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 (bhog/prasad) to Lord Jagannath is called Mahaprasad. There are scores of varieties of Mahaprasad offered in Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri. Some of them- 115 varieties of Mahaprasad.
Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri, Odisha
In the culinary tradition of the Puri Temple, 'Chhapan Bhog' (56 Bhog) is a well-known name. 
Enduri Pitha is a food item that is listed in the Chhapan Bhog. 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'.
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.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Why I Say Yes to Travel #SayYesToTheWorld

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I Love To Travel & Say Yes To Explore!
Immerse, experience, observe, earn & learn more!
I love to be open; stretch my horizons & expand...
I'm an explorer on a quest to understand every land!
Enthusiastic & ever ready to connect & travel every corner,
I'm open to stories, surprise, novelty, fun & adventure!
Opera House, Sydney, Australia
Travel is my medicine; makes me feel refreshed!
Travel is my privilege; I feel welcome & blessed!
Travel is nourishment for my soul & is my smart key...
Travel opens doors as I feel a member of every family!
I say yes to travel as I love it for all reasons & in all seasons!
I dream to experience the sunrise & sunset in all the nations!
Dream to visit all the continents & countries!

Imaging Chilika #AToZChallenge

Chilika Lake in Odisha is the largest coastal lagoon in India and it is the largest brackish water lake. Covering an area of over 1100 square kilometres, Chilika Lake is a nature-lover's paradise.

Chilika has inspired many poets and writers.
"O Chilika! Your verdant waters are bedecked with swans,
You grant bliss to Kamala, the goddess of Utkala's wellness.
You adorn Utkala like a luminous jewel,
You are indeed the treasure-trove of enchanting beauty"
                                                                                          - Chilika by Radhanath Roy
A seminar and photography exhibition 'Imaging Chilika' was held at Regional Museum of Natural History, Bhubaneswar, Odisha. 
Chilika Lake related photographs were on display. The best ones had won prizes.
Technical sessions were conducted by esteemed guests and speakers.
Every year,  Chilika attracts thousands of of migratory birds.
What is unique about the Chilika Lake that birds keep flocking here? 
Chilika's size, Hydrology, Macrophyte density etc favors the large congregation of migratory birds.
Apart from the international avian tourists, national and international visitors visit Chilika and are awed by its features.
Chilika Lake should be on every travel-lover's list.

I'm participating in my second #atozchallenge. C for Chilika Lake.
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 will be sharing some glimpses from Odisha. Do keep reading and discovering!

Monday, 2 April 2018

4th Kalinga International Buddhist Conclave #AToZChallenge

Odisha was previously called Kalinga. 
Kalinga was the only kingdom that was not under the Mauryan empire. The Kalinga War was fought by Mauryan Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. After a lot of bloodshed, he won. However, the Kalinga War transformed Emperor Ashoka to a peace-lover, who embraced Buddhism. Odisha was the land that transformed the blood thirsty king to a benevolent human. Emperor Ashoka sent his children as peace ambassadors to different nations like Sri Lanka etc. to spread Buddhism.
Odisha played host to the 4th Kalinga International Buddhist Conclave held from April 10-12, 2017. 
The event was organized by Odisha Tourism, Govt. of Odisha. The Day-1 of the Conclave began at Udayagiri on April 10, 2017.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

1st April - Odisha Day #UtkalaDibasa #AToZChallenge

The date April 1st is very special for the state of Odisha, the 'Soul of Incredible India'.
April 1st is celebrated as Odisha Day, Odisha Dibasa, Utkala Dibasa or Utkal Divas.

'Utkala' was one of the earlier names of Odisha. 
'Utkala' finds a mention in 'Jana Gana Mana', the national anthem of India.
The word 'Utkala' means- 'Utkarsha Kala' i.e. 'The land of exquisite art and craft'.
The word 'Dibasa' means 'Day' in Odia language.
'Divas' or 'Diwas' means 'Day' in Hindi language.

Odisha state was formed as a separate province on 1st April, 1936. 
Odisha was the first state of India that was formed as a politically separate state under British rule on a linguistic basis
Thus, 1st April is celebrated as Odisha Day or Utkala Dibasa.
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