Monday 30 April 2018

Nandankanan Zoological Park #AToZChallenge

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Nandankanan is a beautiful Zoological Park that was established on 29 December, 1960, in Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha.
The name 'Nandankanan' literally means the 'Garden of Heaven'.
Nandankanan is a combination of Zoo, Sanctuary and Botanical Garden.

Source: Nandankanan Website
Nandankanan is located amidst the lush green Chandaka Forest along the banks of the Kanjia Lake. The beautiful natural settings and the flora and fauna make Nandankanan one of the best parks and sanctuaries of India. The Park covers an area of about 362.1 hectares and the Sanctuary covers 437 hectares.

Utkala, Kalinga, Orissa - Some Names of Odisha #AToZChallenge

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Odisha was constituted on April 1,1936, as Orissa.
The word 'Utkala' means 'Utkarsha Kala' or 'the land of exquisite art & craft'.

History refers to Odisha in many names - Kalinga, Utkala, Odra, Kosala, Tosali, Kangoda, Udavisau, Odyadesa, ...

Kalinga is a famous and popular name of Odisha thanks to the Kalinga War. In fact, some refer to Odisha as Kalinga even today!
(At the venue of the Peace Run at Lumbini, Nepal in 2017, they introduced me and Budhia Singh as belonging to Kalinga!)

In the 2018 annual lecture of Sambad and Aama Odisha held on 28th April i.e. on Swabhiman Dibasa, researcher Shri R.Balakrishnan shared: "The word 'Kalinga' means 'a piece of cloth or garment'. This proves how ancient the handlooms are. Odisha has always been known for its weavers and artisans. Kalinga finds mention in the ancient Tamil literature too."

Between the 11th and 16th centuries, in place of the name Kalinga, the old tribal name 'Odra Desha'/'Udra' began to be used. 
Gradually, the name was transformed into Odisha (or Udisha, or Udisa), which in English was named 'Orissa'.
The spelling -'Orissa' was widely used.
An acrobatic foot archer named Orissa Kelly has been named after Orissa.

Many Geography books, Atlas, Maps and Tourism Guides still have 'Orissa' as the spelling of Odisha.
Even some newspapers  and Central Government Offices still have "Orissa" in their names.
(After I contacted @CCidOrissaIndia, they simply changed the place name to Odisha, but the office name still has "Orissa")
Many are not aware that the spelling of 'Orissa' has been changed to 'Odisha' in 2011.
The Rajya Sabha passed the Orissa (the Alteration of Name) Bill and adopted the Constitution 113th Amendment Bill after a debate where members said the name-change was a "process of decolonisation as the Britishers had changed the Indian names of cities and states."
The language of Odisha that was previously known as 'Oriya' (before the name-change of the state) is now 'Odia'.

Since Kalinga is linked to Odisha's maritime glory, and Utkala refers to the rich artistic excellence, the two names are still widely used and well-known.
There are many companies and brands that have Kalinga and Utkala in their names including some recent startups like our company's brand- Utkalamrita.

Post for my second #atozchallenge. U for Utkala.
My Theme is- "Odisha- The Soul of Incredible India".
Odisha is a state in the eastern part of India. Have you visited Odisha and India? 
I am sharing some glimpses from Odisha. Do keep reading and discovering!

Bali Yatra And Boita Bandana #AToZChallenge

Odisha celebrates many festivals and several 'Yatra'.
In ancient times, enterprising sons of Odisha, traders referred to as Sadhaba & Sadhaba-pua used to sail from Odisha's ports in huge boats to foreign lands like Bali, Java, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Borneo etc.
At Bali Jatra venue, Cuttack
Boats are present in the handicrafts, handlooms and art of Odisha like in the framed Pattachitra (painting) below.
Pattachitra Art depicting the welcome for the Sadhaba-pua
The expeditions usually commenced on Kartik Purnima, the full moon day in November. Women prayed for their safe travel. When the Sadhaba-pua returned safely from their trip, they were received with much fanfare and celebration.
Bali Jatra and Boita Bandana reflect and commemorate the rich maritime trade and history of Odisha.

Sunday 29 April 2018

Extraordinary Palm-Leaf Crafts of Odisha #AToZChallenge

Odisha is known for its excellence of arts and crafts. A large variety of handicrafts have been a part of Odisha's cultural heritage.
When there was no paper, dried Palm-leaves (Talapatra) were used for writing manuscripts. Odia Mahabharata, Ramayana and many other books have been written on Palm-leaves.

