Mahanadi -The book to be released on 21st Jan

Here is what Sri Anil Dhir , writer of THE MAHANADI says about documentation of the river , its heritage

Finally, the book will be released on the banks of the Mahanadi on the 21st of January, at the Maritime Museum, Jobra, Katak. Four years of back-breaking efforts along with Deepak Nayak and team members from the other Chapters. Traversing the entire length of the great river from Bargarh to the estuary at Paradeep, covering nine districts of the State. We walked on the banks and used boats, motorcycles, jeeps, bicycles, and bullock carts to cover the nearly 500 kms of the stretch of the river in Odisha. And this too on both the banks, so literally we did more than a 1000 kms of survey, that too with a fine tooth comb. Major hitherto unreported discoveries have been made which include caves, submerged temples, archaeological sites, monuments, and geological wonders. Of the nearly 500 monuments we have listed, 80 are unique and are being reported for the first time. We also discovered 60 submerged temples inside the Mahanadi.

When the project was launched in 2018, little did we know the might of the river and how inaccessible it was in the upper reaches. We experienced the river in full spate during the monsoons and also when it ran a tiny trickle in the summers.

The two-volume book has nearly 1200 photographs, 50 maps and is the most detailed report on the Mahanadi released to date. This is only half the story. We shall be starting the Chhattisgarh stretch (400 kms), from its origin till it enters Odisha very soon. Only then will the report be complete.

As for me, while the joy of completing the work is great, it was also a very sad and traumatic experience. Struck by Covid four times, I had serious doubts about completing the project. The guidance of our mentor, State Convener of INTACH, Shri Amiya Bhusan Tripathy (IPS Retd.) was immense. It was he who goaded us along, reading and correcting all the drafts. The story of the Mahanadi as it stands today is heartbreaking. The river is dying a slow death, we are killing it.

The book will be released by Maj. Gen Gupta (Retd) AVSM, the Chairman of INTACH, along with other dignitaries. Please do come if you can. I shall be sharing a few of our experiences of the four years we spent collecting the rich tangible and intangible heritage of the Mahanadi Valley.

Venue : Odisha State Maritime Museum, Ring Road, Jobra, Katak. 21st January 11 a.m to 12 noon.

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