OdishaPlus Bureau


Union Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel has agreed to include some of Odisha’s heritage sites in the ‘Iconic Tourism Sites’ list being prepared by the Centre. Addressing the Tourism & Culture Ministers’ Conference at New Delhi, Patel said Odisha should not be deprived of this. The Minister’s announcement comes in the wake of mounting demands by Odisha to place at least two of its important tourist spots/heritage sites in Centre’s “17 Iconic Tourism Sites.” Patel admitted that Konark and Puri are two places which can never be ignored.

However, he said there has been documentary lacunae on the part of Odisha Government for which the two world heritage spots were not listed in the Centre’s “Iconic Tourism Sites’ as announced by the Union Finance Minister during her Union Budget speech this year. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had written a letter to the Centre on July 10 to include at least two important Odisha tourist spots in the list. He had expressed anguish over the omission of important tourist places of Odisha from the Union Government’s list.

BJP MPs from Odisha also urged the Centre to include the Sri Jagannath Temple in Puri and the Konark Sun Temple in the list of ‘Iconic Tourist sites’.”The inclusion of Puri Jagannath Temple and the Konark Sun Temple in the list of India’s Iconic tourist sites will be a moment of great pride for the people of Odisha,” the BJP MPs said in a letter to Union Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel which was released to the media.

The letter was signed by BJP MPs Aparajita Sarangi, Pratap Chandra Sarangi, Nitesh Gangdeb, Sangeeta Singh Deo, Jual Oram, and Aswini Vaishnav. The  MPs in the letter said the matchless mix of heritage and spirituality makes the Jagannath temple in Puri and Sun Temple in Konark truly iconic among the country’s greatest tourist attraction places.

While highlighting the two places, the letter mentioned that in recent years, President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have offered prayers at Sri Jagannath Temple. This apart, they said, Puri is also one for the four ‘dhams’ of Hindus. The MPs sought Patel’s personal intervention for the inclusion of the Jagannath temple and the Sun Temple in the Iconic Tourist Sites Development Project.

Bringing a special mention notice in Rajya Sabha, BJD MP Sasmit Patra had also raised the issue of omission of Odisha from the list of 17 iconic tourism sites to be developed by Union Government as announced in this year’s Union Budget.


“Out of the five prominent tourist sites namely Konark Sun Temple, Chilika Lake, Bhitarkanika National Park, Simlipal National Park, and the Diamond Triangle Buddhist circuit, at least two should be included among the 17 iconic tourist sites to be developed by the Centre from this year,” Patra had demanded.“