Bhubaneswar, Dec 12:
“The Buddhist quadrangle in Odisha has all that it takes to be selected a world heritage site”, said Jnanpeeth award winning author and former Union Culture secretary Dr Sitakant Mahapatra.
Delivering the keynote address at a seminar on “Potential world heritage sites in Odisha” conducted by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) Bhubaneswar Chapter here on Wednesday, he said Bhubaneswar city once had the potential to become such a site, but lost the chance after the 1970s when it lost its character due to indiscriminate construction activity around the beautiful heritage monuments that dotted the state capital.
“Such recognition is given to very few sites in the world and to work for it is not only the responsibility of the government, but also the citizens who should care and love their heritage. Heritage does not consist only of monuments and artefacts, but also natural sites whose vintage glory should be conserved”, Mohpapatra said.
In his address, H Balakrishnan, convener of the INTACH Chapter, said; “11.12.13 is a unique date in the calendar that will not recur during our lifetime. Hence it is our duty to remember the deliberations and make the world sit up and take notice of the treasure trove of heritage that has been left behind by our ancestors and conserve it for future generations”.
Speaking about the purpose of the seminar and highlighting the parameters for recognition by UNESCO, state convener of INTACH AB Tripathy said the state government should exercise both its power and responsibility to ensure that ancient sites like Sisupalgarh, Bhitarakanika and the Buddhist quadrangle are nurtured and preserved.
The focus of the seminar was on Bhitarakanika, which has already been shortlisted, and the Buddhist quadrangle consisting of Ratnagiri, Udayagiri, Lalitgiri, and Langudi where new discoveries are made from excavations continually.
Dr Chandrasekhar Kar, after whom the first satellite-fitted sea turtle was named, gave a vivid presentation on the fauna and flora of the Bhitarakanika where he spent 37 years as a researcher.
“God has made Gahiramatha biosphere the only place in the world where thousands of sea turtles congregate for mass nesting every year”, he observed.
Dr Jeevan K Patnaik, deputy superintendent, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Odisha Circle, made a presentation on the various excavations conducted since early 20th Century in the Buddhist quadrangle, Dr Sunil K Patnaik made a presentation on recent excavations in Langudi and other places in Jajpur distric,t which still has thousands of artefacts underground.
Among others, former vice-chancellor of Sambalpur University Dr Priyambada Hejmadi, founder director, Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore Dr DP Patnaik, former vice-chancellor, BPUT Dr Omkar Mahanty, former ambassador Abasara Beuria and many other leading intellectuals shared their views and experiences during the interactive session.
Anil Dhir summed up the panel discussions and Abanis Nayak, co-convener, proposed the vote of thanks.