Staff Reporter

The ambitious project will promote sports activities

It will be homage to erstwhile ‘Gajapati’ rulers

Rs.10 lakhs sanctioned as an initial move

BERHAMPUR: A ‘Paika Akhada Academy’ has been proposed to be established in Gajapati district in south Orissa to promote the traditional martial arts of the State.

The Gajapati district administration has come up with this ambitious project to promote sports activities in its areas.

This institute is to be established under funds available under Backward Region Grant Fund.

During the recently held district planning meeting which was attended by the State Panchayatiraj and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Raghunath Mohanty it was a point of discussion.

According to sources, as an initial move some Rs.10 lakhs have been sanctioned for the construction of a hall for the Paika Akhada Academy.

This academy would be homage to the erstwhile ‘Gajapati’ rulers of Paralakhemundi who had promoted this form of martial art for centuries.

Matrial arts

‘Paika Akhada’, the traditional martial arts of the State is linked to the ‘Paika’ or Warriors. ‘Paika Akhada’ means the fighting techniques of Paikas.

Due to the Paika warriors the Britishers did not find it easy to win over the ‘Barunei Fort’ at Khurda, which is said to be the last free fort of the country to go to the British.

Many scholars of martial arts compare Paika Akhada to “Kalari Payatu” of Kerala and “Wushu” or “Kungu Fu” of China because of its approach to the traditional weapons and techniques.

This traditional form of martial art is also expected to help in blooming of talents in other related sports like boxing, gymnastics and weight lifting, said Gajapati district Youth BJD president, Pradip Nayak.

According to him there is intrinsic natural talent of martial sport among the tribals living in remote areas of the district.

It may be noted that money has also been set aside for construction of a gymnasium, boxing ring and other accessories to promote young talents in the district.