Bhubaneswar, the capital of modern Orissa, is a happy combination of old world charms and new world comforts. The scriptures refer to the ancient Bhubaneswar as the Ekamra Kshetra, literally meaning ‘mango orchards’ which remind us the union of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati. The blending of modernity with tradition here is impeccable. While the ancient city is 2600 years old, the modern city came into existence in 1948 as the new capital of Orissa, designed by the German Architect O.H. Koeingsberges. It is said that there were about seven thousand temples here, which earned it the coveted title of the ‘Temple City of India’. Even today from the hundreds of temples that still stand majestically as mute witness of a glorious past, one can study the chronological development of temple architecture from the beginning in the 7th Century AD to its culmination in the 13th Century AD. It is a centre of art and craft, manifest in the dazzling array of products like stone sculptures, patapaintings, palm-leaf etching, silver filigree, papier mache, etc. which is a shoppers’ delight. The classical Odissi Dance and Music have a solid foundation here fondly nourished by illustrious Gurus. The city has also distinguished itself as an important IT Centre and Software Technology Park as well as an ideal Venue for Conference and Conventions to do business with pleasure.
Around Bhubaneswar lies Dhauli in the South which witnessed the great battle of Kalinga in 261 BC after which Emperor Ashok embraced Buddhism and spread the message of peace to the world. Closeby are the remains of Sisupalgarh believed to be the earlier capital of Kalinga. On the west are the twin hills of Khandagiri-Udayagiri honeycombed with rock-cut caves built for the Jain ascetics during the illustrious emperor Kharavela in the 2nd century BC.
Bhubaneswar has, however, been mostly popular as the city of temples among the tourists. But the cultural efflorescence of the city goes beyond the temples. To familiarize the tourists with the larger canvas of the place covering Art & Crafts, Dance & Music, Handicrafts & Handlooms, etc., a Mega Festival titled Ekamra Utsav has been conceived. This 15-day event will also feature an International Food Festival and a virtual walk through the Heritage Corridors. A Half Marathon will add spice to this year’s Utsav. The festival of promises to be an experience of a life time.