By Satish Samant
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had, some days back, already urged upon the union Tourism Minister Prahalad Singh Patel to consider the inclusion of at least two important tourism sites in the list of Iconic Tourism Sites.
What is wrong with the state, one does not know but the neglect is quite visible. Recently, the leaders from Odisha Bharatiya Janata Party also requested the Centre to place Konark and Puri in the list of World Heritage.
The sandy tracts along the 480 km long coastline, the majestic Sun Temple at Konark, the temple of Lord Jagannath in Puri and the fabulous golden sand bed, the breath-taking wildlife sanctuaries like Bhitarkanika, Gahirmatha roockey, Simlipal, Satkosia and the mesmerising sight of the Chilika lake hardly require any further elaboration.
The hills of Koraput, Kandhamal and Keonjhar with their cascading beauties are for all to see. When it drizzles on the hills, the entire landscape of the valleys get bathed in the misty mornings to present a scene that can agitate a poet to write a verse.
On the foothills of Koraput district the sight is full with the cool of the early dawns when the farmers make a beeline into the green paddy fields wearing leaf-made head gears to save themselves from the rains.
Back at the coaslines of Odisha it is always a treat for the eyes to witness the vastness of the Chilika lake where one comes across hundreds of fishing boats of different colour surging through the fogs of early day breaks . As the day proceeds a visitor gets a visual treat of fishes jumping across the boats, occasionally an Irawady dolphin passing through amid the rolling waters.
Mornings and evenings are always special at sea shores of whether Konark or Puri. The transitions are so very different, when the rising sun plays hide and seek behind the clouds before popping up in the pink horizon.
Imagine about a joy ride through the Marine Drive road that connects Puri with Konark. A 30 km long stretch flanked by the Bay of Bengal on one side and the thick casuarina forestry on the other.
It is all about nature and tourism being so linked to the nature can hardly be anywhere else. Yet the State cries for the recognition as heritage sites or Iconic tourism sites.
Satish Samant is a freelance journalist