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The Peak (Malaysia) - - Travel -

BCE as the an­cient cap­i­tal of the Kalinga Em­pire of yore. From atop the hill of the Khanda­giri and Udaya­giri caves – nat­u­ral struc­tures carved with or­nate fig­ures of dancers and mu­si­cians dur­ing the reign of the Jain king Kar­avela in the sec­ond cen­tury BCE – I marvel at the le­gions of an­cient tem­ples dot­ting the city’s sky­line. From this vista, it is abun­dantly clear why Bhubaneswar is also known as Ekamra Kshetra or Temple City.

His­tory claims that over a thou­sand tem­ples stood tall in the an­cient city, but many have fallen to the pass­ing of time, leav­ing only a hun­dred or so of th­ese struc­tures left, some of which are in var­i­ous states of ruin, while oth­ers re­main ac­tive to this very day. Kalinga tem­ples are dis­tinct in that their struc­tures con­sist of two parts: the deul is a sanc­tum that tow­ers over the rest of the temple, while the jag­mo­han is an assem­bly hall for wor­ship­pers to con­gre­gate and of­fer their prayers. The walls of both struc­tures are lav­ishly sculpted with a pro­fu­sion of fig­ures and deities, each sig­nif­i­cant to the divine be­ing that re­sides in the sa­cred deul. While the mag­nif­i­cent con­struc­tion of th­ese tem­ples are wor­thy of ad­mi­ra­tion, it is the lav­ishly carved fig­ures and sculp­tures that catch my eye.

“They look like they’re danc­ing,” I think out loud. Turn­ing to me with a glow­ing smile on his face, Datuk Ramli says: “Be­cause, my dear, there is di­vin­ity in the art of dance.” He points to the nearby sculp­ture of a de­ity whose fig­ure curves grace­fully, form­ing an ‘S’ shape. “This is the

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