Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Just Keep Swimming

“Ready! Get, set, go!”
The moment Sita uttered these words, the little ones jumped into their respective tracks in the pool.
PHOTO PROMPT - Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
Having adopted these orphans, Sita provided them shelter and food.
They had to fulfil her long-cherished dream.
They had to earn medals for their country.
Sita put in a lot of effort to train them.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Unique Budhi Thakurani Jatra of Odisha

Budhi Thakurani Jatra (Old Goddess folk theater) marks a big celebration with the homecoming of the Goddess to her adopted father's place in the silk city, Berhampur (Brahmapur) of Ganjam District in southern Odisha.

Thakurani is the presiding deity of the Berhampur town. She is a form of Goddess Durga. 
Berhampur's Thakurani Mandir (Goddess Temple) is very auspicious. 
As the story goes, when Thakurani was a young girl, she was adopted by a local man named Deshibehera, belonging to the Dera community, a barber class. Once in two years, the presiding goddess, Thakurani visits her father's home.

Her father invites Her and an auspicious time of visit is decided. Thakurani's friends and neighbours are happy to see Her and visit Her. The kids are made to dress up in different attires- sort of fancy-dress viz. - Lord Krishna, Tiger, Hanuman, Radha, Monk etc. They do so to fulfill the maansika (wish) of their elders.
Devotees enthusiastically accompany Thakurani and take her around in a grand procession, moving around from house to house. There is a grand ceremonial procession. Many cultural activities are planned for kids.

Thakurani stays in Her father's home and makes everyone happy including herself. Then, She returns to Her temple.

Visitors throng from far and wide for Her darshan.
Anyone, irrespective of caste, creed, colour etc. can honour and worship Thakurani. 
Villages fix a wooden pillar/pole called the Shubha Khunti (auspicious pole) on an auspicious date.
After that, Thakurani comes to Her father's home on an auspicious time. After she stays for some days, it is time for her to leave till she comes again after two years.

I visited the Thakurani Jatra this year. Proud of our culture and unique celebration.

U for-Unique
I am blogging related to Odisha, India for the #AtoZChallenge this year.
Do check out my other #A2Z posts here. 

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Padma Shri Agricultural Scientist - Kamala Pujari

Kamala Pujari is a strong tribal woman from Koraput district. This activist and scientist has done a great service to society by preserving hundreds of local varieties of paddy and promoting organic farming. This year, she was awarded India's fourth highest civilian award "Padma Shri".

Rice And Odisha Connection

The name 'Orissa' is derived from 'Rice'.
Rice is a cereal grain that is the seed of the grass species Oryza sativa (Asian rice) or Oryza glaberrima (African rice). 
The previous name of Odisha was Orissa. It was named so owing to its rich rice varieties.
The term 'Orua' prevalent in Orissa since early times seems to be the same as the Greek 'Oruza' meaning rice, and the Oxford Dictionary states the 'Oroza' is a loan word in Greek from some oriental source. The 'Oretes' (Greek) or the 'Or'/'Odra' (Sanskrit) people may, therefore, mean either the Rice-eating; or the 'Rice growing' people.

Quiz - Odisha Geographical Indications #OdishaGI

Here are five quiz questions to test your knowledge about the Geographical Indications of Odisha.
How many answers do you know?

1. You can see colourful lampshades and bags in this image. Identify this applique work of Odisha.
Ans1- Click here for the Answer

2. The bark of which tree is used to prepare the natural dyes that are used for this handloom fabric?
Ans2- Click here for the Answer

Padma Shri Chaiwala - D Prakash Rao

Shri Devarapalli Prakash Rao has recently won the Padma Shri for Social Work. A social worker from Odisha, he has been working tirelessly in the field of affordable education and health.

D.Prakash Rao is a simple and humble man. He is a change agent of Odisha. I first met him at an award function and then at many events of an NGO named 'Yes We Can'. 

This tea-seller barely manages to make his ends meet.
He always says, "I am a poor chaiwala" (tea-seller).

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Wooden Sun Temple Of Odisha - Biranchi Narayan Temple, Buguda

The Sun Temple at Konark, Odisha, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Konark Sun Temple has been in the news for many reasons, including the recent #SaveKonark campaign to save this famous heritage site.

