Cassian Baliarsingh

Gandhamardan Hill range, which is called the ayurvedic paradise of Odisha, has been accorded the ‘biodiversity heritage site’ tag. The Forest, Environment and Climate Change department declared the hill system spread over both Bargarh and Bolangir districts as a biodiversity heritage site.

The treasure trove of medicinal plants, Gandhamardan is home to 1,200 species of plants and 500 species of animals with hundreds of types of trees, shrubs, herbs, and species of medicinal plants. The tag will help in the long-term protection, conservation, and management of the species that are tagged as threatened and endemic.

This is the third such hill after Mahendragiri Hills in Gajapati and Mandasaru Hills in Kandhamal district to get the biodiversity heritage site tag. 

A notification issued by the state forest and environment department said that status was accorded as per section 37 of the Biodiversity Act and Rule 20(2) of the Odisha Biodiversity Rules, 2012.

Apart from being known as the hub of medicinal plants, the hill also has two historical monuments, the Nrusinghanath Temple on the northern slope and the Harishankar Temple on the southern slope.

Hundreds of devotees visit both temples which play a major role in protecting the immense cultural significance of the area. Now that Gandhamardan has been declared as BHS, more tourists are expected to come to the temples and steps would be taken to protect the flora and fauna in the hills.

(Reported by Kapilendra Pradhan, OTV)