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.
Shri SiddhiVinayak , Kali Gali , Cuttack , Odisha sits on Shri Jajati Keshari II Singhasana ( Royal Throne) 1025 – 1040. A journey to discover this masterpiece , an ancient royal throne belonging King Jajati Keshari -II (1025-1040) in the heart of Cuttack City in Kali Gali – Shri Siddhi Vinayak Temple has been an extremely exciting and a fulfilling and enriching experience .
We came across a very detailed research paper written by Shri Deepak Bhattacharya on the Keshari Dynasty Contributions and in particular about this Royal Throne. We would like thank him for this extensive work , somehow this has not received the lime light it deserves
A Capital City for 1000 years and yes a Royal Throne very well preserved to complete the statement . And now it has an extremely well deserved occupant to keep it intact and its sanctity for years to come. This is equally an extremely proud moment for all us who are connected to the place and its history.
Shri Siddhi Vinayaka was established by Raghujee Bhonsle (1695 -1755) during Maratha rule in Orissa. Raghujee is said to have given land & financial grant . The Temple Complex has a ekaka sevayat (one family) system, having the title of Dixit of Kasyapa gotra. We met with Shri Priyajit Dixit , who is continues the family tradition.
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.
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.
Silver Splendour of Milienium City by Raja Parija is the only coffee table book on Silver Filigree of Cuttack. The unique art of silver filigree deserves much more than it has got so far. A promised hub for it remains exactly that: a promise. This book opens up the possibilities for more research and documentation of this intricate art. The book contains wonderful photographs triggering ‘ye dil mange more’ reaction.
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.
The ancient imperial citadel of Odisha, the fortress of Barabati, also a masterpiece that stands ruined and dilapidated today, is a testimony of what was once a shining example of Odia architecture and craftsmanship, apart from being a symbol of Odia military might. Today it almost lies submerged in deep flora, fauna, dense vegetation and wilderness. It was the seat of political power and civil-military administration through centuries. This ancient fortress has witnessed several rise and falls of kings and their empires, It withstood wars, betrayals, deceit, siege, and invasions and continues to remind the lost glory and pride of Odisha in the modern times.
The fort is located at Barabati, Cuttack, the ancient city, which is known for its world famous silver filigree art. The name Cuttack is an anglicized version of Kataka, meaning military cantonment in Sanskrit. The fort is strategically located near the confluence of the two rivers, such as the mighty Mahanadi and its tributary Kathjodi, not far from where they finally merge into the Bay of Bengal. It was a vibrant hub for trading and commercial activities as well, the history of which can be traced in the annual Bali Jatra , that marked the beginning of a traditional voyage by Odia sailors to south-east Asian countries. Flanked by these two rivers, Fort Barabati , thus stood tall amid the thick and thin of time.
Structural Marvel and Architectural Grandeur of the Fortress: An Archeological Heritage
The Khondalite stone fortress is surrounded by a moat (Gada Khai), which was constructed possibly for strategic defense purpose at a later stage during the reign of Gajapati, King Kapilinedra Deva (1434 – 1466 A.D). He used to be on long military campaigns in northern Odisha and subsequently ventured into southern India. During his military expeditions, many forts were built in the annexed territories like Medinapore , Nellore , Kondavidu to name a few. This expansionist and militaristic agenda of the King required a robust defense and military strategy that included the fortification of his fort at Barabati. As part of that grand strategy, a moat was constructed around the Barabati fort, which deterred the invaders for a long time.
Looking at the present condition of this moat, one finds it to be swampy and full of dense weeds and hyacinth vegetation growing over it. Algal bloom, which increases the BOD (Biological Oxygen Demand), COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) and growth of weeds which prevents sunlight to enter the moat. These factors are detrimental for aquatic and marine life by depleting oxygen levels in the water.
Colonized by various conquerors in the past and now covered by dense green weeds, ferns and moss, Barabati struggles to reclaim her rightful place in history and to attract the attention of the conservationists. Now what remain are the Moat (Gadakhayi), a grand stone structure, the Eastern Gateway and the plinth of the Palace, which makes one relive the memories of the glorious past.