11 Jun 2015

Serene Bhubhaneshwar

Bhubhaneshwar is a great weekend getaway

It all started with my internship in the NGO. Sullen at having to go to Bhubaneshwar instead of Kolkata where my group was going to, it was a reluctant affair and I have to say I felt miserable going to the capital of Odisha. With no friends to share the room, talk to during the assignments; it felt as though I was being banished to netherworld. I slept during the most part of the train journey, fighting with whom, I myself am not sure of, as to why was I was being sent to an unknown place. Why me, the most gregarious of the group had to go alone? What on earth could justify this venture?

It is true that the project started smoothly and life was pretty comfortable in the homestay where I was put up. My hosts at the homestay took care of my needs and my mentor, Sudeep sir ensured that I got good work. But the questions that were playing in my mind, while I was still in the train awaiting to reach netherworld, got answered towards the end of the month-long project, when my mentor asked me to accompany his family to a trip around the city. The trip was divided into two days.

It began with Nandankanan Zoological Park, courtesy the entreaties of sir’s 5-year old daughter, who loves going there and always insists on the zoo trip when any guest comes to her home. So, we were at the park after the homely breakfast. The zoo houses a wide variety of wildlife like the Royal Bengal Tiger, Asiatic lion, python, crocodile, fishes, etc. It is really lovely as you are instantly transported to your childhood and with a cherub around you, fun and frolic comes along naturally. We clicked hundreds of photos and also shared the best ice cream on the banks of Kanjia Lake, located in the zoo campus itself.

Now it was the turn of Dhauli Hills, the site of Shanti Stupa. The hill is lined up with rock edicts bearing Buddhist relics and penance of the great Mughal Emperor Ashoka. The imposing lion looking over the Daya River plains had me hooked. It was so awe-inspiring that I stood frozen for minutes, only to be shaken by my sweet little companion, who cannot sit quiet for more than a minute. We also paid obeisance at the ancient Shiva Temple, situated on the hills.

The next day was reserved for Udayagiri & Khandagiri Caves, finely carved out of stone and offering a treasure trove for history and art lovers. When I was taken to the Khandagiri summit by sir to take in the breathtaking view of the city, I realized what gem I had been living in till date. I felt thankful for thanked God from the bottom of my heart for his wonderful plan and what could have been a better way to express my gratitude than to go to the ancient Lingaraj Temple.

When it was time for parting, my dear mentor gifted me a bag full of the sweet Chhena Gaja, a famous sweet of the state whose taste still lingers in my mouth just like the sweet memories of the trip. It was relish by my folks at home too.



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