DUJ Pre-Visit Talks Schedule

This page will be updated periodically with the Schedule of Preparatory Talks for Dravida Utkla Jatra 2017.

Prep Talk 7

Date: Sunday, November 6, 2016.  Time: 3.00 pm

Topic: The Lingaraja Temple

Speaker: Siva Thiagarajan

The Lingaraja Temple is the product of accumulated and crystallised experience of several centuries and represents the quintessence of Orissan architecture. It is one of the most finished and refined manifestations of temple architecture in India. Every element of the temple displays the consummate skill of its designers and craftsmen. The graceful contour of its soaring gandi is a marvel. The entire panoply of Orissan decorative motifs is mustered here with rare aesthetic sense; every carving enhances the majesty of the edifice as a whole. The construction of the temple is associated with three of the later Somavamsi kings though there is no reliable record. Stylistically dated to around 1065 CE, the Lingaraja became the formal paradigm for almost all Orissan temples built in the next 400 years.

Siva will take us on a grand tour of this temple, the largest that we will study in Bhubaneswar.

Sivasubramanian Thiagarajan is an entrepreneur. His firm Durasoft provides training and consulting services to a host of leading IT firms in India and abroad. As a keen heritage enthusiast, Siva has been a part of the core team at Tamil Heritage Trust for years now, taking on the role of organiser-in-chief for many of THT’s programs. His interest in heritage spans the gamut of history, temple architecture, inscriptions and a includes a deep interest in ancient coins.

Prep Talk 6

Date: Sunday, October 3o, 2016.  Time: 3.00 pm

Topic: Puri Jagannath: The Festive Aspects (Rituals, Beshas, Festivals and Nabakalebara)

Speaker: Siddharth Chandrasekar

Lord Jagannatha at Puri is the Supreme Ruler of Purushottama Ksetra. He is lavishly worshiped with royal rituals and sumptuous food offerings and is attended by a great family of servants. His rituals are elaborate and involve over a thousand functionaries – from the morning Homa celebrated in His name to worship Surya, to the daily horoscope read by the jyotishi, to the financial report read by the accountants (karanas) and so on. His clothes and jewels are rich and colourful. His festivals are of a grand scale, all celebrated according to strict “nitis” – the biggest of them being the Nabakalebara, when He is given a “new body”.

Siddharth will speak on these and other joyous aspects of the great temple of Jagannatha at Puri.

An engineer by qualification and a professional photographer by choice, Siddharth Chandrasekhar has a deep interest in Physics and Indian Heritage. He keeps abreast of the latest developments in Physics and enjoys teaching in schools as a mission and giving talks on the subject at diverse forums. He is also a qualified Yoga trainer. He continually seeks to expand his horizons through travel and photography.

Prep Talk 5

Date: Sunday, October 23, 2016.  Time: 3.00 pm

Topic: The Rediscovery of India’s History, the Brahmi Script and Samrat Asoka

Speaker: R Gopu

Gopu, a software technologist and cultural historian, was recently awarded the 2016 Vedavalli Memorial Heritage Award for outstanding contribution to South India’s heritage by a young achiever. You can check out his amazing range of interests at http://varahamihiragopu.blogspot.in/

In DUJ-2017, we will visit Dhauli in Bhubaneswar to see one of Asoka’s famous Rock Edicts. While the emperor Asoka is taken for granted by every school student today, as recently as two hundred years ago, he was not a widely known figure despite his rock and pillar edicts being scattered across the country. It was only in 1837 when the Brahmi script was deciphered did he emerge as the hero he is now. The deciphering of Brahmi, the major script of much of India from the late centuries BCE up until the sixth century CE, was the key that unlocked the mysteries of ancient Indian history. What led to this major discovery? Who were the characters involved in this? And how did they achieve this breakthrough?

Come and listen to Gopu narrate this fascinating story as only he can.

Prep Talk 4

Date: Sunday, October 16, 2016.  Time: 3.00 pm

Topic: The Mukteswara Temple in Bhubaneswar

Speaker: Shyam Raman

The Mukteswara Temple in Bhubaneswar is not a monumental structure. But it is often referred to as the “gem” of Odisha temple architecture. Built in the late 10th Century by the Somavamsis, it incorporates several unique features as well as ideas that were tried in Odisha for the first time.

In addition to exploring the various aspects of this temple, we will take the opportunity of using the Muktesawara as an example to introduce the basics of Odisha temple architecture and art.

Prep Talk 3

Date: Sunday, October 9, 2016.  Time: 11.00 am

Topic:  The Jain Caves at Udayagiri & Khandagiri

Speaker: Badri Seshadri

Badri (not that he needs an introduction to this group) is a co-founder and Managing Director of New Horizon Media, a leading publishing house in Chennai. He was also the co-founder of Cricinfo.   He is an Engineer from IIT-Madras and has a PhD from Cornell University.  He blogs at http://www.badriseshadri.in/ and is a regular on television panel / talk shows on a wide range of subjects, as a public intellectual. The Tamil Heritage Trust which he co-founded is his chosen route to pursue his passion for the rich heritage of India and Tamil Nadu.
In DUJ-2017, we will have the opportunity to study monuments of Buddhist, Jain and Hindu traditions. The Jain rock-cut shelters at Udayagiri and Khandagiri, just outside Bhubaneswar, command a unique position in eastern India in terms of history, rock-cut architecture and religion. The inscriptions on the walls of these shelters furnish evidence of the existence of the Chedi dynasty around the first Century BCE, proclaiming the achievements of their most famous king, Kharavela. Architecturally, these caves (gumphas) differ in significant ways from Buddhist caves of the same period.  The art includes friezes on facades, decorative elements on pillars, and narrative reliefs on the walls. Badri aims to give us more than a glimpse of this important site in his talk.

Prep Talk 2

Date: Sunday, October 2, 2016.  Time: 3.00 pm

Topic:  The Temples of Bhubaneswar

Speaker: Mr T K Krishnakumar

Krishnakumar T K (alias KK) is a traveler and has written over 750 travel articles in his travel blog http://indiancolumbus.blogspot.com/
He has authored several travel guidebooks including “Explore Coorg – the Scotland of India”, “Temples of Chennai – Part 1”, and a Series on “Valmiki Ramayan Simplified”.
In his talk, KK will briefly introduce Bhubaneswar and some key elements of temple architecture in Odisha before taking us on a guided tour of several of the important temples of that city.

Orientation Meeting

Date: Sunday, September 18th, 2016.  Time: 3.00 pm


  • Introduction of Jatris
  • The Cultural Importance of Bhubaneswar – Prof S Swaminathan
  • Overview of the Itinerary of DUJ 2017
  • Schedule of Preparatory Talks