Light and Sound Hope for [Odisha] Heritage Sites

Indian Express
Diana Sahu
19th April 2014

Budhhist monastery, 8-13th century, Udayagiri, Odisha, India;  photo:  Jeffrey Martin 2013

Budhhist monastery, 8-13th century, Udayagiri, Odisha, India; photo: Jeffrey Martin 2013

If things go as planned, three famed heritage sites of Odisha – Dhauli, Khandagiri-Udayagiri and Konark – may get the much-awaited light and sound shows by Dussehra this year.

The Tourism and Culture Department is in the final stage of talks with India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) to prepare the scripts and choose the background voices for 30-minute programmes which will be shown with laser technology.Though light and sound shows at these sites were being considered for a long time, it could not materialise due to various reasons.

Secretary of Tourism and Culture Department Arvind Padhee, who recently met the Additional Secretary of ITDC Girish Shankar to discuss the project, said ITDC will soon submit a blueprint of scripts for the shows and other technical details to the State Government which would give final nod following consultation with the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) and Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha. While ASI is in charge of the Konark Sun temple and Khandagiri caves, the Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha takes care of the Peace Pagoda as it had constructed the structure.Voices of actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Kabir Bedi and Suresh Oberoi are being considered for the voice over which will be dubbed in Odia, Engligh, Hindi and Bengali. “It was earlier decided that the laser shows would be in Odia, Hindi and English, but we wanted the shows in Bengali as well because these sites get a large number of tourists from West Bengal,” said Padhee.

At Dhauli, theme of Kalinga War will be presented while Khandagiri caves would get a show on Kharavela’s dynasty and the feat of Bisu Maharana’s 12-year-old son Dharmapada  will be featured in Konark Sun temple. “We have set a deadline of October to finish the work,” said Padhee.

The project at the three sites would entail an expenditure of `6.5 crore each and as of now, `3 crore has been sanctioned to the State Government. While Central Government will make an expenditure of `5 crore for each monument, the remaining amount will be pulled from State Government sources.

Bhuvan Bikram, Superintending Archaeologist of the Bhubaneswar circle of the ASI, said after getting the final project detail from Tourism and Culture Department, ASI would conduct studies on the impact of sound and light on the structures.

“As far as Konark and Khandagiri are concerned, these structures have been built with small stones put together and even a certain intensity of light and sound can cause damage to them. Though we have agreed on principle to the project, we want to study the feasibility report before giving green signal,” Bikram said.

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