Water, Paddy, Mandirs and more and more of it! Orissa is truly enchanting!
Beripada village, near Soro
Went to my friend's cute little village in Balasore District. More on 'The Herbivore's Dilemma', shortly.
Dhauli, near Bhubaneshwar
The Kalinga war was fought somewhere in the vicinity of Dhauli. One of Asoka's rock edicts is here. The curious sculpture of the 'Elephant emerging from the rock' indicates the significance of this place. As mentioned by bloggers, the stupid crowds skip the 2250 years old rock edicts and just visit the Shanthi stupa recently built by the Japanese!
As always happens in such places, hype ruins the experience. But I wud any day celebrate a society that worships the Sun. Learnt a cool name, Nairuti from the Konark Museum.
Besides the Jagannath Mandir, checked out the beach and the Govardhana mutt established by Adi Shankara.
Udayagiri and Khandagiri
Within years after Asoka, Kalinga was recovered by the great Jain king Kharavela. He supported these Jain monasteries.
'Sri Ratnagiri Mahavihariya - Aryabikshu - Sanghasya' aka Ratnagiri Monastery is the kind of place that sends shivers down your spine. Its a 5th-13th century monastery associated with Tathagatta and refered to by Hiuen T'sang as Pushapagiri. This ancient university made immence contributions to Tantric (Vajrayana) Buddhism. Avalokiteśvara celebrated here is the Buddha later adopted and claimed to be 'incarnating' as the Dalai Lamas.
'Rajarani' Mandir, Bhubaneshwar
This temple made of Rajarania rock is elegant. Lingaraj Mandir is very impressive.
Notes on Orissa:
1. The state surprisingly has very good infrastructure. Or atleast, the central government funds are being well utilized. No wonder Naveen Patnaik is back for his third term.
2. Public Transport is non-existent. No kidding. There aren't any government run buses!
3. They are cultivating Paddy in every inch of Orissa! A Tamil farmer will scarcely believe the amount of water available here. Mahanadi made me dizzy.
4. That Oriya society is uneducated is palpable. People spit (betel, tobacco?) and urinate wherever they like. I guess more hands needed to till the land keeps people away from college.
5. Non-brahmins or specifically Nayaks also wear and flaunt the 'thread'. While this infatuation is amusing, tribal gods like Jagannath, Subhadra and Balabhadra being taken over by Brahmins angers me. Puri joins the list of places like Sabarimala which I have vowed never to visit again.
6. There is an acute shortage of 'change' in Orissa. Its a nightmare. RBI obviously is not supplying enough currency in proper denominations.