Though many know about this architectural wonder located in Konark in the Puri district of Odisha, many are not aware about the existence of the wooden Sun Temple of Odisha that is located in Buguda, a small town in the Ganjam district of Odisha. Sun God is worshipped in the form of Sri Biranchi Narayana.
Source: @Odisha_Tourism

Snow Queen

Sana could not believe her eyes seeing the snow.
PHOTO PROMPT - Roger Bultot
It hadn’t snowed in their town for the last five years...
Everyone knew it was the effect of climate change, but no one would do anything about it.

Akhaya Trutia and Chandan Jatra - Auspicious Festivals of Odisha

Akhaya Trutia is considered to be a very auspicious day in India.
Listening to Ved Vyas's dictation, Lord Ganesha started writing the Mahabharata on this day.

Akhaya Trutia is spelled in different ways- Akshay Trutiya, Akshaya Tritiya, Akhyaya Trutia etc.
In some Indian languages including Odia, the word "Akhyaya" means that which never gets diminished.

Akhaya Trutia day is chosen as an auspicious start for new beginnings like- house-construction, office/shop inauguration, performing marriages and thread-ceremonies etc.
Many people buy gold and jewellery on this auspicious day.

Adopt An Animal Of Nandankanan Zoo

If you visit Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha in India, you must visit the Nandankanan Zoological Park.
The name of this beautiful and rich zoological park is Nandankanan - meaning "The Garden of Heaven".

This zoo has amazing wildlife. I have many memories associated with this zoo, as I have visited it many times during my school vacations and on trips with my cousins.

Yogini Temples of Odisha

Odisha, a state located in eastern India, has many ancient temples. From the 7th and 8th centuries of the Christian era, tantricism had a strong presence and was practiced in different parts of India. 

The concept of Yogini cult was propounded by Matsyendranatha in Kamarupa in 8th century A.D.
The Kaula-Kapalika school and the Mattamayura school streams of religious thoughts contributed to the development of tantricism and the construction of shrines in the early medieval period in Odisha. Tantric arts and thoughts were very popular and well-developed in the ancient Odisha's regions- Kosala, Kalinga and Utkala. 

Odisha has two important shrines of the sixty-four Yoginis. One is located at Hirapur near the state capital, Bhubaneswar and the other is at Ranipur Jharial near Titlagarh in Bolangir district.
Goddess Parvati or Sati is called "Shakti". Shakti is divided into sixty-four parts; each part has a distinct identity/function and is termed 'Yogini'.
Sixty-four is called "Chausathi" in Odia language.
Thus, these temples are called Chausathi Yogini.
Both the Yogini temples are circular in shape and have no roof.

Hirapur village is located at a distance of about 15 kilometres to the east of Bhubaneswar. 

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm Fani

Odisha, a state in eastern India, gets cylonic storms as visitors regularly.
The Supercyclone of 1999 wrecked large scale devastation. Thereafter, the recent cyclones namely-Cyclone Phailin in 2013, Cyclone HudHud in 2014, Cyclone Titli in 2018 etc are still fresh in our memory.
Now the state is on high alert as an extremely severe cyclonic storm "Fani" is slated to hit the Odisha coast in Puri district on May 3rd.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Ministry of Earth Sciences, India, has issued warning about Cyclone Fani.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Pretty Sunrise Partners

The pretty writer was enjoying the sunrise.
The bright hues in the sky were painting a story in her mind.
She loved happy stories.
She was comfortably seated on the beach, when a man came right in front of her.
PHOTO PROMPT - Sandra Crook

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Vote For Bharat #VoteKar #Vote4Nation

Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers
Voting is our time & opportunity to choose!
Make use of the chance; why to lose?
11 April to 19 May - 7 Phases, 7 dates.
543 Constituencies; voters of 29 states.
Politicians, poll campaigns & multiple views,
Make the informed choice; not by fake news.

Misinformation, spoofs & parodies galore,
Offers- cash, drugs, gifts, biryani, petrol & liquor...
Don't be swayed by the lure of such gifts/notes.
Our country deserves our conscious votes.
Vote is not for sale; be responsible for right selection.
Let's commit & pledge ourselves for a fair election.

