A Citizens' Initiative To Create Love For Heritage & Culture. The Millenium City is a rich tapestry of art,handloom,handicrafts and performing arts. The Silver City has been at the centre of human civilsation for centuries and has been the hub of trade , commerce and maritime activities.
The 2nd day tour began with five members – Ashish , Myself , Dilip Bhai , Dipak Bhai and Shibaji Babu . Nishi and his Son had some commitments and Hitesh couldn’t continue due some important work his end . Sun was already up and hitting us hard at 7:30 am in the morning , yet the spirit in each of us was to complete the day as much as we can . A place ensconced in a tiny village near Ansupa lake was our next attraction .
A surprise awaiting us was Sri Trutiyadeva Temple , 14th Century built by the Gangas , dedicated to Lord Jagannath , his brother Baldev and Sister Subhadra . A monument so far which has remained intact , despite being next to the river Mahanadi at Subarnapur Village , near Ansupa Lake . A stunning piece of Kalingan Architecture , Probably one of most closest replica of Jagannath temple in Puri – and very well preserved . This was perhaps the 5th temple built by Ganga Kings on the Kataka side . A Rekha vimana and pidha jagamohana of Kalingan order and very complete. Gorgeously decorated with architectural motifs such askhakharamundis in talajangha, pidhamundis in the uparajangha, and rekhamundi designs in talagarbhika. The maithuna images mostly rajapana scenes are profusely carved in the jagamohana. Animals procession, with musicians also found on the jagamohana entrance. Seeing the Triad inside the sanctum was bliss.
Tour of Salepur & Choudwar – It was a morning of excitement and lots of anticipation, when collectively 8 Heritage Enthusiastic individuals’ took and endeavour to see some of the ancient treasures of Undivided Cuttack . The ever consuming Summer heat and yet the brave enthusiasts were simple unstoppable .
This day will go down the memory lane as discovering rich antiquities and artefacts and building the initiative and foundation for Cuttack Heritage Walks . Shri Dipak Samantarai , Shri Dilip Das, Shri Shibaji Nayak, Shri Hitesh Seth, Shri Nishikant Mohanty , Master Abhigyan Mohanty , Shri Ashish Sarangi and Myself. An age group spread from 14 years to 72 years and what a group it was indeed.
Our first stop – was Sri Chateswara Temple , A 13th Century built by the Gangas in Kishnapur Village near Salepur. The Stone Inscription by Shri Ananga Bhima Deva – III well kept , chronicled with the achievements and victories he made as the Ruler of Kalinga from 1211 A.D. While he thwarted the enemies in Bengal and drove them away, he had swiftly conquered the Kalachuris in the West and built a strong alliance , expanded his Kingdom until Rajamundry in the South .
On the basis of a number of detached sculptures of different faiths like Saivite and Sakta, the original temple can be assigned to the Eastern Ganga dynasty rule during 12th Century AD. A miniature four- armed Vishnu, broken images of Chamunda, Surya and Buddha, Udyotasimha, Nandi, miniature temple and other architectural members.The temple is pancharatha on plan and the bada has multi-segmented horizontal mouldings in elevation.
G Arnold Toynbee has recorded his impression regarding Barabati Qila “The great arched gateway of the eastern as Stirling calls it, and a fine old mosque called Fateh Khan Rahman, are almost the only objects of antiquarian interest which remains intact.” Controversy surrounds the identity of the real builder of this beautiful mosque. Historians Dr K C Panigrahi and Dr Jagannath Pattnaik state that this was built by the Nawab of Bengal, Alwardi Khan in 1707 AD. Prof P K Mukherjee and Dr R P Mohapatra opine that this was built by Fateh Khan Rehman. Dr B C Roy thought that some Muslim governors of Barabati Fort might have built it.
According to Sri Kedarnath Mohapatra “the mosque within the Barabati Fort was constructed by a Faujdar, Fateh Khan Rahman”. The epitaph of the tomb of Fateh Khan inside Qudam-e-Rasool reveals that he died in Hijri year 1128 (1768-69 AD).
In 1766 AD, Lord Robert Clive, sent an English officer named Thomas Mottee to the Maratha Subedar of Sambalpur, Raja Bhawani Pandit. While navigating in river Mahanadi, he saw the impressive sight of Shahi Mosque from the other side of the river. Most probably, the Mosque was constructed by Fateh Khan before 1767 AD. Shahi Qila Masjid resembles Jama Masjid (Balu Bazar) and Tatar Khan Masjid(Dewan Bazar) in structural design. The dates of their construction indicate these mosques were built during the reign of Nawab Shuhauddin Khan, the Nizam of Odisha. He was as per the records a pious and benevolent soul apart from being a royal dignitary.
