In a major development, which will further attract tourists into the coastal state of Odisha, the State Government’s Tourism Department has recently signed a MoU with the Central government-run Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) for introduction of light and sound show at three major heritage sites in the state- the twin hills of Khandagiri and Udayagiri, the Pagoda at Dhauli and the Konark Sun Temple. The MoU was signed by senior officials of both the sides in the presence of the state chief minister, Naveen Patnaik and Ashok Chandra Panda, the state tourism and culture minister, GC Pati, the state chief secretary and other senior officials of the State Government. The project is likely to be commissioned by July 2015.
Patnaik said, “All these three heritage sites of our state represent a confluence of faiths- Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism. I complement the tourism department for making this project happen. This project has the potential to attract more tourists.”
The Union Government has sanctioned INR five crore each for the three sites while a total of nearly INR19 crore will be spent on the projects. The rest of the project cost will be funded by the State Government, official sources said.
The project will use state-of-the-art technology to highlight the legends and stories. Each sound and light show would be played for at least 30 minutes. The show at Khandagiri and Udaygiri caves will highlight emperor Kharavela’s rule, at Dhauli the story will be on the Kalinga War near the Dhauli Hill and its aftermath and at Konark, the feat of Bishu Maharana’s son Dharmapada will be featured.
Trinath Behera, director (finance), ITDC, said, “Sound and light shows at various historic places across the country played a vital role in attracting tourists, especially after sunset. ITDC will take charge of the maintenance of the show for the next five years.”
Behera said, “Efforts are on to rope in noted personalities like Javed Akhtar, Om Puri, Suresh Oberoi and Naseeruddin Shah to give a ‘voice-over’ for the show.”
A similar kind of sound and light was started at the Khandagiri and Udaygiri hills in 2005 but was discontinued midway because of the objections raised by Archeological Survey of India (ASI) following damages to the heritage sites.