Plan to beautify Khandagiri

Monument revamp to attract more tourists

By Bibhuti Barik
  • Published 23.06.15
Scaffoldings put up around the zone in front of Khandagiri and (below) tourists at Udayagiri. Pictures by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar, June 22: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has initiated steps to beautify Khandagiri hills.

The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation and development authority last month removed the encroachments from the area paving the way for its development through landscaping and infrastructure upgrade.

ASI has already put up scaffoldings around the place to ensure that the area remains free from squatters. The organisation's horticulture and engineering wing will chalk out the beautification plan.

A.K. Patel, ASI superintending archaeologist, Bhubaneswar circle, said while the beautification would start shortly, a well-furnished toilet complex and an interpretation centre that would house information about the hills and Jainism would be later constructed at the site after landscaping was done.

Udayagiri, the hill opposite Khandagiri, has already been developed.

"We have been planning this for a long time, but will be able to execute the project now as the encroachment around the hill has been cleared. Once the Khandagiri is beautified, it will attract more tourists," Patel said.

Khandagiri-Udayagiri twin hills are a rich repository of Jain art and architecture with more than 40 beautiful caves. A road passing between them divides the hills. It connects NH-5 with Ghatikia, Kalinga Vihar, Andharua and Chandaka on the city outskirts.

Apart from Khandagiri-Udaygiri hills, there are several other places that still have remains of Jain architecture.

The proposed interpretation centre would impart information to people on prominent Jain monuments in the state.

Sanjib Mohapatra, a tourist from Baripada, said: "The plan to landscape the area near Khandagiri hills will definitely attract more tourists to the monument."

A senior ASI official also said the India Tourism Development Corporation, in association with Odisha Tourism, was planning a light and sound show on the Udayagiri hill. ITDC and the state tourism together will invest Rs 6.6 crore in the project.

The ASI authorities are also hopeful that the road passing through the twin-hills would be closed to traffic one day so that the vibrations generated by them didn't affect the historic monument.

"Once the road is closed, the entire twin-hill complex will be a single area where landscaping will be done and it would be visible from a distance and attract more tourists," said Patel.

The closure of road passing through the twin-hills will not cause any traffic problems as the works department has already developed a circular road around the hills and also a large parking place for tourist vehicles in the foothill of Udayagiri.

A large interpretation centre to promote tourism in Konark-Puri and Bhubaneswar, popular known as golden triangle of tourism, is also being set up here.