BARIPADA: Endowed with a pristine natural waterfall and situated inside the Similipal National Park, Devkund is an ideal tourist destination in the State. But it is yet to be developed in terms of infrastructure and civic amenities. As a result, only a few hundred tourists from the State visit the place to enjoy the waterfall every year while it remains unknown to visitors from outside Odisha.
Devkund was once a hunting site for kings of Mayurbhanj and temple of Goddess Ambika was built near the waterfall in 1940. The place is located in dense forest and there is no restriction for the tourists to go there.
The waterfall is nearly 75 km from Baripada and 87 km from Balasore. The last five km trail is through a dense forest surrounded by hills.
However, owing to lack of basic facilities and publicity, tourism potential of the place has remained untapped. It has been reduced to being a picnic spot for domestic visitors.
Although the district forest officials have formed Similipal Eco-tourism Development Society (SEDC) to develop the area, nothing tangible has been done yet.
Deputy Director of Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) Ajit Kumar Satpathy said the place is surrounded by mountains and presence of a waterfall makes it an idyllic tourist spot. “If it is developed as a tourist destination, it will create employment opportunity for many and the socio-economic condition of people in the area will get a major boost,” he said.
Baripada DFO Sanjay Kumar Swain said a plan has been made to develop the area as a tourist spot. “For that we need to have better communication, safe drinking water, toilet, sanitation facilities and give a heritage look to the spot for which, the State Government has sanctioned `30 lakh this year,” he said.
According to Swain, 68,544 tourists visited Devkund last year. The money from the visitors’ fees will be spent in coming years for development of the spot, he added.