Friday, 19 April 2019

Out Of Sight And Out Of This World

"Where’s Suraj? Is he alright?” she was surprised to find herself wondering.

She had never met Suraj.
He was a blogger like her.
But, why was she thinking of Suraj of all the bloggers? 
Magic - Veronika Pinke

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Spellings Are- Odisha, Odia And Odissi


Odisha refers to a culturally and naturally-rich beautiful state located in eastern India. 
Odisha was the first state of India that was formed on linguistic basis. We celebrate 1 April every year as Utkala Dibasa.
Note- Odisha was previously called "Orissa." 
The spelling has been changed to "ODISHA" in 2011.
Courtesy: Odisha Tourism
Many are still not aware and continue to use the old spelling.
Others have to use the old name i.e. "Orissa" as their company/office's name is yet to be changed viz. "Orissa Minerals Development Company.".
Some others cannot change their name viz. the Geographical Indications (GI) of Odisha that had been filed when the state had its old name; thus - "Orissa Ikat" and "Orissa Pattachitra".
Odisha has been known by many names over the centuries- the most famous names being "Kalinga" and "Utkala". More information here.


Odia refers to Odia language.
Odia is the sixth classical language of India. This classical Indo-Aryan language is spoken in the Indian state of Odisha. It is the official language in Odisha
As per the Wikipedia, Odia is the 10th-most-spoken language in India by total speakers (36,609,122)
Odia refers to Odisha's literature, food, festivals, songs etc. - anything related to Odisha.

Odia also refers to the people of Odisha.

If someone asks you, "Are you an Odia?", they probably want to know if you are born in an Odia family i.e. born to Odia parents.
If you answer in the affirmative, they may start conversing with you in Odia language.
I have often done this on meeting 'Odias' outside the state, and then realized that not all Odias can speak Odia. Reasons:
1. Some Odias born to Odia father and non-Odia mother know their "mother-tongue" that's not Odia, but a different language.
2. Some Odias, born to Odia parents, but raised outside the state, know the local language better than Odia; they can barely read and write Odia, at best they can understand a few words and sentences...

Thinking on broader terms, an Odia is anyone related to Odisha in the past or present; also those who are or who were residing in Odisha. This can be stated by taking into consideration the profiles of members of many "Odia" groups in social media; such groups constitute of people with links with Odisha.

If someone asks you, "What are the people of Odisha called?", please give the correct answer - ODIA.
Note- Kindly DO NOT answer- Oriya/Odiya/Oriyan/Orissan/Odissi... as all these are past/incorrect spellings.


Odissi refers to the classical dance form of Odisha.
Odissi also refers to the classical music of Odisha, mostly used for the dances.
More info about Odissi is in the posts- Odissi Dance and Perfect Odissi Odyssey.
Humble Request- If you find anyone misspelling the name of our state, language or dance etc., please inform them and ask them to use the correct spellings.

Had you heard about Odisha, Odia and Odissi? What are your views? Do share in the comments below.

O for- Odisha, Odia, Odissi
I am blogging related to Odisha, India for the #AtoZChallenge this year.
Do check out my other #A2Z posts here.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Netherlands And Odisha - Shared Heritages

Odisha, a state in eastern India, has links with many nations. Kalinga's maritime trade is legendary and such memories are celebrated even today every year on Kartik Purnima as Boita Bandana and Bali JatraOdisha and Bali connection is also famous. However, Odisha's trade-links with Netherlands and other European nations is not that well known. 

Few people know about the history un de voc in the region of Bengal, which used to be Odisha (Odisha) and Myanmar (Burma). Dr. Carel Tenhaeff, a Dutch sociologist, undertook the journey from Netherlands to Odisha intending to share this unknown piece of history.

Maritime Trade of Kalinga Odisha

Odisha, previously called Kalinga, has a rich cultural link with many nations. Dr. Lalatendu Das Mohapatra, Assistant Director of Archives, National Archives, Bhubaneswar spoke on "Maritime Heritage of Odisha" in Bhubaneswar on 29th March, 2019. I attended his talk that was held at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

Having done extensive research on the maritime trade and heritage of Odisha, and also having published his PhD thesis as a book, Dr. Das Mohapatra is an authority on this subject. His presentation was very informative. He shared interesting info about Odisha's trade in her glorious past.

