Bhubaneswar: Union Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan urged Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to submit a proposal for the development of Mahendragiri under Ramayana Circuit of Centre’s Swadesh Darshan Scheme.
In a letter dated September 4, 2020, he said that the Ministry of Tourism and Culture has requested the Government of Odisha to submit a proposal in this regard. However, the State Government is yet to respond to it.
Mahendragiri, situated among the Eastern Ghats at an elevation of 1501 metre in Gajapati district, is associated with the Hindu epic ‘Ramayana’ as the ‘Mahendra Parvata’ (Mahendra Mountain). It is a ‘Kula Parvata’ along with Malaya, Sahyadri, Parijatra, Shuktiman, Vindhya and Malyavaan — the holy mountains mentioned in Hindu mythology.
Describing significance of the Mahendragiri hill, which is the second highest peak in Odisha, in mythology, Pradhan wrote, “In Puranas and Ramayana, it is said that Parashurama was meditating on Mahendragiri when Lord Ram broke the sacred bow of Lord Shiva. Legend says that Parashurama stays at Mahendragiri eternally and performs tapasya. Mahendragiri is home to temples believed to have been built by the Pandavas in which the festival of Shivratri is celebrated with great fervour, drawing devotees from across Odisha and other states.”
He said that the Ministry of Tourism & Culture has identified various sites in Odisha for development of tourism under Swadesh Darshan Scheme. While Mahendragiri has been selected under Ramayana Circuit, Puri under Krishna Circuit and Gopalpur, Barkul, Satapada and Tampara will be part of Coastal Circuit.
The Centre has already sanctioned an amount of Rs 70.82 crore for development of Gopalpur, Barkul, Satapada and Tampara under Coastal Circuit of Swadesh Darshan Scheme in 2016-17.
The minister said that Mahendragiri has huge potential for development of socio-cultural tourism owing to its religious significance. The tourism development at the site will create many jobs in the region and drive economic development for people.
In view of immense potential for development of tourism at Mahendragiri, Pradhan appealed to CM Patnaik for his personal intervention in extending support to the Ministry of Tourism & Culture and direct the concerned department to submit the proposal for development of the hill under Ramayana Circuit.
It is to be mentioned that the Ministry of Tourism & Culture has identified 15 destinations including Mahendragiri for development under Ramayana Circuit. Other sites included, Ayodhya, Nandigram, Shringverpur and Chitrakoot (Uttar Pradesh), Sitamarhi, Buxar and Darbhanga (Bihar), Chitrakoot (Madhya Pradesh), Jagdalpur (Chhattisgarh), Nashik and Nagpur (Maharashtra), Bhadrachalam (Telangana), Hampi (Karnataka) and Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu).