Filipino poets, Indian military officials explore Odisha’s heritage in 54th Ekamra Walks  

BDA plans eight heritage walks and cycle tours in Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar: Buoyed with the brisk success and encouraging response to the ongoing three heritage walks under Ekamra walks, the city authorities have now planned to conduct as many as eight heritage walks and cycle tours in different heritage circuits in and around Bhubaneswar.

Initiating the process, Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA), floated a Request for Proposal (RFP) for selection of an agency to conceptualize and implement the eight thematic heritage walks and cycle tours under the banner ‘Ekamra Walks’.

The walks and tours have been planned to increase awareness and maximize the tourism potential of the city.

BDA intends to implement the eight theme-based Heritage walks, along with different heritage circuits and nature trails elucidating the city’s rich architectural treasures, its culture, traditions, rituals, customs and natural resources.

Two of the heritage walks and tours will cover the Old Town area – Ekamra Kshetra, namely the Lingaraj Heritage Circuit and Rajarani Heritage Circuit.

The third walk will cover the Jain Heritage Circuit near Udayagiri-Khandagiri and the fourth will cover the Buddhist Heritage Circuit near Dhauli Peace Pagoda.

Two more walks and tours will focus on the natural heritage of Bhubaneswar and will include separate curated walks and tours through the Chandaka Nature trail and Botanical garden trail along with one Museum Walk at Kalabhoomi – Odisha Craft Museum and one more walk/tour which will be decided later.

The two proposed cycle tours include Buddhist Circuit near Dhauligiri and another connecting Raja Rani temple, 64 Yogini Temple and Sishupalgarh remnants.

This project of theme-based heritage walks and tours in Bhubaneswar are proposed to target the stories and anecdotes around heritage monuments, including lesser-known built heritage examples, natural heritage, markets and communities of the city, and intangible elements such as cuisines, crafts, local culture, dance, and other related elements.

All the eight theme-based heritage walks and cycle tours have been proposed to be managed by a single curating organisation and run as independent weekly activities operating in morning, afternoon or evening hours depending on the best suitable time as per the season, nature of the activity and the place etc.

Besides, special tours and events may be organised for city guests, community groups, school students etc. as advised by the authorities.

The main aim of the heritage walks and tours include creating awareness among citizens and visitors about key historic sites and the centuries-old rich culture and traditions of Bhubaneswar; providing a creatively curated thematic platform for the citizens and visitors to have a joyful experience while knowing about both tangible and intangible rich culture and heritage; help citizen and tourists to relate to the historic parts of the city in a more personal and intimate manner.

It also envisages drawing the tourists into areas of rich cultural and architectural heritage which are otherwise not part of must-visit places list of tourists. Engaging and educating local residents and visitors about the importance of rich natural resources, flora and fauna existing within the city is also part of the plan.

Another key component of the project will be the implementation of heritage resource programme envisages creating a pool of Heritage Resource Persons (HRP) who shall be a requisite skill set to conduct a similar type of walks on their own.

The selected Agency shall assist BDA or other city agencies in implementing the programme by assisting the City Agencies in selecting 20 Heritage Resource Persons (HRP) who shall be qualified enough to conduct similar type of walks on their own and build their capacity by training while hosting their details in one platform such as the dedicated website for the walks so that they can be contacted for the hiring of their services.

The selected agency after the completion of the tender process will also provide support and expertise in organising similar tourism-related activities, workshops, symposiums, tourism promotion camps, managed tours and tourism-related events, camps as required by OTDC or other Government agencies and Departments.