03 January 2020
Bhubaneswar: On the wee hours of Friday, a team of senior officials of the State Government, led by Secretary Transformation and Initiatives (5T), VK Pandian visited the Lingaraj temple complex to review the progress of ‘Ekamra Kshetra’ project. Accompanied by Works Secretary and Dr Krishan Kumar and Bhubaneswar Municipal Commissioner Prem Chand Choudhury, the 5T Secretary inspected the on-going works and also held a brief meeting with team engaged with the project on ground.
Much before the ambitious ‘Ekamra Kshetra’ project was officially launched (on December 12) by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Pandian and co, have been making frequent tours the Lingaraj Temple and Mukteswara temple complexes, to monitor the progress and sketch viabilities. It has been the signature style of the 5T Secretary to keep these visits low-profile and off public gaze.
Early morning of Friday, Pandian, Kumar and Choudhury set off for a visit to Temple circuit. “There are two advantages of such early morning visits. While the tours do not mingle with ‘darshan’ timing of general public, the surprise visits also provide an actual picture of the development on ground,” an official said, on condition of anonymity.
The 5T Secretary is leading the execution of this project from the front. Assisted by a team of dedicated officials who have been closely connected to the city and its development, he has been working on mission mode bring this particular project to fruition. At the current pace of work, ‘Ekamra Kshetra’ is likely to be completed within two to three years, the official added.
Now it is important to understand why ‘Ekamra Kshetra’ holds so much significance Bhubaneswar and why Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been so keen to realise this dream project. We must know that Bhubaneswar is identified on the global map as the Temple City.
The Odisha Capital once boasted of more than 7,000 small and big temples which represented the quintessence of the Kalingan architecture, culminating at the medieval stages of the architectural tradition. Today, only a few hundred ancient temples remain.
People of Odisha and Bhubaneswar in particular, take pride in these ancient assets, but little had been done to preserve the essence of this treasure trove. In a bid to reclaim the lost glory of these ancient monuments Naveen envisaged the mega project for revival and preservation of the heritage value and grandeur of Lingaraj Temple and its surroundings.
The ‘Ekamra Kshetra’ project covers an area of 1126 acres with an outer core of 476 acres, intermediate core of 504 acre and inner core of 145 acre. The project aims at giving a new look to the areas around Lingaraj Temple and Mukteswar Temple and at the same time preserving the ancient heritage and architecture.
“Bhubaneswar has been blessed with ancient tradition and architecture, which is both rich and exquisite. The two things these monuments lacked were proper attention and a vision to project them before the world. Our target is to transform Lingaraj and Mukteswar temples and their surroundings into world’s most attractive heritage centre,” the senior official said.