Govt gears up for mega festival

Facilities plan for Nabakalebar tourists

By Bibhuti Barik in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 2.03.15
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 Jagannath Ballav mutt in Puri. 

Bhubaneswar, March 1: The state tourism department has announced accommodation facilities for tourists, who are expected to visit Puri in large numbers for the upcoming Nabakalebar.

The department has asked the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) to develop an inventory in this regard and ensure that the tourists feel comfortable during their stay in Puri.

Addressing a news conference, tourism minister Ashok Chandra Panda said: "There will be lodging facilities for the tourists under the bed and breakfast scheme. All details would be available on the OTDC website, so that people coming from other states and regions of Odisha face no trouble."

Panda also announced a special tour package by the OTDC to facilitate participation in various rituals that are an intrinsic part of Nabakalebar. Special tour packages will include trips to Banayaga yatra, debasnana purnima, Alarnath dasrshan, nabajaubana darshan, rath yatra, sandhya darshan, bahuda yatra and suna vesha. The packages will range between Rs 999 per head for a single-day tour to Rs 7,777 involving a 3-day/3-night tour of nabajaubana darshan and rath yatra.

Bookings can be done through visitorissa.org, OTDC Panthanivas, regional tourist offices, transport unit in Bhubaneswar and central reservation centre at the OTDC head office.

Tourism secretary Arabinda Padhee said the department had taken initiatives to develop basic infrastructure and other facilities in religious institutions associated with Nabakalebar. "It is busy carrying out development works to the tune of Rs 50 crore for the festival. Under the initiative, the development of Jagannath Ballav math, Ramchandi, Deuli math, Satalaudi math and Alarnath temple are in progress," he said.

The Deuli mutt in Kakatpur Pictures by Sarat Patra

Deuli and Jagannath Ballabh maths and Ramachandi are associated with the rituals of Nabakalebar. Priests embark on their march to get the holy tree (from which the new deities will be made), after staying at the Jagannath Ballabh math. Development of open pandals, gardens, landscaping and parking spaces will be added in the religious institutions that are associated with the festival. Development of infrastructure near Ramachandi will also help in promoting tourism.

To encourage faster execution of work, the tourism secretary said contractors engaged by the OTDC would be given incentive-based rewards.

The tourism secretary also said an innovative scheme titled Jajabara would have roadside facilities with food courts, family refreshment and washrooms, parking spots and souvenir shops. Such centres are under construction in Bhadrak, Banrapal, Pipili and Patanaikia.

"During Nabakalebar, policing will also get a makeover with a special dress code, for which we are already in touch with the director of the National Institute of Fashion Technology. The tourism cells will function in vital destinations in and around Puri," said Padhee.

More than three million devotees are expected to visit the Puri during Nabakalebar this year.