Iconic Tourist Sites: Odisha’s Puri and Konark cannot be overlooked, says Union Minister

Bhubaneswar/ New Delhi: Odisha’s Puri Jagannath Temple and Konark Sun Temple will get ‘iconic heritage’ tag and as they assume historical importance, nobody can overlook them, said Union Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of State Tourism Ministers’ Conference held in New Delhi on Tuesday, Patel said, “Puri and Konark are such places which cannot be ignored. There might be some problems due to some paperwork and it will be rectified soon.”

Patel’s statements would allay apprehensions of the people of Odisha as earlier there was a lot of hue and cry after none of the sites in the State found place in the Centre’s list of 17 iconic tourism sites.

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik had written to the Union Tourism Minister seeking the inclusion of at least two important tourist places of the state in the iconic tourism sites list.

“The Konark Sun Temple, Chilika Lake, Bhitarkanika National Park, Similipal National Park and the Buddhist circuit are some of Odisha’s prominent sites. The Sum 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.

“The Minister has assured to include Puri, Konark and Bhitarkanika which were earlier not included in the list of iconic heritage sites,” said Odisha Tourism and Culture Minister, Jyoti Prakash Panigarhi.