Apart from doing trade with foreign nations, the adventurous and enterprising Odia merchants ensured local trade too. 
I never knew that Odisha had such trade-links with Goa. There is cultural resemblance of goddesses, food etc in Goa and Odisha.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Why Do I Frequently Forget?

What makes me forget some wise words?
"Be the change you want to see".
"Keep your head when others are losing theirs"
I wonder why do I forget frequently?
WOW: Write About Something You Frequently Forget
"An eye for an eye & a tooth for a tooth-
Makes the whole world blind";
Still, why I get caught unaware at times?
Why do these words escape my mind?

Lingaraj Temple And Liminal View

The Lingaraj Temple is a spectacular temple located in the old town area of Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India.
View of Lingaraj Temple from the bank of Bindusagar Tank
The temple stands as a testimony to the amazing expertise, skill and experience of Odia architects and artisans. The Lingaraj Temple was built by three generations of Somavamsi kings. It is believed that the temple's construction was over by 1114 AD when Anantavarman Chodagangadeva was the ruler of Odisha. 

Khaja - Puri Mahaprasad And Popular Sweet Of Odisha

Khaja is a multi-layered and crispy sweet. It is a very popular sweet of Odisha. It is also one of the mahaprasad (bhoga i.e. offering) that is offered to Lord Jagannath.
Made of maida (flour) and dipped in sugar syrup, Khaja is a sweet treat.

Jaugada - Ashokan Major Rock Edict In Odisha

Jaugada is an ancient fort that served as a Mauryan fortified capital of the Kalinga province. Jaugada is located near the cities of Berhampur and Purushottampur in Ganjam district of Odisha, India.
Jaugada is an important archaeological and historical site. 
Did you know that Jaugada is the second place in Odisha where there is a major Ashokan rock edict, also known as Kalinga edict?
Though many of us are aware of Dhaulithe first place in Odisha where there is Kalinga edict, Jaugada is not as well-known. 

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Images of Lord Jagannath And Black Hole

The recent photo of the M87 black hole named Powehi reminds me of Lord Jagannath's eyes. 
(Note- So far only one black hole has been photographed. The above image is edited and I have placed a copy of the first black hole by its side. The Universe has millions of black holes.)

Lord Jagannath is the "Lord of the Universe".
Embedded image permalink
Suna Besha (Golden attire) of Lord Jagannath during Ratha Jatra (Chariot Festival) at Puri, Odisha, India
Embedded image permalink
Lord Jagannath on way to His Chariot during Ratha Jatra (Rath Yatra / Car Festival) at Puri, Odisha, India

Heritage Sites Around Bhubaneswar

There are many heritage sites in and around Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India. Bhubaneswar is called the 'temple city'. Out of the thousands of temples and heritage sites that were once existent, some exist. 
There are many lesser-known heritage sites around Bhubaneswar and its twin city, Cuttack.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Gandhiji, Swadeshi Spirit And Handloom

During a seminar in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, when I was addressing a room full of youth, I asked them, “How many of you have at least one handloom garment in your wardrobe?” I was shocked to see that just a few hands went up. I urged everyone to choose handloom garments the next time they go shopping.
What is stopping us from wearing garments manufactured in India and adopting the ‘swadeshi’ spirit like what our father of the nation, Gandhiji, advocated?

Nice And New

Mother and daughter were on their way.

The roads looked very familiar to the former.

As her heart started beating faster, her daughter said, "Now get ready for a nice surprise!"

They were soon in front of a palace.
PHOTO PROMPT - Roger Bultot

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Faith - First Step To Create Fabulous Structures

The temple city, Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha in India, has many heritage sites that stand as a testimony to faith.
Udayagiri Caves, Bhubaneswar
Whenever I see the various structures, I am filled with awe.
I often feel they stand here to tell their story and to teach us lessons.

Who were the skilled craftsmen who created such fabulous works of art?
How did they dream of shaping those rocks into fantastic sculptures, caves and monuments that have withstood the ravages of time?

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Earth Day In Bhubaneswar

Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 every year.
The whole idea is to become conscious and take care of our planet. Of course, we must do this every day and not simply dedicate one hour or one day as Earth Hour or Earth Day... Nevertheless, such initiatives are important to create the necessary awareness and action.

