Published: 05th May 2018
Learning Math, Science, Geography and more from the architecture and culture of Odisha
Kalinga Edu Tours teaches Math, Science and other subjects through the architecture of this coastal state
There is only so much you can admire in a picture. True to this statement, Kalinga Diaries was started last year to get people to tour and see the lesser-known monuments of Odisha, so that they can admire its beauty upfront rather than on a two-dimensional picture. Now, to catch them young, they have started Kalinga Edu Tours. Through this month-old initiative, they offer perfectly curated trips for children. There are three faces behind this initiative, one of whom is Ashish Sarangi. The 40-year-old is enthusiastic about all things Odia and at the very onset of our conversation, he tells us about the mission behind starting this initiative, “We wanted sixth to tenth graders to learn about the practical aspects of Math, History and Geography through the architectural beauty of Odisha.”
Currently, Kalinga Edu Tours have tied up with Little Steps and want to partner with other institutions as well
Sarangi illustrates this effectively with an example as he asks us to picture a quintessential Odia temple with the mandatory pond near it. “You will find that the top of the temple is always perpendicular to the pond,” he states. Through such examples, Kalinga Edu Tours teaches children mathematical concepts like height and base. Basically, “we try to correlate concepts that are learnt in the classroom with lessons we teach on the field,” he explains.
The trio: Ashish Sarangi, Taranisen Pattanaik and Prateek Pattanaik, founders of Kalinga Edu Tours
Though Sarangi was born and brought up in Rajasthan, he’s been an Odia at heart since he came here in 2004. But he rues the fact that most of the state’s gems remain hidden. “We know about the Russian and French Revolution, but so little about the history that is still alive in our own backyard and that is sad,” he says, adding that he is thankful to Bikash Mohanty for his efforts too.
After the months of June and July, Kalinga Edu Tours plan on increasing the frequency of their tours
Obviously, to learn about Odisha architecture will take a lifetime, but to get children started, Kalinga Edu Tours starts them off on a beginner’s crash course of sorts. They visit five historic places along with a few lesser-known places in the capital.
Just sign up for the tour and leave the arrangements to Kalinga Edu Tours. They arrange the transport (bus), food (lip-smacking authentic Odia dishes) and, of course, the expertise. Because of the heat, they have broken up the tour into three parts for now, which is carried out over three days, from 6.30 am to 9.30 am. Their next tour is coming up on May 11, 12 and 13. If you hurry, you might just find yourself tagging along with them and experiencing Odisha as it should be experienced.
Sarangi tells us about all the places he takes the children to and some facts about them — some well-known, while others, not so much.
All ears: Children at Sisupalgarh listening to their guide
At one point of time, the population of Sisupalgarh was more than the population of Ancient Athens. Such was the splendour of this place that is known to be the first fortified city, about 2,500 years ago. The pre-Maurya city was once surrounded by a river. The Germans and the British are known to visit Sisupalgarh for research.
Say cheese: Children posing with the idol of Buddha at Dhauli
Dhauli is the place that is associated with the Kalinga war and Buddhism. It is here that King Ashoka, the greatest ruler of the Mauryan empire, decided that he will win the world, not through war, but through love. And it is here that he embraced Buddhism.
Against the wall: Students taking notes at one of the sites in Bindusagar
There is a folk tale which states that when Kashi became too crowded for Lord Shiva he came here to do his tapasya. Lessons of length, breadth, height and volume are taught here during the tour.
Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves
What's that?: Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves piquing the curiosity of children
When you get an aerial view of these caves or see them on Google Maps, you will find that the caves built in Dhauli (by Ashoka) and the Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves are all in a single line. These were built by King Kharavela after he attacked Magadha and won the war. By building these caves he wanted to establish that Kalinga is superior to Magadha.
Listen closely: The guide during an explanation at Ekamra Van
Ek amra means ‘one mango’ in Odia. It is believed that there was one huge mango tree in Odisha. But now, this forest houses several trees of medicinal value and is a lesson in itself
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