BALASORE: In a bid to boost eco-tourism aspect of Devkund in Mayurbhanj district, the district administration, in collaboration with the Forest Department, has developed a variety of facilities at the spot which were inaugurated on Sunday.
Devkund (the bathtub of Gods and Goddesses), is the only tourist place located in the dense forest of Similipal where there is no restriction on consumption of non-vegetarian food.
A waterfall and temple of Maa Ambika on the hill top attract tourists from far-off places. Last year, the footfall to the place was recorded at 68,544.
Collector Rajesh Pravakar Patil said Devkund Eco Development Committee (DEDC) has been formed for overall management while Indian Grameen Services (IGS), a national level organisation, has been roped in as a facilitator for capacity building of the people engaged for providing services to tourists.
“In the next phase, we would make arrangement for night stay of the tourists, build a children’s park and introduce cart riding for a pollution-free environment,” he added.
The newly developed eco-tourism project has facilities for safe drinking water and toilets while 30 separate places, each having two earthen stoves and one dustbin, have been earmarked for day picnickers.
Three souvenir shops have also been built where information brochures, non-vegetarian food and snacks will be available. The mouth watering ‘mudhi-mansa (puffed rice-mutton) and other local delicacies will also be available.
Stating that the project added a new chapter in the tourism map, Baripada DFO Sanjay Kumar Swain said plying of battery-operated rickshaws from Budhamara entry point to Devi temple will be introduced from December 27.
While DEDC has decided to collect an entry fee of Rs five from each tourist, the tourists will be charged Rs20, Rs50 and Rs100 for digital, SLR and video camera respectively. Day picnickers have to pay Rs300 for each earmarked platform.
Head (Natural Resource based Livelihood Programme), IGS, Sanjib Sarangi said the fee collected would help in managing and maintaining the project.
Devkund was once the hunting place of kings of Mayurbhanj and the temple was built in 1940.