Palm-leaf etching is a traditional and popular craft of Odisha that shows the skills of the artisans.
How many Ganesha can you sight here?

Saturday 28 April 2018

Kalinga War And Dhauli Light And Sound Show #AToZChallenge

Odisha was called Kalinga in ancient times. 

Kalinga had a thriving maritime trade with neighbouring countries. Kalinga had important ports and was an overseas power. Kalinga had established colonies in Burma, Philippines and other lands.
Kalinga witnessed wars, the most famous one being the Kalinga War.

Kalinga was not under the Mauryan empire.The war of Magadha (Mauryan Empire) with Kalinga was due to "political and ec
onomic reasons". Territorial expansion and political prestige triggered the interest of the Mauryan empire. 
The Kalinga War was fought by Mauryan Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC.

Kalinga was not under the Mauryan Empire before the Kalinga War; Source

Ashoka earned victory after a lot of bloodshed; one hundred thousand soldiers were killed in the battle.
The battlefield of the Kalinga War killed so many people that, it is said, the River Daya's water turned red (with blood of the slain soldiers). 
The word 'Daya' means kindness/compassion. 

How did Emperor Ashoka learn compassion? What brought about the transformation?
There is a story about the Kalinga War:
After the Kalinga War, when the jubilant Emperor was doing the rounds and found an old woman weeping, he asked her not to cry and proudly claimed that he would give her anything she wanted. 
The old woman asked him to bring her son and husband back to life.
Ashoka then realized the value of his win that couldn't fulfill wishes...

Thursday 26 April 2018

Tampara Lake Odisha #AToZChallenge

Odisha has many lakes. Tampara Lake is one of them.
Humuri Tampara Lake is situated in Ganjam district.
It is located just 0.5 kms from a point at NH16. We had crossed the sign-board scores of times, but had never travelled that distance of  0.5 kms...

Humuri Tampara Lake is located about 15 kms from Gopalpur-on-Sea beach. After a quick trip to Swosti Resort, Gopalpur, we were thrilled to see the sign-boards on our way back.
The approach to Tampara Lake is a narrow road with hedges on the side. And then we reached!

Wednesday 25 April 2018

The Theme Park

The view from the mountain-top was awesome.
It was the maiden visit of the heiress to the site of her new resort-cum-theme park.
PHOTO PROMPT © Jan Wayne Fields

The property was worth millions of dollars.
The plan had been approved and the construction was to commence.

"What will happen to all these exotic trees?" she asked admiring the lush vegetation.
"They all will be cleared for our project, Madam," her manager replied.

Sahi Jatra - Street Procession #AToZChallenge

The holy town of Puri in Odisha, where the Shree Jagannath Temple is located, is one of India's four holy pilgrimage-places (Char Dhaam) of the Hindus.
Sahi Jatra, also called Sahi Jata, is one of the oldest festivals that is believed to have started in 1230 AD in Puri. 

In Odia, ‘Sahi’ means a locality/street/particular area.
'Jatra' means procession/movement/journey.

Sahi Jatra is a colourful processional theatre. Sahi Jatra is a kind of folk drama or play. 
The grand procession is attractive.  
Heritage Walk on World Heritage Day at Bhubaneswar

Tuesday 24 April 2018

'Rasa', Rasakora, Rasabara And Rasagola in Odia #AToZChallenge

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The word ‘Rasa’ is related to Odisha's culture. 

'Rasa' in Odia
The Odia word 'Rasa' means 'juice', 'relish', 'flavour' or 'savour'. Rasarefers to the 'taste of something'. 
In Odisha, 'Rasa' is intrinsically linked and present in so many spheres- food, literature, geographical places, conversations...
Many Odia epics like Rasabinod, Rasakallolla and Rasakalpalata etc have 'Rasa' in their names.
In the tradition and food culture of Odisha, the names of many dishes and sweetmeats like Rasabara, Rasakora, Rasakhai, Rasabali, Rasaphena, Rasmalai, Rasakadamba, Rasaladu, Rasagola etc. start with the word ‘Rasa’. These have been traditionally prepared from Chhena (cottage-cheese) and other ingredients from centuries.


