People call Odisha the land of temples. From villages to cities, every niche of the state is filled with umpteen temples of different gods and goddesses. People from different parts of the nation (and world) come to Puri, just to pay a visit to the Jagannath Temple (one of the fourdhams of the country). If that’s not the case, then it’s the Puri Sea Beach where the tourists prefer spending their time.
Apart from these two, there is lot more to explore in this state. There is a place called Rangers 14kms from Puri, towards the Konark Temple. Quite hidden from the road and different from the regular sights of Odisha, Rangers is a place close to nature. With the motive of being eco-friendly, this place gives the best possible opportunity to explore the wilder side of life.
Sanjay Samantray, the proud owner of this place, terms himself and the others as Surfing Yogis. He utilises nature’s resource in the best possible way. My first experience at Rangers was on the New Year’s Eve of 2013. While doing my internship, I paid my second visit to Rangers, planning to do a story on Surfing Yogis and Walk on Water (WoW). I was initially clueless what WoW was. While Sanjay was telling everybody about Rangers and how it emerged, all I could do was wonder about WoW.
I met Elena Perez for the first time there. She was a trained instructor of Stand Up Paddling from Spain. She’s a 42 year old lady, who was full of life and happiness. We quickly finished our lunch and headed towards the small rainwater pond opposite to Rangers. The view of this place will mesmerize you instantly.
For a first timer, like me, who loves doing different things and enjoy water, one would simply wish to jump into the water. Elena demonstrated us how to balance ourselves on the board and how to keep the paddle in motion to keep the board and ourselves moving!
I managed to sit on the board and got comfortable in few minutes. I rode the board all around the pond; felt like I was in could 9. I was filled with joy and happiness. Since then, I have been suggesting everybody I come across, to try this marvelous sport.
It is like overcoming your fear and taking a step towards the wilder side of life. Because after you try it, you’d just say “What’s the fun in walking on road, when you can actually Walk On Water!”