THE HIDDEN TREASURE

Anwesh Padhi
4 min readMar 14, 2020

Hi! I am an undergrad student and i am 19 years old. Like many other people, I have spent a major part of my life in the same city since i was born-Bhubaneswar. It is the capital of Odisha , a state of India.But something strange has happened in the last 20 days in this city.Something unprecedented, something unanticipated.

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Bhubaneswar is commonly known as the TEMPLE CITY . Not only Bhubaneswar, but also many cities of Odisha take pride in their rich heritage and folklore , all having origins to different key temples associated to the city.The famous Puri Jagganath Temple, the Konark Sun Temple-a UNESCO World heritage site,the Lingaraj temple ,……and the list goes on and on and on.

Konark temple
KONARK TEMPLE

But all these temples were built by the kings of the past.Hence it is pretty obvious that the temple cities were built around these places of worship.Markets thrived around these temples and so did residential properties.

Although the modern city of Bhubaneswar was formally established in 1948, the history of the areas in and around the present-day city can be traced to the 3rd century BC and earlier. It is a confluence of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain heritage boasting of some of the finest Kalingan temples. With many 6th-13th century CE Hindu temples, which span the entire spectrum of Kalinga architecture, Bhubaneswar is often referred to as a “Temple City of India”. With PURI and KONARK it forms the Swarna Tribhuja (“Golden Triangle”), one of eastern India’s most visited destinations.

Bhubaneswar replaced Cuttack as the capital on 19 August 1949, 2 years after India gained its independence from Britain. The modern city was designed by the German architect Otto Königsberger in 1946. Along with Jamshedpur and Chandigarh, it was one of modern India’s first planned cities.

But over-migration from rural to urban areas, population explosion and settling of non-Odias(non-natives) had changed the city into a congested swamp.Old Town, having Lingaraj temple to its pride, was literally swarmed by people and cattle. Yes , cattle.Cows,dogs and bulls defecating on the roads, unauthorized residential construction, traffic jams caused due to narrowing of roads, ……….. and the list goes on and on and on.

CATTLE ON THE ROAD

But recently, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation has taken some bold steps to uncover and rediscover the hidden treasure of Old Town(a key area of Bhubaneswar). It all started with the recovery project declared by the state government in December 2019. First Puri, then Old Town(Bhubaneswar) have been targeted for the “cleanliness” projects.

RESULT-

The small lake was hiding behind different constructions, also the new pedestrian walk area

the old congested part of the city-the old Town is getting a new look, a new face, a new value.

  1. The lingaraj market complex , being totally demolished , has been shifted to the new all-purpose market complex with total number of markets tripling with respect to infrastructure.
THE NEWLY CONSTRUCTED MARKET COMPLEX
  1. The police station has been shifted to another location ,hence adding more space to the tourist destination.
  2. Floor have been laid with tiles of different colors and iron benches have been introduced for a little relaxing moment to grasp in the close proximity to the divine temple.

IT OFFERS SOLACE TO THE MIND AFTER A HARD DAY’S WORK.

Let me take a little walk in the new OLD town…..

You walk in the streets having small food stalls every few meters. Some sell vegetables, some sell deep fried snacks, others sweets and some flowers to offer the lord.

when you reach near the temple entrance you realize that no vehicles are allowed to the entrance of the temple. Only pedestrians can have the chance to see the pious phenomenon. you walk a little further and you can see the light and water show in Bindusagar Lake with songs being played in the name of lord Shiva.

BINDUSAGAR LAKE

it relaxes your mind. The yellow led street lamps with their Gothic lamp coverings makes you forget all your worries of the day. you sit near the lake and can often see foreigners sitting right beside you finding their own peace with you.

you walk up to a snack stall. grab something and eat while enjoying the water and light show. when you are calm and at peace with yourself , you finally decide to walk back to home and pass the temple entrance once again. You see all the new small temples visible now after the demolition project of the local municipal. You imagine the history, the daily rush in the temple city,the king, the ministers,the priests, the rituals and the beauty in the simplicity back in the days of …………………….OLD TOWN,BHUBANESWAR

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Anwesh Padhi

An ever-curious soul with a passion for everything untried and unpaved.