Pages 7007-7020 of the Volume VI of Purnachandra Odia Bhasakosha (Purnachandra Odia Dictionary) list words starting with ‘Rasa’. This dictionary, with 1,85,000 words and their meanings in four languages, is the result of three decades of dedicated work by Gopal Chandra Praharaj (1874-1945).

Monday 23 April 2018

Qila - Forts Of Odisha #AToZChallenge

Odisha has some impressive forts with great historical significance that reflect glory and architectural grandeur. In Odia language, the word 'Gada' means 'Fort'.

Barabati Fort

Barabati Fort is located in Cuttack on the banks of the Mahanadi River. In the past, Cuttack was the capital of Odisha. Built by the Ganga dynasty in the 14th Century, Barabati Fort is the most famous fort of Odisha.  King Narnupa Kesri built a stone-like structure around the river to save it from the flood. King Anangbhima Dev III developed the Barabati fort. Many rulers rebuilt the fort.
Visitors can see the ruins of the fort. War marks are visible on its walls. The fort provides a great view of Cuttack city.
Barabati Cricket Stadium is near the fort. Also, the temple dedicated to Goddess Cuttack Chandi is close by.
Silver City Cuttack's Railway Station is designed like the Barabati Fort.

Sunday 22 April 2018

Want To Study or Work Abroad? #DefinitelyPTE

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A foreign education or a well-paying job abroad is the wish of many. But, mere wishing just will not ensure wish fulfillment. Proper planning and implementation is needed to attain goals and to hit the bulls-eye.
Image result for a goal is just a wish without a plan
Studying or working abroad comes with its quota of challenges and hurdles and ifs and buts some of which are as follows:

Limited/Poor Knowledge & Experience

Most of us are not well-equipped with the requisite knowledge and experience regarding how to attain the goal i.e. to study or land up a job abroad. Which university to apply? Which English Test to take?...and so many questions arise. With our limited knowledge and experience, how can we ensure to attain our goal to move abroad to study or work?

Costly Trial And Error

Most of us go ahead thinking we will learn along the way by trial and error. Due to our low-awareness level, we face difficulties on our journey. This way may prove costly- precious time and effort is lost and we may have to learn serious and expensive lessons...

Reliable Support-System Required

A wealth of information and a robust support system needs to be in place with- passport validity, visa applications, country regulation details, university acceptances, accepted English tests and a lot more requirements.
Image result for the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

Thursday 19 April 2018

Palanquin Carried Special Cover for Rasagola #AToZChallenge

 A Palanquin Carried Special Cover, "Rasagola in SriJagannathji's cuisine", was released on March 1st, 2018 at Puri Head Post Office by the Department of Posts. The special cover was released on a special day- Dola Purnima, the day before Holi when traditionally Holi colours and sweets are offered to the Gods.
This Special Cover features the traditional offering of Rasagola as bhog/prasad to Goddess Laxmi on behalf of Lord Jagannath during Niladri Bije at Sri Jagannath Temple, Puri, Odisha. 
Rasagola has been a Mahaprasad of Lord Jagannath from centuries and Rasagola is one of the more than hundred dishes that are offered as bhog/prasad.

Wednesday 18 April 2018


Khushi was busy installing her latest creation in their lawn one evening.
"What has my scientist created?" Sita asked her daughter.

"This is a gadget that traps the impurity from the surrounding atmosphere. It converts the air-pollution to an environment-friendly mixture for soil!"
PHOTO PROMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy

Odissi Dance #AToZChallenge

Odissi Dance is one of the six acknowledged classical dance forms of India. Odissi is the most famous dance form of Odisha, India. Art, architecture and literature of Odisha reveals the importance of the art of dance.
India has a rich dance tradition. The earliest surviving text on dance and drama, the Natyashastra of Bharata Muni, belonging to the 2nd century BC, classifies India's arts into four regional types, namely Avanti, Dakshinatya, Panchali and Odra-Magadhi

Tuesday 17 April 2018

Nirmala Jhara, Odisha #AToZChallenge

Nirmal Jhar or Nirmaljhar or Nirmala Jhara is a scenic spot with a perennial spring and a temple-complex near Khallikote in Ganjam district of Odisha, India.

Monday 16 April 2018

Mukteswar Temple, Bhubaneswar #AToZChallenge

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Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha, is called the 'Temple City' as it has many temples.
Mukteswar Temple is called the 'gem' of Odishan architecture. 
Located in the 'Old Town' area of Bhubaneswar, Mukteswar temple was built in 950 AD. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of  'Mukteswar' that means- 'the Lord who gives freedom'.
The sculptures of ascetics are depicted in various meditation positions. 
Panchatantra tales are beautifully depicted on the walls. This photograph below shows the story of the monkey and the crocodile.

