Dhenkanal: Even as Dhenkanal district is enormously rich in natural scenic beauty that attracted tourists round the year, several tourist places in the district like Kapilas, Joranda and Saptasajya await development, a report said.
The three tourist destinations – Kapilas being the most revered Shaiva Peetha, Joranda being the land of origin of Mahima Dharma and Saptasajya being the treasure-trove of luster green forests, hills and temples – attract a majority of tourists to the district.
According to sources, the district has ample potential for eco-tourism. Footfalls on tourist destinations in Dhenkanal have not been accelerated over past several years. Despite having such richness, precious little has been done by the district administration for their development.
Development of Kapilas Shaiva Peetha is directly under the control of the State Archaeology Department. However, the district administration is unable to spend a single pie here lest it may create legal complications. It confines itself to carrying out minimal development works only during festive seasons.
Similarly, Joranda shrine faces administrative neglect for past several years. It does not have basic infrastructure facilities like drinking water, lighting, road connectivity and rest sheds for tourists.
Likewise, limited development work has been carried out so far by the panchayat administration at Saptasajya. It is said that, the State Tourism Department has not prepared any road map for its development. As a result scores of tourists coming here carry a bitter experience. Of late, the state government has chalked out special plans for beautification of several temples as well as tourist destinations closing eyes to these three tourist destinations.
Notably, the loftiest peak of Kapilas range enshrines the temple of Chandrasekhar at a height of about 457 meters. The place is identified with Kailash Parvat, the legendary abode of Lord Shiva. A flight of 1,351 steps and a ghat road lead to the temple. The hill has several caves and ruins of mediaeval fort regularly visited by pilgrims.
Famous Joranda shrine houses the samadhi of Mahima Gosain, the preacher and propounder of Mahima cult. The other sacred temples here include Sunya Mandira, Dhuni Mandira and Gadi Mandira. Pilgrims in large numbers pour into Joranda fair for celebrations.
According to legends, Pandavas spent some days of their incognito living in the remote hills of Saptasajya. The temple of Raghunath attracts a large number of crowds every year on the day of Rama Navami. A small rivulet flowing down here in close vicinity enhances its beauty. It is an ideal place for picnicking and relaxation.
People in general and intelligentsia of Dhenkanal district have demanded immediate development of potential hotspots here to attract more tourists, which could contribute to the district’s economy.