Even the second wave of COVID-19 failed to dampen Odisha’s Foundation Day celebrations recently. London-based Odia Cultural Association was not to be left far behind, as it marked the 85th Utkal Divas with a grand online programme, in collaboration with Odisha Society of UK.
Among dignitaries who graced the virtual event were Higher Education Minister Dr Arun Sahoo, Culture and Tourism Minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi, Rajya Sabha MP Amar Patnaik, MLA Suresh Routray and Principal Secretary Bishnupada Sethi.
Several other distinguished participants stressed on the relevance of observing the state’s Foundation Day and significance of sensitizing the younger generation about the essence of Odisha.
Eminent speakers observed that Odisha is blessed with immense natural bounties, huge mineral resources, large industrial infrastructure, trained human capital, vast coastline, unlimited tourism potential and, above all, the spiritual bliss being showered by Lord Jagannath.
They felt that Odisha has got all bases covered and to achieve zenith of progress and prosperity.
Recalling the rich maritime history of Odisha, the mighty Kalinga Empire from Ganges to Godavari and the mesmerizing sculptors’ and artisans’ works at the Sun temple, the speakers predicted a return of the Golden era in Odisha soon.
There was a mega cultural display as well with the recital of country poems by renowned poet Haladhar Nag, scintillating musical presentation by Susmita Das and magical one-liner rendition by humour artist Bibhu Mishra.
The colourful cultural extravaganza also included singing by Goutam, Kuldip and Prangya, dance by Natalie Rout & Yatish Nath, Odissi dance by Tirthi Patnaik Mohanty and Pranjal, Bharatnatyam dance to the tune of Vande Utkal Janani by Divija Mishra and handloom fashion show designed by Rama Krushna Patnaik.