Lalitagiri, Ratnagiri And Udayagiri - Buddhist Heritage Odisha #AToZChallenge

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Buddhism in Odisha dates back to the time of Buddha. Many historical accounts, Buddhist sculptures and images are testimony to this.
Located about 100 kms from Bhubaneswar, Lalitagiri, Ratnagiri and Udayagiri are the ruins of Buddhist monastery complex.


One of the earliest Buddhist complexes dating back to 1st Century AD is at Lalitagiri. 
Remains of a huge brick monastery, Chaitya Hall, votive stupas, sculptures etc. throw light on Buddhist art and heritage. 

Sunday 15 April 2018

Kalijai Goddess, Temple And Island #AToZChallenge

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Odisha boasts of many Goddesses, temples and islands. Kalijai is one of them.
This island named Kalijai is located in Asia's largest lagoon, the Chilika Lake. There is a temple named Kalijai Temple that is dedicated to Goddess Kalijai. 
Chilika Lake has many islands out of which Kalijai is the most famous island as it has the legend of Kalijai associated with it. Kalijai was a newly-married girl who was on her way to her in-laws place when bad weather capsized the boat, she was travelling in, in Chilika Lake. Since then, she has been worshipped as Goddess Kalijai. It is believed that She protects the boats and the travellers.
Local residents worship Goddess Kalijai. Goddess Kalijai is the presiding deity of the lagoon.

Jagannath And Laxmi #AToZChallenge

Odisha is known as the 'Land of Jagannath'. Lord Jagannath is the presiding deity of Odisha. He is the family god in most Odia households. Lord Jagannath has a unique place in Odisha's history and Odia customs. But, He is not restricted to Odisha or India alone. He is everyone's God. The word 'Jagannath' means- 'Lord of the Universe'. 
Lord Jagannath is also called 'Jagabandhu' that means- 'Friend of the Universe.'
Lord Jagannath is the friend, philosopher and guide of the people of the entire Universe.

The culture of Odisha means Jagannath culture i.e. the culture of Jagannath - a unique embodiment of various faiths, religions, cultures and ideologies. The Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri, is mentioned in many ancient Sanskrit texts, such as the 'Padma Purana', 'Matsya Purana', 'Narada Purana' etc. In Odia, 'Purana' refers to 'holy book'.
The cult of Lord Jagannath advocates that people of all castes have the right to worship God and read scriptures. 
Image result for anitaexplorer jagannath
Lord Jagannath's wife, Goddess Laxmi, is very powerful. Maa Laxmi is the 'Goddess of Wealth'. She upholds justice and equality. She is against casteism and appreciates and rewards devotion. 
A story linked to Jagannath and Laxmi has been shared at the end of this post.

Lord Jagannath Temple at Puri is widely referred as- 'Shree Mandira' or 'Sri Mandira' i.e. the Temple of Mahalaxmi. 'Shree/Sri' means 'Laxmi' and 'Mandira' means Temple.
Book based on Laxmi Purana by Dash Benhur; Art by Tapan Moharana

Thursday 12 April 2018

International Sand Art Festival #AToZChallenge

The International Sand Art Festival is a cultural event held by Odisha Tourism from 1st-5th December every year in Konark, Odisha. The festival celebrates sand sculptures created by skillful artists from around the world.
  There are no entry-fees and the sand art festival is free for spectators.

 Venue of the International Sand Art Festival

The festival is held at Odisha's Chandrabhaga Beach, 3 kilometres from the UNESCO world-heritage site, Sun Temple at Konark. The soft golden sands of the enchanting Chandrabhaga beach are sculpted into spectacular art forms that etch a permanent impression in the visitors' minds. If one loves creating sand art or viewing awesome sand creations, one must head to the venue for this stupendous treat!

Tuesday 10 April 2018

Handlooms Of Odisha #AToZChallenge

Odisha has an illustrious heritage of handloom-weaving. From generations, lakhs of handloom-weavers in Odisha have been weaving and producing rich works of art, upholding the exquisite tradition of the state.

