Archive for the 'Puri' Category

Multiple funding sources to help further develop various tourist attractions and infrastructure in the coastal areas

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Following is from a report in Telegraph.

The capital will soon have a mega-tourist circuit for which the Centre has sanctioned Rs 8.14 crore.

The proposed tourist circuit envisages, among others things, renovation of two major roads in Old Town area, construction of a ‘parikrama’ around Lingaraj temple, soft-lighting for eight protected monuments and two tourism interpretation centres.

While the tourism department is trying to revive Ekamreswar, the miniature temple of Lord Lingaraj near Lingaraj police station, a dedicated road corridor will be constructed to link Puri, the Old Town area and Khandagiri via Dhauli.

Moreover, a 3,000-seater amphitheatre will be constructed opposite Madhusudan Park at Pokhariput.

… Samal spoke to reporters after the heritage walk, which was held today as part of World Tourism Day function.

The circuit will aim at facilitating various cultures as the city is perhaps the only one place in the region where three major religions — Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism — have their presence and the Daya riverbed is linked to the transformation of Emperor Ashok from Chandashok to Dharmashok.

… While the mega circuit will be part of the development of the ambitious Bhubaneswar-Puri-Chilika tourism sector, the Old Town area of the city will have a 40-feet road near the temple connecting Kotitirtheswar Lane and a proposed three-acre parking site.

Later, the same road will be extended up to Kedar Gouri temple. These two roads, in turn, will provide a better corridor so that tourist vehicles can pass through the areas smoothly. Similarly, a ‘parikrama’ or circular road will be planned around the Lingaraj temple.

“Apart from providing better connectivity to the Old Town area, the side walls of various buildings and structures will be decorated with tiles of red laterite stones. The concept has already been adopted in various western cities and states such as Rajasthan. …

The mega circuit will also emphasise on infrastructure development to connect various sites of Buddhist and Jain religious interests. Other than central assistance, there is also a plan to develop a road connecting Gangua nullah (through its right embankment) to the historical Kapileswar village. Another road will link Ganesh Ghat near Dhauli Peace Pagoda with the Jatni Kapilaprasad Road.

According to the pre-feasibility report, the state government will spend more than Rs 30 crore on the two proposed roads.

“These two roads will connect Dhauli with Khandagiri and the travellers and tour operators need not take the longer Cuttack-Puri Road via Rasulgarh to reach the historical Jain sites. Even nature lovers visiting places such as Deras in Chandaka or Nandankanan Zoological Park can take this road in future,’’ said the MLA.

“The state government has also asked the Bhubaneswar Development Authority to construct an amphitheatre opposite Madhusudan Park in Pokhariput. This will resemble the amphitheatre at the Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya near Rabindra Mandap,’’ he said.

Sources at the public works department said: “There is a plan to construct a flyover over the railway level crossing at Pokhariput for Rs 42 crore. While the state government will share Rs 22 crore, the rest will come from the railways. Once the flyover is commissioned, the road from Dhauli to Khandagiri will become a vital link to various religious centre.’’

Under the mega tourism circuit, temples such as Lingaraj, Rajarani, Mukteswar, Rameswar, Parsurameswar, Lakshmaneswar, Bharateswar and Satrughneswar will be illuminated with light emitting diode based ‘dynamic lighting system’ for which Rs 3.98 crore will be utilised. The project will be executed by the Orissa Tourism Development Corporation.

Hinting at the development of two interpretation centres near the Lingaraj temple, Samal said: “While one will be constructed on the premises of Sibatirtha Mutt, the other one will come up near the employees’ colony.’’

On the proposed tourist interpretation centre near Khandagiri-Udaygiri caves, he said the project would be completed within two or three months time.

Following is from a report in Business Standard.

The Orissa government has decided to promote heritage tourism at eight locations along the coast line with an investment of Rs 7.41 crore in the next five years.

Based on archeological, architectural, sculptural and historical importance, the selected structures, identified by the state archeology department, would be taken up under the World Bank funded Rs 227.64-crore Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project.

