Ekamra Kshetra’s antique shop razed

With its old-time look, charm and values, the Baidya Store was a landmark in the Old Town’s market for the past 120 years.

Last week, the place was demolished in the ongoing modernisation drive as part of the Lingaraj Entry Plaza.

It was just one among the many small shops that lined the main road near the Lingaraj Temple. The antique-looking store, with a board proclaiming it to be the ‘Baidya Store’ had been in place since the last part of the 1800s. The little shop was a window into the traditional past of Bhubaneswar.

But more than just a shop, the tiny place was more about upholding traditions. From ever since the store started, it had been selling Ayurvedic medicines and puja samagri for ceremonies and functions like house warming, marriages, Yajnas, etc. While the original old thatched and tin roofs gave way to modern constructions, this old shop was still a small single storied one, with wooden roof beams. It lay snuggled between two double storied buildings before they brought it down.

Dasarathi Mohapatro, the fourth-generation owner of the store, says that the shop was started by great grandfather who had handed it over to his grandfather Kailash Mohapatro. It was later run by his father Ghanshyam. “I had been here since 1975,” he states, adding that he has seen the transformation of the Old Town from a sleepy laid back village to a crowded market. He remembers hearing stories about the olden times from his grandfather. Pilgrims would come by bullock carts from the railway station and many would stop here for their puja requirements. The double storied sanatorium at the far end of the Bindusagar too had patients from Bengal who would stay here for weeks, imbibing the medicinal mineral waters from the Kedar Gouri spring, and many of them would buy medicine from the Baidya store.

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