By Odisha Story Bureau, Bhubaneswar:
From IT hotspot of US city Cupertino to Temple City the distance is over 800 miles, but after participating at the 45th Ekamra Walks, the only guided heritage walk of the city, Mayor of Cupertino Savita Vaidhyanathan today said that the warmth of the people and the rich cultural traditions and the beautiful monuments in Old Town area with priceless art on stone have the power to bring both the cities more closer.
As the two cities, Cupertino and Bhubaneswar have become Sister Cities since 2012, Vaidhyanathan said “I really appreciate the heritage walk as it is well organized with a good interactive guide and the people are so much interested and the smart young generation loving their heritage. We are here to promote cultural links, tourism and the experience at Ekamra Walks was very educative indeed.’’
She also appreciated the way the medicinal plant garden Ekamra Van is curated and the sync of the design with the ancient architecture and traditions of Ekamra Kshetra, which is a prime abode of Lord Shiva. She also talked to the Assistant Conservator of Forests Ashok Mishra on individual medicinal plants and was impressed with the rich collection of the varieties.
Accompanied with her husband Rammurthy Vaidhyanathan and co-founders of Cupertino Bhubaneswar Sister City Initiative (CBSCI) Mahesh Pakala and Reena Pattanaik Rao, the Cupertino Mayor, perhaps the first US city Mayor from Indian origin, said “Bhubaneswar city is very clean and it gives a lasting impression on the mind of a visitor with its well-organised things and beautiful surroundings including the ancient monuments.’’
While interacting with the students of ICICI Academy of Skills, Bhubaneswar, Vaidhyanathan enquired about their admission criteria and later advised the students to have better working knowledge in English and have positive, strong and determined attitude so that the enhanced confidence level and soft skills would enable the girls in getting better placement in their career. She also took photographs and selfies with the visitors of 45th Ekamra Walks.
Vaidhyanathan, who has migrated to USA more than 24 years ago, said while there are 60,000 people in her city Cupertino, the majority are from Asia and especially from India and China. After graduating from St. Stephens College, Delhi, she had her MBA from US-based institution and currently works in non-profit sector. I do work to help women entrepreneurs.
Eleven students of ICICI Academy of Skills, Bhubaneswar today participated at the Ekamra Walks. Today overall 55 visitors took part in 45th Ekamra Walks.
Sunil Verma, Sunita Verma and their daughter Sanu Verma from London were happy to see the ancient monuments and also for the first time experienced the rituals of “Habisha’’ by widows at Doodhwala Dharamshala. Sunil is a banker in London.
Manisha Ghosh Dastidar and her family, who arrived in the city for the first time joined the walkers near the Southern Gate of LIngaraj Temple, but they were also very happy to get to know so much on the medicinal plant garden Ekamra Van.
Gunjeet Bhansingh, a professional photographer said “for last five weeks I am planning to join the heritage walk, but today I made it a point that even if having less sleep I would join and today I did it and enjoyed the entire walk from Mukteswar Temple to Ekamra Van thoroughly.’’
A joint venture of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, Bhubaneswar Development Authority and Odisha Tourism has so far attracted more than 2,300 visitors from over 23 nations. De Tour Odisha is the tour managers of the heritage walk.