INTACH documenting traditional Jagannath pilgrimage route

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Bhubaneswar: The INTACH has started listing and documenting a 484-km-long traditional route that was once used by thousands of pilgrims to visit the Jagannath temple in Odisha, a member of the organisation said here today.

Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) is a leading non-government organisation that works to conserve and preserve India’s natural, cultural, living, tangible and intangible heritage.

The route known as Jagannath Sadak (Jagannath road) from Kolkata to Puri is being traversed and a survey of the remnants is being made by a team led by INTACH state convenor A.B.Tripathy, the NGO’s member Anil Dhir told IANS.

“Three years ago, I embarked on a bullock cart journey on this route and discovered remnants of rest houses, wells, tanks, culverts, bridges and temples constructed by the side of the road in ancient times,” Dhir said.

“The INTACH launched a project in June last year for its listing and documentation after I highlighted the plight of the route,” he said.

As a part of this project, a team toured the entire stretch of the old route, especially located in Odisha, and already has listed and documented hundreds of such monuments, he said.

“We will publish a printed book on this soon before the Nabakalebar festival of Lord Jagannath, which would be held this year in July at Puri. The book will have the photographs of hundreds of such monuments, structures, wells, ponds etc.”, he said.

Dhir said the Jagannath Sadak took form sometime in late 1700s and was the lifeline for all pilgrims who came to the lord’s abode at Puri.

It was from 1825 that the road came to be known as the Orissa Trunk Road, but for the devotees who descended on this path and made the slow way to the pilgrim city, it has always been the Jagannath Sadak, he said.

Dhir said that the relevance of the road in the formation of Odisha and the spread of Jagannath culture has been overlooked in history.

The listing will help in creating awareness of the history of the Jagannath Sadak and help in conserving and preserving whatever is left of this great road, he added.

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