Development work at the famous Ugra Tara Temple in Saharsa would begin by October 20, tourism minister Sunil Kumar said on Wednesday.
The project at the religious site around 200km north of Patna was announced in the 2007-08 fiscal. But it has been in the limbo for the past four years.
Sunil said: The state government is organising a two-day Ugra Tara Mahotsav from October 17. Chief minister Nitish Kumar will inaugurate it. The festival is a sort of signal for the commencement of the development work.
He added: The work has been kept on hold because of the Pitrapaksha Mela (in Gaya). A sum of Rs 3.34 crore has been sanctioned for the development of the temple.
Rani Padmavati, the daughter-in-law of former Darbhanga maharaja Mahendra Singh, reportedly built the Ugra Tara Shaktipeeth at Mahishi nearly 16km from Saharsa railway station around 250 years ago.
It is one of the three famous Tara (an incarnation of Goddess Kali or Shakti) temples in east India, the others being Tarapeeth at Rampurhaat in Bengal and the Taratarini Temple at Berhampur in Odisha.
Devotees believe that the 3-ft-high statue of Goddess Ugra Tara in the temple was established over the right eye of Sati. On either side of the statue are two other deities Ekjata and Neel Saraswati. A statue of Buddha dating back to the 10th century Pala dynasty was also found in a pond in front of it.
The Telegraph reported in its February 25, 2012, edition that the development at the historic site had been slow. But now, the plan is to speed it up. A source in the tourism department said: The project includes development of a tourist facilitation centre, a small bazaar and cafeteria on the campus. The entrance gate is also supposed to be revamped.
A tourist information and reception centre at Saharsa district headquarter and operation of a 20-seater luxury bus from Saharsa railway station to the temple is also on the cards. The temple structure will not be touched as it is a historical monument but the area around it will be fully developed.
Apart from this, a sum of Rs 1.24 crore has been sanctioned for the development of Babaji ki Kuti, another religious place in the area. It was the ashram of Lakshminath an 18th century religious leader.