07 December 2018
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Bhubaneswar: Ask any local about Bhubaneswar and you will probably get to hear, “It was all jungle, two decades back.” So, what changed has changed now? New shopping complexes line every main road, walls of the city now tell a story, wide expansive roads of modernisation, along with spick and span surroundings, Bhubaneswar is on its way to becoming a global identity. Keeping the essential tradition and roots alive, the Temple City of Bhubaneswar has dawned on a new look for the Hockey World Cup and Bhubaneswar City Festival.
While the brand new look of Bhubaneswar is definitely a welcome change for the locals, it has also taken the non-Odias by surprise. A state that is often looked at as one of the poorer states of the country, is now being perceived differently as the two game-changing events in Bhubaneswar have forced the rest of the country to take notice of Odisha. OMMCOM NEWS decided to crisscross the streets and feel the pulse of the people, who have made time to visit Odisha from other States and even countries, to witness the change here that has been brought about by Hockey World Cup and Bhubaneswar City Festival.
Standing in front of the state-of-the-art Kalinga Stadium where 16 countries are currently fighting it out to win the coveted cup, Sapan Chakraborty from Kolkata said, “I am loving the new look of Bhubaneswar. The decorations and infrastructure is all mind-blowing. People are enjoying the arrangements and are making full use of it. The atmosphere also seems calm, welcoming and friendly.”
Rakesh Sharma from Chhattisgarh said, “People of Bhubaneswar are very cooperative. Every year, Bhubaneswar outdoes itself by organizing a sporting extravaganza and I am compelled to visit it. I had visited Bhubaneswar to watch the Champions trophy and now I am here for the Hockey World Cup. And I can clearly see the difference as they administration has been successful in giving the city a brand new look.”
While Vineeth from Delhi is a little disappointed as he has not been able to secure tickets for a hockey match in the host city, Hrishikesh from Australia is enjoying his time here. “The renovated stadium looks captivating and beautiful. I love the people’s behavior towards hockey and it will not be wrong to say that hockey is growing only because of Bhubaneswar’s dedication towards the sport. After roaming around the streets of Bhubaneswar, I am now looking forward to visiting Cuttack and Puri. I would suggest all foreigners to just take an auto-rickshaw and explore the smart city. Al lanes in Odisha have different story connected to it. My family and I also had Odia lunch and it was delectable as we don’t get such experiences back in Australia.”
From across the globe, Manilal of California said, “It is an amazing city and we have had no hassles in travelling. We have a routine of travelling to India to support the hockey team but this is first time we have had the most fun. We are also looking forward to visit the Sun temple, and Puri.”
If Hockey World Cup is the cake, then the cherry on the top is the .FEST (Bhubaneswar City Festival), that is currently being organized in IDCO Exhibition Ground. With over 16 international street food stalls, unlimited star-studded performances, story-telling festival and Trails, .FEST is providing people with an alternative source of entertainment.
Asutosh Kumar of Jharkhand said, “The arrangements made for .FEST are remarkable and I feel that Odisha should organize something like this every year. When I came to Bhubaneswar, I was not expecting such extravaganza, but I was pleasantly surprised. The buses, the WiFi facility, the cycles etc are all really fine moments and everyone in Odisha should feel proud of the developments.”
Harvinder Singh from Punjab said, “I have come to Bhubaneswar earlier but this time’s experience has been something different and I shall cherish it forever. I feel like I am home and I am roaming on the streets of Punjab.”
However, Mrs. Rathode from New Delhi said, “I do not feel like home here. In fact, I like it better that home as Bhubaneswar has completely relaxed me. Earlier, I thought Odisha is more of a tribal State but after witnessing all this modern change, I will definitely recommend my friends and relatives to visit this place once,” she concluded and went on to relish a dish from one of the many food stalls in .FEST.
So denizens of Bhubaneswar, with so many people thronging to the city from outside Odisha, what do you have to recommend to them in ‘India’s Best Kept Secret’ to make their visit worthwhile?
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