11 July 2014

New book on Odisha…



– Journey into the Heart and Soul of Odisha



I am pleased to write  about   a new book recently published on Odisha “ Confluences” by noted philatelist and author,  Anil Dhir . Mr Dhir took up the quest to discover the last geographical boundaries that have been left for man to explore. It was not vast new lands that he was in search of, but confluence points - precise points that are on or near land where lines of longitude and latitude cross and the coordinates are whole numbers. For this, he chose his home state Odisha.This wonderful book is  all about author’s journey to fifteen intriguing destinations of Odisha'. He travels spontaneously off the beaten path and takes risks most people wouldn’t dream of. Each tale is unique yet all are connected by a spiritual thread.

Sometimes back I have written about some more books by Anil Dhir in this blog which were related with philately…but this book is different and very exclusive.  It has two chapters related with philately on postal history.

Confluences  – Journey into the Heart and Soul of Odisha by Anil Dhir  Published by Amadeus Press, Bhubaneshwar Pages 270 – Price - Rs 275


Author’s journey to 15 Confluent points of Odisha

Orissa is a unique combination of beautiful locations, exotic cultures and warm & friendly people.  Located on the eastern coast of India,with a 400 kilometer long coastline, towering mountains, serene lakes and frolicking rivers.

Odisha is a state which can be rightly called a classic land of paradoxes. Rich in history and geography   is  dotted with exquisitely built temples and monuments dating back to ancient and medieval times. The sprawling Chilika Lake, Mangrove forests of Bhitarkanika and marine turtle rookery at Gahirmatha are world’s important sites of natural heritage as recognized by Ramsar Convention.

This book has two interesting philatelic stories ‘ The king’s messenger’ and ‘The Last Post’. Philatelists would love to read these chapters related with postal history along with adventurous stories of different places falling on specific confluence points  which Mr Dhir visited. The narration of the places, surroundings, people, their lifestyle is so interesting and it gives a complete picture of  rural Odisha to the Readers…

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The book is a beautiful travelogue explaining history, culture, traditions, rituals and legends of Odisha. 

The State is also referred to as “The Soul of India”, as it is considered as a mystical land where the past and the modern today form a harmonious blend. It is often said that the State has everything under the sky, opulent forest and agricultural wealth, mineral reserves and a divine coastline. The state is a treasure trove of minerals and natural resources. The other face is of a land of acute and chronic poverty for the bulk of its population.The book closed the gap between the two faces to a great extent. 

Some thrilling moments of the author's journey from the book…

“ We were chased by an elephant at Raijharan (21N 85 E), nearly bitten by a king Cobra at Sukinda (21N 86E) Stepped on a sleeping python at Talari (20N 84 E) , and taken hostage by Maoists at Maligam (19N 83 E). a porcupine shot its quills at me in Kottsamalai (24N84E) We nearly drowned when our boat capsized in the Tel river and Nandul (20N83E).

At Talari we discovered a pre historic rock shelter with art on the walls. I found a cache of Stone Age tools inside a cave. I picked up a two carat diamond from  the sands in the Ib river at Kainsara (22N 84E), a few kilometers upstream from Hirakud dam. At Sonepur we got ourselves fistfuls of semi precious stones and at Sunari posi in Keonjhar we joined Jhara tribesmen in panning for gold in the nearby streams.”

The book is full of many more interesting events that happened during the long  journey of the author…


The author wades in knee-deep water with his  GPS device to arrive at a confluence point – Maligam 19°N 83°E – in the middle of Murani River in Odisha

This book is an extraordinary travelogue which combines history,culture, myth, legends traditions, rituals and  concerns explained in 27  chapters. Each chapter has its own story  full of thrill and adventurous description .

The book is written in such a way that it continuously creates curiosity and  fascination  till the end of the book.

Even for readers who do not like history and geography subjects , the writer has written with such affection and humor that the topic becomes fascinating to one and all. The stories, given after each of his Confluence visit reports are an eclectic mix, highlighting the little known aspects of the State. The general reader would be aware of Odisha as the land of the Sun Temple and the Lord’s abode at Puri, but this is one book which showcases the state as never done before. It is definitely a journey into the heart and soul of Odisha. If one has to readjust a single book to know Odisha, this is the one.

All different chapters in the book are first hand experiences of the places , Mr Dhir visited and people he met during his hunts for  the confluences. He travelled nearly 21,000 km visiting  every district of Odisha. The chapters in the book  are varied, ranging from the crumbling Sun Temple of Konark, an old forgotten cemetery, a maverick  Tonga puller, a large hearted Naxalite, a dying river, lakk-foraging buffaloes, an environmental hotspot and the penury of Odisha’s starving poor. By going through this book the readers will  definitely get a new picture of Odisha with its rich past,  present and a glimpse of the future of Odisha.

I strongly recommend the book to all those who love adventure and travelling as well as to the  students of geography and  history and to all those people who love to know about various hidden and unexplored  places . The book is an asset to the library of all educational and cultural  institutions .

The author’s cartographic journey, hunting for Confluences, takes one on a roller coaster ride all over the State . One can explore Odisha through this magnificent book and know more about this beautiful state. Let’s join the journey of 15 unexplored confluences of Odisha through this wonderful book .

The book is available for  Rs 200/-  post free instead of  published price of Rs 275  for the readers of Rainbow Stamp Club. Interested readers may contact :

Anil Dhir, 112 Vaishno Villa Satya Nagar, Bhubaneshwar – 751007. email : anildhir2k5@hotmail.com



Anil Dhir is a well known name in philatelic community. He is not only a renowned philatelist but also a noted writer from Bhubaneshwar, Odisha. He has written articles and books on various subjects . He has, over the years, traveled extensively all over India, mostly off the beaten track. He has worked among the Juang and Kondh tribals of Odisha, with Indian National Army veterans.His other interests include flying, film making, collecting stamps  old books and manuscripts, Indian temple art and architecture. He has directed and produced an award winning documentary titled “ The Last Post”.

His books on philately are quite popular among philatelists.His recent book ‘ Confluences’ is a travelogue based on his experiences and observations of  extensive journey  to the unexplored places of Odisha.

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