills saw a unique ‘jugalband’ of music as Sushant played the tabla and Sashikant came up with a fine rendition of ‘Vabani dayani..’ in Raag Bhairavi and Taal Jamtal. All the walkers at Monks, Caves and Kings enjoyed the music, history, archaeology and tales of the rulers of the great Kalingan Empire.
It was a perfect setting in the morning hours at the Twin Hills of Khandagiri. The atmosphere was cool, filled with divinity as the guide narrated a series of interesting stories to the first-time visitors. They also saw some rare evidences like the famous Hatigumpha inscription and the historic caves, probably created for the Jain monks at Udayagiri.
Guide Satyaswaroop Mishra described how the-then Collector of Cuttack, Andrew Sterling discovered the inscription and it was learnt that the British official was spending a major time from his administrative responsibilities in working on the rock edict. Later, others came forward to understand the inscription and it was deciphered completely. The complete text in English is also there in front of Hatigumpha placed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). It has details about Emperor Kharavela and how he conquered more than 40 per cent landmass of the Indian sub-continent.
Mohammad Anas Khan, who is currently doing his internship with IT major HP in Bengaluru, also collected videos for Maxplorer, his Vlogging channel on Youtube.
“I found the Jain trail under the Ekamra Walks very interesting. The event also takes the visitors to that unknown era as during Emperor Kharavela’s reign, the Kalingan empire was at its pinnacle of glory,” he said.
Two students from KIIT University, Shivam Shrey and Parijat Sinha also termed the Monks Caves and Kings as a “unique experience“ and urged the student community from all city-based institutions to explore it and be part of the rich cultural heritage of the ancient Kalingan kingdom.
Dipti, a student of TERI, New Delhi and currently an intern with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said, “The walk is very interesting and takes visitors to a different world. I will also try to be there at Ekamra Walks, Old Town Circuit and the Museum Walk at Kala Bhoomi in the near future.”
Senior official from RBI, Niladri Bihari Panda from Chennai, who came with his dental surgeon brother Nagendra Bihari Panda, said, “I have come to the Twin Hills on so many occasions but today’s experience was unique as I could get a fresh perspective of the historical background of my own forefathers and the rulers, who ruled a major part of the Asian region in the past.”