Sikharchandi hill to become a major tourism hub - Temple circuits in and around the city to be developed at a cost of Rs 8 crore

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 8.05.13
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Bhubaneswar, May 7: The hill near Chandaka Industrial Estate, famous for its deity Sikharchandi, will be converted into a major tourist hub and recreation centre, courtesy the state tourism and the Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation.

The tourism ministry has already accepted a proposal submitted by the Odisha tourism to include Sikharchandi in developing several temple circuits in and around the city.

Around Bhubaneswar, Bahirangeswar near Dhauli, Ananta Basudev temple at Old Town and Sikharchandi at Patia will be developed as the temple circuits for around Rs 8 crore, so that the religious sites will have basic infrastructure such as convenience centre, information kiosks and parking for the tourists.

However, as the land around the Sikharchandi hill belongs to corporation, a delegation consisting of the organisation and officials of the tourism department and the general administration department visited the site last week. After the visit, it was decided that the land would only be used for tourism related activities.

Chairman-cum-managing director of the corporation Vishal Kuar Dev said: “The land surrounding the hill will be converted into a recreational hub and there will be parks with sitting arrangements and enough lighting, so that tourists can come there and enjoy their free time.”

Patia, including KIIT University, Infocity, Chandrasekharpur, Chandaka Industrial Estate, and the areas up to Nandankanan have turned into a major residential zone, but without adequate recreational facilities and parks. The step to convert the Sikharchandi hills into a major tourism and recreational hub will now provide people a better alternative to relax.

Dev, however, said the planning for the recreational facilities would be finished soon and the corporation would start developing the entire zone keeping the religious identity and biodiversity of the hill intact. The project will start this year.

Sociologist Rita Ray, who was a former professor at Utkal University, said: “I have been visiting the Sikharchandi shrine for the past 35 years. When I first went to the hilltop to see the deity, it lay under a tree. Neither was there a shrine, nor a proper road. We had to depend on a trekking trail from the northern side of the hill. The road was perhaps constructed 15 years ago. The plan to develop the shrine as a temple circuit and also recreational zone will help in changing the potential of Sikharchandi Hills.”

Ray said: “Peacocks were seen in large numbers on the Sikharchandi road to the hilltop in the past, but for the past three years they are rarely seen. The urbanisation process surrounding the city might be the reason behind this. There are many rare plant species on the hill and a detailed study should be done to conserve them by the forest department.”