Bhubaneswar: It was a different experience for the visually challenged visitors. They went to the 10th Century Mukteswar Temple on a special heritage walk and could visualise the marvels of Kalingan architectural style by touching the artefacts on the walls of one of the most well-preserved monuments of the temple city.
The special heritage walk was organised by Sahapedia for students with special needs at Mukteswar Temple. Braille books containing tactile images, historical information, temple architecture, was provided to the students who came from different parts of Odisha to experience the state’s temple architecture.
India Heritage Walk Festival, a joint collaboration of Sahapedia and YES Arts and Culture has been awarded the prestigious PETA Gold Award 2018 for its major works on digital archive endeavours of making Indian heritage more popular and accessible.
In 2019, Sahapedia, in collaboration with NMDC will conduct over 80 walks in more than 35 different cities across the country as the India Heritage Walk Festival makes us rethink and rediscover the way we interact with and imagine our heritage.
Sareeta Behera (Consultant for Disability with SSEPD-UNICEF, Odisha) appreciated the special heritage walk. Nituranjan Dash (general secretary, Centre for Youth and Social Welfare) emphasised “Touch me once” instead of “Do not touch” tagline, which is quite common in every museum.
Through the ‘touch’, a visually challenged student can understand and experience the universe. This is one of the innovative ways to provide cultural information to visually challenged students. Well-known archaeologist, Jitu Mishra provided valuable insights during the walk and thanked Sahapedia and CYSW Odisha for conducting the special heritage walk.
Sharing his thoughts, a visually challenged student said, “I had read about the Mukteswar Temple when I was a student in higher secondary school but I had never imagined how it looks like. As part of this heritage walk I experienced the art, architecture and cultural history of Mukteswar Temple.’’