Public convenience facilities to be set up near famous temples

Berhampur: To attract more visitors, the Odisha government will set up public convenience centres and make available several other facilities at three famous temples in Ganjam district at a cost of Rs 2.30 crore.

Infrastructural developments like installation of water supply system and upgrading road network will be carried out at Sankulai Temple at Antarapasa (at a cost of Rs 75.73 lakh), Panchanana Temple in Sorada (Rs 62 lakh), and Khunteswari Temple on the Sorada hilltop (Rs 91.30 lakh).

Hilltop development and construction of ‘view-points’ are also planned at the picturesque Khunteswari hill near Sorada reservoir, official sources said.

“With the infrastructure boost, we hope more visitors and devotees will visit these places,” said Odisha’s Tourism and Culture Minister Ashok Chandra Panda, who laid the foundation of these projects yesterday.

“There is no dearth of funds for development of scenic places to attract tourists,” he said. The department has provided funds for development of Biranchi Narayan Temple in Buguda, and Singhasani and Marda temples near Polasara, besides several other tourism projects in the district.

Polasara MLA Srikanta Sahu urged the minister to declare Marda a tourist spot.

At present, people throng the spot for research purposes and picnicking. But tourists from far-off places will visit it only when its historical significance and connection with Puri deities are highlighted, said Ashok Nayak, a resident.

The Marda temple, a fine example of marvellous Kalinga architecture, served as a safe hideout for deities of Puri Jagannath temple when it came under attack during 1733-1735 AD. The place is known as Saran Srikhetra.

The temple remained empty when deities of Puri returned to their abode after normalcy returned. Since then there has been no deity in the temple and Rath Yatra was never observed here.