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Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: The government of India has included Konark Sun Temple in the Iconic Tourist Sites list, informed Union Tourism Minister, Prahlad Singh Patel on Tuesday.

While replying to a supplementary question by BJD MP Sasmit Patra in Rajya Sabha, Singh informed that as the Iconic Tourist Sites list in the country has been expanded from 17 to 19, Konark Sun Temple has been included in the revised list.

Earlier in his question, Patra wanted to know when Odisha would be included among the Iconic Sites of India.

Also Read: Were Murals At Konark Sun Temple Replaced With Plain Stones? ASI Responds

Responding to Patra, Patel said, "The member may not be aware that yesterday during the discussion on Tourism Ministry in Lok Sabha, I had mentioned that besides 17 sites, Gujarat and Konark would also be developed as iconic tourist sites."

The minister said a decision to develop Konark as an iconic tourist place was taken after he received representations from the Odisha Chief Minister, the Union Petroleum Minister and other delegations.

 

It is pertinent to mention here that exclusion of Konark in the list of Iconic Sites announced by Ministry of Tourism last year had sparked widespread resentment among people in Odisha. The Centre had sanctioned Rs 5,000 crore for the development of these sites across India.

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik had also written to the Union Tourism Minister seeking inclusion of at least two important tourist places of the State among the Iconic Tourism Sites which were declared last year.

In his letter, Patnaik had highlighted that Konark Sun Temple, Chilika Lake, Bhitarkanika National Park, Similipal National Park and the Buddhist circuit are some of Odisha’s prominent sites.

“The Sun Temple was awarded the UNESCO World Heritage status in 1984. The pristine Chandrabhaga beach near Konark Temple is among India’s best beaches shortlisted for Blue Flag Certification. It makes the destination the most exotic synthesis of the contemporary luxury, traditional heritage and adventure tourism,” Patnaik had written in his letter.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs from Odisha and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had also requested Union Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel to include the Jagannath Temple in Puri and Sun Temple in Konark in the list of India’s Iconic Tourist Sites.

Also Read: Union Min Prahlad Singh Patel To Discuss Konark Temple Conservation Issue With ASI

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