Shahi Qila Masjid was obviously built to facilitate prayers by the members of the armed forces stationed there. Time had taken a heavy toll on the mosque as well. Professor Altaf Hussain has said that the mosque remained in disuse for sometime and was used as a magazine during the British rule of Odisha as it is apparent from the two Mihrabs on the flanks which are bricked up. The State Archeological Department renovated the mosque after it was declared as a heritage monument. A Managing Committee is in charge of the upkeep of the mosque now.
Shahi Qila Masjid did have a few inscriptions which are missing now. There is only one inscription written in Arabic containing Surah Yaseen from the Holy Quran on the wall of the place demarcated for the Imam at the centre of the prayer hall. A beautiful landmark of the Millennium City
This Sunday (28th February ) saw an increase in the number of heritage lovers near the Barabati fort. There was intimation with many new faces who brought with them their own share of knowledge and love for Cuttack and its heritage. After a brief intro we departed for the Gora Kabar, Tulsipur , Cuttack or White Man’s Cemetery as it is famously called. We were graciously welcomed by the President and Secretary in charge of the Cuttack Odia Baptist Church that oversee the management of Gora Kabar too. After a word of blessing by the Pastor, the President made us aware of the cemetery’s rich history.
The Gora Kabar, one of the biggest and oldest cemeteries in Odisha was set up in a 5 acres land by the banks of River Mahanadi on the outskirts of city then by the East India Company (EIC) in 1822. It is mainstream knowledge that by the end of 1803, the EIC had defeated the Marathas and captured Barabati. The presence of English officials and their families became significant after this occupation. Rev. William Bampton and Rev. James Peggs were the first English General Baptists Missionaries to arrive in Cuttack in 1822. They interacted with Sundernath Baba and his disciples in his ashram at Choudwar and found that they share a common goal. Infact, Gangadhar Sarangi, a Brahmin follower of Baba was the first to accept Christianity and his baptism took place in the Mahanadi River. Slowly, the followers rose from 7 in 1822 to over 209 by 1840s and by 1890s, the Cuttack Odia Baptist Church had already become an autonomous church body.
On a Sunday morning of 13th December , 27 Heritage Enthusiasts met at the Odisha State Maritime Museum , Jobra. With a very interesting itinerary spread from visiting the famous Bikalananda Kar’s Rasagola factory in Salepur followed by visit to some of the ancient heritage sites and Utkala Gauraba Sri Madhusudan Das’s Birthplace.
The first stop at the quintessential Bikalananda Kar’s Shop at Salepur , and meeting the newest 3rd generation entrepreneurs . CHW members met with Two Young and Bright Odia Entrepreneurs Miss Sibani Kar and Miss Sai Priya Kar, initially before starting the Heritage Trail . They are now managing the the “Bikalananda Kar’s Rasagola ” Business . Both of them conducted the factory tours and were explained in details of the current processing set up.
All the members hosted by Two Sisters for a sumptuous breakfast and treat of Rasagolas . “Salepur Rasagola” Officially became the part of our food heritage trail.
Cuttack Heritage Walks November edition started off with large gathering of History and Heritage enthusiasts . The history and glory of Barabati fort was shared by Shri Dipak Samantarai and Shri Anil Dhir , the members proceeded to Madhusmriti . Shri Samantarai passionately shared the some of the rare moments and sacrifices of Utkala Gauraba Shri Madhusudan Das , who played the most pivotal role in formation of Odisha. Very interactive sessions the members and speakers , the spirited young generations taking more interest in our rich heritage is a silver lining and a prudent hope.
Proving our apprehensions wrong, about thirty participants gathered for restarting the suspended Walk after a forced hiatus of six months. A clean warm Autumn sky welcomed them all. The enthusiasm was truly infectious.
It happened to be the World Tourism Day (27th September 2020). Sri Subash Singh, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, launched the much awaited website of Cuttack Heritage Walks. http://www.cuttackheritage.com Inaugurating the website, Sri Singh said that the cause of heritage and history of the Millennium City is going to get a boost through this site. He observed that Cuttack Heritage Walks is playing a very important role in creating awareness amongst the youngsters towards heritage and should function as a pressure group.
Thanking him for gracing the occasion and doing the honours, Dr Dipak Samantarai presented Sri Singh a beautiful photograph of the iconic gate of Barabati Fort. The photograph has been clicked by a member of Cuttack Heritage Walks, Sri Bikash C Das.