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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Keonjhar: There are a lot of destinations in Odisha which are still untouched and can play a crucial role in boosting State's economy through tourism. The twin-waterfalls of Mahadev Munda and Jatiajhara in Keonjhar district are indeed a real treat for eyes and a paradise for the tourists.

Located in the tribal dominated Banspal block of Keonjhar district, the scenic beauty along the backdrop of natural greenery and mesmerising waterfalls provide the right ambience for tourists as well as nature lovers.

Phulari Nala making its way through Champajhara village heads down to the Mahadev Munda Hill bifurcating into two streams which then dives down several feet below creating a spectre that a very few can ignore.

As the legend goes, the hill top of Mahadev Munda has its name derived after a Shivlinga emerged on the hill. Usually, the place witnesses a large turnout of local tribals during annual Makar Mela.

Pranabandhu Padhan, a local of Phulajhara village says, “The waterfall is like Ganga rolling down from Lord Shiva’s ‘Jata’. There are a lot of Shiv Lings near the waterfall as well as on the hill top. That’s why it was named as Mahadev Munda, or the head of Lord Shiva.”

However, the locals rue that poor communication and infrastructure is creating problems for the tourists. They allege that such a beautiful tourist attraction doesn’t see much footfall during the picnic season only due to absence of proper road connectivity and other basic infrastructure and amenities in the area.

Local residents further complain that the place is not being developed as it’s located in a backward tribal area.

The only road connecting Mahadev Munda starts from Banspal to Champajhara village, from where the tourists have to undertake a trek on foot for a kilometre through the woods to reach the foothills of Mahadev Munda.

The Sarpanch of Tarmaka Gram Panchayat, Parshuram Nayak said, “An all-weather road is necessary for the tourists to visit this place in large numbers. A temple for Lord Shiva on the hill top would also add to the attraction of the tourist place.”

Nayak further said that the villagers will try to construct a road from their own resources.

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