Dravida Utkala Jatra 2017

duj-2017Dravida Utkala Jatra 2017 is Tamil Heritage Trust’s Eighth Site Seminar planned from January 26th to 30th 2017. The destination for this Site Seminar is Odisha – specifically Bhubaneswar, Konarak and Puri.

What is a Site Seminar?

Introducing Prof. S Swaminathan’s concept of a Site Seminar, R Gopu wrote in the invitation to last year’s Site Seminar to Badami: “The objective is to inspire participants to understand in depth and in loving detail, the patrimony of the artistic heritage – temples, monuments, paintings, sculptures, bronzes, chariots, etc. – that we have inherited, but are barely aware of; to visit such places, to imbibe the spirit of its creators, to soak in the scholarship of experts and researchers, to absorb the aesthetics and the history, and to pass it on to our colleagues and friends, families and future generations”.
What this means to you as a participant is as follows:
  • Before the Trip: You will prepare for the next 4 months by reading up, listening to a series of Preparatory Talks and, if you are so inclined, giving lectures on the various heritage aspects of the place we are visiting.
  • During the trip: If, as an average tourist, you had spent 5 minutes looking at a particular feature of a monument, you will now spend an hour examining it in all its fascinating detail.
  • After the Trip: Your conversation will be infinitely more interesting (“Did you know that the Odishan Dasabhuja Mahishasuramardini sometimes holds the sula in the middle left hand?”)  and your dreams will be filled with deuls and jagamohanas in vivid colours.
Why Odisha?

Odisha burst into the headlines sometime in the 3rd Century BCE when the emperor Asoka decided to let it be widely known that it was the post-traumatic stress from the war in Kalinga that turned him from Mighty Mauryan to Beloved-of-the-gods Buddhist with an obsession for writing on rocks.  Since then, the region known variously as Kalinga, Utkala, Ordadesa, Chedi etc has been ruled by dynasties great and small, whose hands were kept full by invaders all the way from the pre-Mauryan Nandas through our very own Cholas (including Kulottunga I of Kalingathu Parani fame), up until the Mughals, the Marathas and the British. In spite of this busy schedule, the kings of Kalinga set aside time and resources to keep building some magnificent temples for over a thousand years, establishing the distinctive Kalinga style of architecture.  Bhubaneswar is a veritable living museum that showcases the temple architecture and traditions of this entire period in history.  Then there’s the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Sun Temple at Konarak. And Puri, whose temple festival inspired a new word in English – the Juggernaut. 

What are we going to see?
Mainly about 2000 years’ worth of architecture, art and culture.  Here’s what we plan to see:
  • The Asokan edict at Dhauli
  • The Buddhist sites of Ratnagiri and Lalitagiri.
  • The Jaina caves of Udayagiri and Khandhagiri (approx. first century BCE).
  • In Bhubaneswar we will trace the evolution of Odishan temple architecture by visiting various monuments built from the 7th century onwards.  These will include the Lingaraja and Rajarani (12th C), the Parasurameswar (7th C), Mukteswar (11th C), Brahmeswar (11th C) and Baital Deul.(9th C).
  • The Sun Temple at Konarak and
  • The Jagannath Temple at Puri.

Await more details in the coming weeks and months.