Bhubaneswar: Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has requested 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, Pradhan informed that while the Union Ministry of Tourism and Culture has requested the Odisha government to submit a proposal in this regard, the latter 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’.
It is a ‘Kula Parvata’ along with Malaya, Sahyadri, Parijatra, Shuktiman, Vindhya and Malyavaan.
“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 belived 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,” said Pradhan.
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, he added.
Notably, 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, said the Minister.