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.
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.
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.
On the occasion of Deepabali CHW promised to retrieve the light of our heritage and history from the darkness of ignorance and indifference. After covering the gems within the Barabati Fort we went to Christ Collegiate School, a dilapidated imperial structure of 1883 vintage. Our posts will tell you the pathetic story in instalments.
Binod Bihari (Balu Bazaar) Chandi Medha – In the narrow by lanes of Binod Bihari near Naya Sarak ,Katata (Cuttack) , It is said that in the year 1512 to 1517 AD Chaitanya Deva had come to Cuttack, the capital of Gajapati Empire of Odisha and the then emperor of Odisha Gajapati Pratap Rudra Dev received him at Gadagadia Ghata situated near the river bank of Mahanadi very close to the kings palace popularly known as Barabati fort. In that year Shree Chaitanya Deva started Durga Puja at Binod Bihari temple presently known as Balu Bazaar. Here Binod Bihari Devi’s sacred idol was installed in a small house. Thereafter the place became known as Binod Bihari which consisted of Balu Bazar, Bakharabad, Alamchand Bazar, Sahebazada Bazar and Nayasadak. Daily worship of the deity was performed in conformity with Vaishanav tradition. He stayed at Binod Bihari Temple. In the mean time autumn Durga Puja period arrived. He worshipped a brass Durga idol there. Thus it was the origin of Durga Puja in Cuttack. Later the Thakur family began worshipping of the clay idol. The tradition contiued till date. It would continue as long as the Odia civilisation lasts. Akshaya Kumar Banerjee’s ancestors were true Vaishnavites. They had also visited Puri. But while returning they settled along the Kathajodi river in the same place Binod Bihari. In 1517 AD the clay idol making evolved from the second day of the birth day of Lord Krishna emulating the Bengal Methodology. The whole responsibility lied on the Banerjee family from this day till immersion of the idols. The tradition remains in tact even now and generation after generation the Benarjee family rules the roost. Goddess Durga of Binod Bihari was thus addressed as the ‘Big Sister’. Later five Puja Pendals were erected, clay idols installed and worshipped. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose had introduced community Durga Puja in Odia Bazar. The Durga Puja has gone through many a transformation over the centuries and the zeal ramains undiminished, rather more visible.
– With References from Antiquity of Durga Puja by Shri Om Prakash , Worship of Goddess Durga in Cuttack – Shri Parikhit Mishra