Sahana Beach and Devi Mouth – Odisha’s Best Kept Secret

From time immemorial living on sea coast has been a major attraction for humans across cultures. It is true that sea with its pristine beauty can often turn ugly (tsunami and cyclone) and take lives of both people and animals that have deep attachment to it in no time.  But when it is calm it…

Osakothi Rituals in Ganjam – An Anthropological Journey

A story goes – On the way to heaven, the five Pandava brothers had rested on the veranda of a Brahmin’s house, where no woman was ever blessed with the birth of a child. Arjuna came forward to intervene. He erected a kothi and a chammundia (a temporary shelter) with the help of arrows. Through…

Gifts of Mother Earth– The Story of a Kosali Potter

Clay, Māti or Mitti – while rolling on its rustic surface, when you widen your ears, what you hear are stories of your ancestors of generations that you can’t count. In fact clay has been the greatest gift of nature. It is mother earth. It gives you food, provide shelter and what not. Clay is…

Travel through Digapahandi – Ganjifa’s Last Bastion

In some corner of my heart, I have developed special weakness for Khemundi, an erstwhile historic territory in South Odisha’s Ganjam and Gajapati Districts with Paralakhemundi as the capital. Here I was born close to 5 decades before in Chitrakara (Artisan) Street. Though I did not live here for longer stretch of times, I used…

Splendours of Sonepur – In the land of Ramayana’s Lanka

Sirpur in Chhattisgarh (also known as Mahakosala) was the seat of power for Panduvamsa at a time when political turmoil was at its peak in East-Central India. During the reign of Mahasivagupta Balarjuna in the beginning of the 9th century CE, Mahakosala had been invaded by Rastrakutas from Deccan. With little hope for revival, a…

The Heritage of Mahula Drink in Ganjam – An Anthropological Journey

Imagine 8th Century Odisha and in particular Bhubaneswar! A major Peeth of Tantra Sadhana practiced by a group of esoteric Shaivites, called Kapalikas, who worshiped Bhairava/Shiva and his consort Chamunda!! The central ritual of their tantric communion was to get indulged in alcohol and sexual intercourse.  Kapalaikas were masters in converting both ascetics and lay…

Illustrating Ramayana Katha – Biranchi Narayan Temple at Buguda

Raja Srikar Bhanja of Ghumsar! History might have forgotten him, but his contribution to art and culture even today stuns visitors and art scholars alike. A distant relative of Kabi Samrat Upendra Bhanja, Srikar came to rule in 1790. However after ruling 9 years in 1799 he renounced to led the life of an ascetic…

Papier Mache – The Story of Odia Mukha and its Master Artisan

Imagine Odisha or in that matter rural India before economy was made open in 1990s and penetration of cheap Chinese goods in rural market. Imagine rural Odisha before the flooding of television channels’ cheap entertainment shows such as Sas Bahu and the spread of much hyped social media and free mobile phone entertainment. Festivals and…

Lanka Dahana Festival of Sonepur – A Photo Story

Sonepur also known as Subarnapur has been the cultural capital of West-Central Odisha. Located on the confluence of Tel and Mahanadi River archaeologists have speculated that it was Ramayana’s Lanka. Archaeological excavations at Manmunda near Sonepur have revealed cultural deposits that can be traced back to the time of Emperor Ashoka and even earlier. The…