Unique patterns and a mind-boggling range of colours and designs provide fascinating choices in cotton, silk and other materials. Silk and cotton are mingled and such 'Bapta' sarees are popular. Intricate designs are skillfully woven. The variety is to be seen to be believed. Many Odia weavers have won national awards for their works.

Handloom clusters are found in many places of Odisha viz. Bargarh, Barpali, Boudh, Berhampur, Nuapatna, Sonepur etc. Tussar products are woven in Fakirpur (Kendujhar), Gopalpur (Jajpur), Makidia (Balasore) and Nuapatna (Cuttack).

Odisha handlooms are loved all over the world.
Some handlooms of Odisha have earned the Geographical Indications (GI) tag namely-

Monday 9 April 2018

Gopalpur-on-Sea #AToZChallenge

Gopalpur-on-Sea i.e. Gopalpur is a beautiful beach town located in Ganjam district of Odisha.
Gopalpur is 165 kms from Bhubaneswar and it takes about three hours by road (NH16) to reach there.
Odisha has many pristine beaches. Gopalpur is a better known beach of Odisha. It is not very crowded unlike the Puri beach.

Sunday 8 April 2018

The Great Orissa Famine 1866 - Na'Anka Durbhikhya #AToZChallenge

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The Great Orissa Famine occurred in 1866 when India was under the British rule.
In Odisha history, it is referred to as - "Na'Anka Durbhikhya".
In Odia, Na'Anka means- No Number/Figure & Durbhikhya means- Famine.
Many died in the famine and the exact number of those dead is not known.
One-third of the population of Orissa perished. It is said that more than ten lakhs died.
There was abject poverty. The first "all-India census" was conducted in 1872, six years after the famine.
The Great Orissa Famine 1866 was a dark chapter to be forgotten. As printing-press was not widespread, not many reports about it are available. London Planning Commission report and foreign newspapers have coverage about the famine.
As per the British Parliament, such a tragedy has never happened since the birth of Christ.

Shocking stories of mismanagement by the British Government have come to light. Many lives could have been saved if the population had timely access to food-grains...
Image result for john beames memoirs bengal civilian
In his book, 'Memoirs of a Bengal Civilian', John Beames, a civil servant in British India, mentions about the Orissa famine thus:

Saturday 7 April 2018

Enduri Pitha #Mahaprasad #AToZChallenge

The food offering (bhoga/prasad) to Lord Jagannath is called Mahaprasad. 
There are varieties of Mahaprasad in the Shree Jagannatha Temple, Puri, Odisha. 
Some of them are listed in this blog post- 115 varieties of Mahaprasad.

Shreekhetra Puri is the "bhoga khetra".
It is the Dhaam where Shree Jagannatha, the Head of the Universe, eats.
Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri, Odisha

In the culinary tradition of the Puri Temple, 'Chhapan Bhog' (56 Bhog) is a well-known name. 
However, the number of bhoga is much more than 56.
Enduri Pitha is a food item that is also listed. 
Three types of Enduri are mentioned namely- Enduri, Nakhyatra Enduri and Mua Enduri.
Six numbers of Enduri along with other bhog are offered every morning to the deities as the 'Sakala Dhupa'.
Yes! Each morning! 
Enduri Pitha is a part of the breakfast meal of the deities.
Enduri Pitha offered as Sakala Dhupa in Shree Jagannath Temple

Friday 6 April 2018

Dhauli #AToZChallenge

Dhauli hill (Dhauligiri) is located on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar. The hill has a famous monument- 'Peace Pagoda' or 'Shanti Stupa' atop it. As the name suggests, the 'Shanti Stupa' was built to commemorate the triumph of 'peace' and to explain the importance of non-violence.
Dhauligiri is located on the banks of the River Daya. The area was the battlefield of the Kalinga War in 261 BC. It is said that the Kalinga War caused such a lot of bloodshed that the colour of the water of River Daya turned red. The word 'Daya' means compassion. The Kalinga War reformed and transformed bloodthirsty Ashoka (Chandasok) to a peace-loving religious Ashoka (Dhammasok). 
The Shanti Stupa can be spotted from the road while travelling from Bhubaneswar to Puri or vice-versa. Dhauli was built in the 1970s by the Japan Buddha Sangha and the Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha.

Some rock edicts of Ashoka can be viewed on the way to the Dhauli hill summit. 
Dhauli has four great statues of Buddha in different positions. The blissful and serene ambiance delights visitors.

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