Unseen Passage: Historical Places of Orissa

The Odisha State Maritime Museum and the Barabati Fort are two most important historical places of Orissa. Set up by Odisha Government on the banks of river Mahanadi over four acres of land to showcase the rich maritime history of Odisha during the colonial era, the museum stands on the site of the ancient Maritime Engineering Workshop that was established by the British in 1869. Apparently, this workshop was set up for building, repair and maintenance of vessels from the provinces of Bihar, Bengal and Odisha under the Bengal Presidency of British India.

The workshop was set up by the then PWD department of British administration through the efforts of a Scottish Engineer GH Faulkner immediately after the 1866 famine in Odisha. The museum has 13 galleries showcasing maritime traditions, vessels, boats and other related artefacts from the ancient age to the colonial era. A library with more than 1000 books and journals has been included for researchers in the museum.

Barabati Fort, built by the Ganga dynasty on the banks of River Mahanadi, is one of the most soughtafter tourist attractions of Cuttack. Located near the Baliyatra Ground, this ruined fort stands on the west side of the Millennium City. According to historians, Barabati Fort once housed a nine-storey palace. While the fort is spread over an area of 102 acres, it has a 20-yard wide moat to protect the structure. What stands at the site today are the ruins of the palace on an earthen mound, the hyacinth-filled moat and the fort. The area is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India.

The construction of the fort was started in 989 AD by King Marakata Keshari while he was building embankments on the shore of river Mahanadi to protect the city from floods. Later in the 14th century, Mukundadev Harichandan, a Chalukyan King, built the nine-storey palace. Archaeological excavations have revealed that the fort, rectangular in structure, was surrounded on all sides by a wall of laterite and sandstone. In the recent years, stone images of deitie and dancing women have been found from spots around the moat. The gateway of the fort is minimally designed with large laterite stones.

Q. On the basis of your reading and understanding of the above passage, answer the following:

  1. The commonality between the Odisha State Maritime Museum and the Barabati Fort is that both are on the banks of the river Mahanadi. (True/False)
  2. The ancient Maritime Engineering Workshop was established in 1869 to ___________.
  3. Which city is called the ‘Millennium City’ ?
  4. Marakata Keshari constructed embankment on the shore of Mahanadi to protect
    1. the fort from flood
    2. the city from attack
    3. the city from flood
    4. none of the above
  5. Which of the following is true about the Odisha State Maritime Museum ?
    1. Odisha State Maritime Museum is near the Baliyatra Ground.
    2. It was established by Scottish Engineer GH Faulkner alone.
    3. Maritime traditions, vessels, boats and other related artefacts can be seen in the 13 galleries of the Museum.
    4. The museum library doesn’t have any facility for research.
  6. Identify a word in para 3 which means a deep wide narrow channel, generally filled with water, to defend any attack.
    1. moat
    2. mound
    3. fort
    4. site
  7. Which of the following about the Barabati Fort is not true ?
    1. The construction of the fort was started in 989 AD by King Marakata Keshari
    2. Mukundadev Harichandan constructed the nine-storey palace that stood at the site of the Barabati Fort.
    3. Today, the ruins of the fort has only the fort and the palace.
    4. The wall surrounding the fort is made of laterite and sandstone.
  8. Give a synonym of the word ‘decay’.

Answer

  1. True
  2. build, repair and maintain vessels from the provinces of Bihar, Bengal and Odisha under the Bengal Presidency of British India.
  3. Cuttack is called the ‘Millenium City’.
  4. the city from flood.
  5. Maritime traditions, vessels, boats and other related artefacts can be seen in the 13 galleries of the Museum.
  6. moat
  7. Today, the ruins of the fort has only the fort and the palace.
  8. Ruin

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