Last year, on April 22 2018, we had a great Earth Day celebration in my locality in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India.
The venue was- 'Amrut Vatika', a garden near IMFA Park, in Sahid-Nagar, Bhubaneswar. This was in collaboration with an NGO named 'Jeevan Rekha Parishad' and 'Kitchen Gardeners Association'.

There were posters with 'Go Green' and 'Save Trees' etc. messages that the school students displayed.

Book Reading With William Dalrymple At Bhubaneswar

We were excited to learn about author and historian William Dalrymple's book reading event at Bhubaneswar on 5th April 2019.
Odisha Tourism has invited William Dalrymple as a guest from April 5-8, 2019.
Last year, in January 2018, he was in Bhubaneswar for the Tata Steel Literary Festival. I had a chance to attend it and to speak to him.
The venue decided for this year's book reading was heritage site Mukteswar Temple, built in 950 AD, famous as the 'gem of Odisha architecture'.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Toshali Crafts Mela

Odisha, a state in eastern India, has amazing art, crafts and handlooms. All are very bright, colorful and beautiful.

There are many handicrafts and handlooms fairs and exhibitions that are held like the popular and famous Toshali Crafts Mela. It is held annually in December each year in the Janata Maidan ground in Bhubaneswar.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

The New Bride

When the new bride entered their home after marriage, she was in for scrutiny.
The once lush green trees shed all their leaves overnight.
PHOTO PROMPT © Ronda Del Boccio

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Odisha And Bali Connection

Odisha, erstwhile Kalinga, has a rich and ancient cultural and civilizational link with Bali, Indonesia, and other South East Asian nations like Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia etc.
Odisha Handloom - "Orissa Ikat" Saree with boat
Every year on Kartik Purnima in November, the Odias i.e. the people of Odisha, observe a traditional festival. As per the age-old custom, they float small paper-boats or boats made of other materials with earthen lamps and flowers. The water-bodies of Odisha- rivers, lakes and ponds are filled with hundreds of boats commemorating Odisha’s glorious maritime trade. This is called “Boita Bandana”.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Kandhamal Haladi Gets GI Tag #OdishaGI #UtkalaDibasa

April 1st is celebrated as Utkala Dibasa i.e. Odisha Day.
Odisha is a state in the eastern part of India that was formed on April 1, 1936.

Odisha is blessed with rich natural resources and beauty.
Odisha boasts of many unique products like the Kandhamal Haladi i.e. Kandhamal Turmeric.

It is a matter of great pride and joy that on the auspicious occasion of Utkala Dibasa, Kandhamal Haladi has earned India's latest Geographical Indication (GI) tag today.

The GI Application for "Kandhamal Haladi" was made by Kandhamal Apex Spices Association for Marketing (KASAM), an association of turmeric farmers of Kandhamal district of Odisha, India. 
The application was filed on 11th January 2018 by KASAM with the support of the Intellectual Property Rights cell of Central Tool Room & Training Centre (CTTC), Bhubaneswar. Dr. Karthigeyan from CTTC, Ministry of MSME has facilitated GI Application No. 610 in respect of Haladi (Turmeric) falling in Class –30. 
Kandhamal Haladi is now the latest entrant in the list of the GIs of India under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

The Mariana Trench

I lost my heart the moment I saw her.

“Could you please tell me her name?” I asked the lady accompanying her.

"Mariana", she replied with a wink.

My brother, who knows my weakness, remarked, "Not again! Her name sounds like the 'Mariana Trench'! Think of Rekha!"

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Wheel Of Time

Father and his six-year old daughter had gone for a walk when they spotted the Giant Wheel.

"Please take me for a ride on that!", she begged her father.
PHOTO PROMPT - Dale Rogerson
"That's costly. You need to work hard and earn a ride," he answered.

She took his words to heart...

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Kind Karma

Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

I'll never do running errands voluntarily for others again,
Because no one appreciates or recognizes my work/pain.
Rather, they feel I'm volunteering as I'll be the one to gain!
I must have ulterior motives to waste my time again & again!

Just because I have helped and supported one person,
Other people- X, Y, Z also demand my time & attention!
My kindness and good-nature goes through examination.
I find myself in an unenviable situation with no solution!
WOW: I'll never do ... again, because...
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