Konark Temple Included In Iconic Tourism Sites
Prahlad Singh Patel, the union tourism minister, informed the Rajya Sabha that the world-famous Sun Temple at Konark has been included in the Centre’s list of iconic tourism sites. This initiative by the central government was launched to develop the best tourist hotspots of India into world-class destinations.
Last year, the Ministry of Tourism had identified 17 sites in 12 clusters in the country for development including Taj Mahal & Fatehpur Sikri (Uttar Pradesh), Ajanta & Ellora (Maharashtra), Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort & Qutub Minar (Delhi), Colva (Goa), Amer Fort (Rajasthan), Somnath & Dholavira (Gujarat), Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh), Hampi (Karnataka), Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu), Kaziranga (Assam), Kumarakom (Kerala) and Mahabodhi Temple (Bihar).
The announcement of Konark’s inclusion into the list came in the form of a reply to a supplementary question raised by BJD MP Sasmit Patra in the Rajya Sabha. Further, Singh informed that the list has been expanded from 17 to 19.
“The number has been increased to 19. I had received a letter from the Chief Minister of Odisha and union petroleum minister to include Konark in the list of iconic sites. Several delegates also met me regarding this. So, Konark is on the list,” Patel said.
Constant pressure and requests made by Odisha’s MP Achyuta Samanta, Sasmit Patra, Pinaki Mishra and letters written by CM Naveen Patnaik became the catalyst for this decision. Historically significant, the Konark Sun Temple was built in the 13th century CE by King Narasimhadeva I. The Sun Temple was awarded the UNESCO World Heritage status in 1984.