I have an unconditional love for the city. I have been in love with the city since I was a toddler. The love for the holy city has percolated through me since the city roads were flanked by the meadows and green paddy fields. Soon, they disappeared and were replaced by the huge buildings which were either malls or colleges.
Nothing in the city looks the same as it was a decade ago. The city has progressed in leaps and bounds, with many educational institutes, hotels, restaurants, and shopping centres mushrooming across the city. The expansion of city roads and the beautification of pavements have paved the way for better commuting. The cityscape has changed significantly and so has the demography – we have barged into the one-million club even though the official stats are yet to recognize the same. Amid this phenomenal transformation, the city has surprisingly been able to keep its identity intact. It still continues to attract me with the same vibes as it did years ago. There has always been something inexplicable about the city which makes me come here again and again.
Last week when my best friend told me that the temple city, Bhubaneswar, is going to be his new workplace, I was elated but at the same time couldn’t help but feel little jealous of him. Bhubaneswar is my native town- I was born here. I was barely four when my parents shifted to the steel city, Jamshedpur. But Bhubaneswar never lost its charm for me. It continued to linger in me as my soul remained wistful for missing out on the beautiful city.
There was a time when I failed to understand why these foreigners would quit their luxurious life and reside in Bhubaneswar. Little late, but I finally realised, as I grew and became mature, that it’s the divine air which gives them a life full of peace. The temples in the city give a holy feel to the city. Every temple in the city with its beautiful art and sculptures depicts our rich culture and heritage; and thus plays an important role in beautifying the city. Apart from being a major tourist attraction, it is the respiratory system of the city. Many wouldn’t agree but the city would be nothing without these holy shrines. Lingaraj Temple, Mukhteswar Temple, Rajrani Temple, Iskon Temple, Ram Mandir etc are many well-known shrines the city of Shiva has to gloat over.
Well pardon me on that but when we talk about our rich culture and language I sum it up as “cute” (you can blame my femininity for saying it so). Starting from the language, culture and the artwork everything has lot to say. The intricacies of the indigenous artwork can be seen on almost all the sculptures of the city temple. The decorative items, which are a major crowd-puller, deck up not only the households of the native but also of people from outside the state.
But is This All We Love Bhubaneswar For?
I believe it’s the enigmatic surrounding; it’s the feel of the city which makes it worth a stay. Not many have disagreed with me that the city has a different kind of an environment which enthrals you. Not because I was born here or my ancestral connection does it all, it’s the welcoming ambience which makes me more wistful for the holy city. Take a walk through the streets or have a tour you will know what I am trying to convey. To say this would be funny but try standing atop the new Rajmahal Flyover and you will get blown away by the panorama of the city. Every time I enter the city it’s ready to embrace me with all positivity. Though my work keeps me away from the city I never miss a single opportunity to be there.
The streets, malls, parks, buildings are all important but you need to connect with the city. Bhubaneswar is a welcoming respite to everyone landing here. The mystical breeze which fills you in on arriving in the city does magic! What magic? The answer is it makes you smile.
One cannot be less sure that the upcoming years would see many more transformations in the city. Like the need of the hour are Flyovers and FOBs to vent out the traffic congestions. Then there would be sprouting up of more buildings to give refuge to companies and colleges lining up. More and more of mall projects are on cards to give it a complete cosmopolitan picture. The process would continue with growing needs and demands of a proper civilization but after all this neither will make it lose its vibes nor will stop it from welcoming you mystically.
Despite the prevalent misconception about its cleanliness, traffic issues and governance, I still believe the city is way better than most of its counterparts in our country. It takes collective efforts and participation of denizens to make a city beautiful. So, together, we can work on the city to make it even better.
Article by: Ipsita Sahoo