A Cycle Ride to Explore The Ancient #Buddhist Circuit Of #Odisha #Travel
(Ancient Monasteries and Mahavihar of Ratnagiri, LalitGiri and Udayagiri with Langudi Hills and Deuli)
This ride of BCAC was quite different from the other heritage rides; not only because it covers some of the most ancient Buddhist monasteries of Odisha, but also because of the exploration of possibilities of a Cycling Track that covers the entire Diamond Triangle (Ratnagiti, LalitGiri & Udaygiri) in the banks of two prominent rivers of Odisha, namely Birupa and Brahmani. The ride was intended to redefine Buddhist tourism in Odisha with a Carbon-negative and green initiative of cycling. In collaboration with Kalinga Natya Nirbana BCAC organized a 2 days long tour to cover 3 major ancient ruins of Buddhist monasteries belonging to 5th-6th Century AD. It was also an add-on to the Vietnam-Cambodia World Peace Expedition that BCAC has recently completed on the foreign soil covering 2000 kms of Cycling in 14 days.
10 cyclists laced with all safety gears and equipments started this unsupported ride from Bhubaneswar on 28th January Morning at around 6:30AM from the Club House. A few cyclists from this team of 10 joined en-route near Decathlon, Phulnakhara and Shikharpur Chowk in Cuttack. The peloton under the leadership of Ajay Nanda rode 65km distance from Bhubaneswar to Chandikhol, where the members of Kalinga Natya Nirbana were waiting to offer a grand welcome with college students from Chandikhol. A press coverage was organized at Chandikhol which discussed about the aim and objective of this ride and the purpose behind this expedition.
Soon after the breakfast, the peloton rode another 25 odd kilometers to reach the first Buddhist Ancient Monastery of Lalitgiri crossing the famous Olasuni hill, where an annual fair was going on. We explored the ancient ruins of the monastery while visiting the nearby museum for the excavated sculptures dated from 5th Century AD to 11th Century AD. The team tool lunch in a nearby Dhaba after the expedition of Lalitgiri and headed towards the most famous Mahavihar of Ratnagiri as a part of world famous Puspagiri University – an ancient knowledge hub and university, the description of which can be found in the historical writings of many famous explorers in search of spread of Buddhism in Odisha.
(From the impressive remains and large number of sculptures, discovered during excavation, it is clear that the Buddhist establishment of Ratnagiri, dating from circa 5th century CE witnessed a phenomenal growth in religion and architecture till the 13th century CE. Large number of stone sculptures, few bronze and brass image of Buddha and Buddhist pantheon recovered during excavations tend to prove that Ratnagiri was a great Tantric center of Buddhism comparable to that of Nalanda in Bihar. A large number of clay sealing, found during excavations, bearing the legend Shri Ratnagiri Mahavihariya Arya Bhikshu Samghasya have helped in identifying the name of Ratnagiri monastery. – sourced from Wikipedia the free encyclopedia)
After exploring the Ratnagiri Monastery and visit to the ASI museum, the peloton moved towards Udaygiri another famous excavated site of Puspagiri University and visited the shrines, tombs and pagodas. It was evening 5:30PM on the clock when the peloton headed towards Deuli Hill Top in Jarka for a nights rest in a Guest House under Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Government of Odisha. It was a hell climb of more than 400 meters and every cyclists enjoyed the climb to Deuli Hilltop. We are happy to see the arrangements by Mr Prakash nayak and Mr amarendra parida of Kalinga natya Nirbana.
The second day began with a beautiful foggy morning on the hilltop, where we explore some of most serene nature from the Deuli hill. Two more riders joined us from Cuttack in the 2nd day morning. We reeked on foot to the unexplored Deuli hill, which is another ruins of Buddhist importance. We left the Guest House to explore another beautiful site of rock carvings on Langudi hill through some tranquil landscapes of Odisha amidst villages and hamlets. After exploring Langudi hill, the BCAC peloton headed back to Bhubaneswar through some villages taking a short-cut route till Chandikhol. The team covered more than 240 kms in these two days of Buddhist Circuit Expedition.
Being one of the most ancient developments of Buddhist importance, the Diamond Triangle including a Mahavihar and Tantric Buddhism sites, this ride marks a special significance to the Heritage Ride Calendar of BCAC. The BCAC members also would like to urge to the local administration to develop a beautiful cycle track connecting all these major sites along the rural Odisha to offer a C-negative zone for international tourists and facilitate cycling. Mr Prakash Nayak and Mr Amarendra Parida from Kalinga Natya Nirbana, put a lot effort making our ride smooth by narrating the history behind these places.
Ajay Nanda, Manoj Prusti, Soumya Ranjan Biswal, Amit Paikray, Santosh Rout, Trilochan Barik, Swastik, Suraj Aryan, Manas, Piyush Agrawal, Biswajit Tarai, Biraja Mishra and Nihar Giri joined this ride from BCAC.