… The structures identified to get a face lift under the scheme included Potagarh (Buried Fort), located on the bank of river Rushikulya in Ganjam town which stands as a mute witness to the vicissitudes of history in Orissa.

Apart from historic Potagarh, the British Cemetery near Ganjam town, Bhaba Kundaleswar temple of Manikapatna, Baliharichandi temple near Puri, Hariharadeva temple, Nairi, Bateswara temple, Kantiagada (Ganjam), Jagannath temple, Pentha and Jamboo Colonial Building, Kendrapara will be refurbished under the scheme.

Preservation of ancient monuments under the project will include their protection, structural conservation, chemical conservation, landscaping and maintainance from time to time.

… The officials of the Gujarat and West Bengal projects along with a World Bank team visited various places including Ganjam and Kendrapada districts in the state recently to review the implementation of the project. Project Director of ICZM (Orissa) AK Pattnaik briefed the team about various steps taken under the project and their progress. The scheme, whose tenure spans from 2010 to 2015, is being implemented in two coastal stretches: Paradeep to Dhamara and Gopalpur to Chilika.

IDCO hands over 972 acres to OTDC for the Shamuka beach project

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Following is an excerpt from a report in Business Standard.

The Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation of Orissa (Idco) has handed over 972 acres of land to the Orissa Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) for the Rs 3,500-crore Shamuka tourism project.

This was the land acquisition for the big-ticket project, to be set up over 3,000 acres near Sipasarubali, about 10 km south of Puri district.

… Till now, 11 professional consultancies have applied for the job. After the study report is prepared, the mode of implementation of the project will be decided. The options to implement the project are either through PPP (public-private participation) or joint venture, or forming a special purpose vehicle, sources said.

… The model plan for the project is ready. It has been prepared by the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology.

The state government had lined up an investment of Rs 120 crore for developing external infrastructure facilities like water supply, electricity and roads for the project.

Fabulous sand animation by a group from Puri in India’s Got Talent Khoj 2 (Season 2)

Odisha artists, Puri 1 Comment »

Update: They did a fabulous job in the finals on the theme of “Hindu Muslim Sikh Isai, Aapas Me sab bhai-bhai” and got 27 points from the judges; 9 from each of the three judges. But they did not win. (The winners got 28 points from the judges: 9+9+10.)

Wild card round that got them to the final on Taj Mahal (25th September):

Semifinal on Mumbai Terrorist Attack(18th September):

Quarterfinal on something dark (28th August):

Initial round on Global Warming (21st August):

Dhanya se Bada danda: From Samaja

Circuit: Bhubaneswar-Chilika-Puri, Lord Jagannath, Puri, Puri Comments Off on Dhanya se Bada danda: From Samaja

Line drawing of the Puri Rath Yatra in 1818 conserved at the British Library: Dharitri

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Update on the Shamuka beach project near Puri in Odisha

Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Business Standard, Puri, Puri, Shamuka Beach project, Sites in and around Bhubaneswar 1 Comment »

Following is an excerpt from a report in Business Standard.

The state government, which acquired around 970 acres of land in the first phase for the Rs 3500-crore project, has now set in motion the process to acquire 626 acres of land for the project in the second phase.

The second phase land acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of 2010. The Shamuka tourism project needs 2500-3000 acres of land in all.

The project is being developed near Sipasarubali, about 10 km south of Puri on the public-private partnership (PPP) mode.

…  After the second phase land acquisition, the Orissa Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) will invite fresh bids for the project. This has been necessitated as the initial attempt to invite bids for the project received lukewarm response last year.

It may be noted that only three hotel chains had participated in the earlier bidding process for developing the four five star hotels on 100 acres of land. …

The state government had engaged global consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to incorporate some new provisions in the bid document for the Shamuka tourism project so as to make it investor friendly.

… The state government is investing Rs 50-70 crore on providing external infrastructure like electricity and water supply for the five-star hotel properties. Apart from the four five star hotels, the Shmauka tourism project would have facilities like a convention centre of international standards with a seating capacity of nearly 1,500, an 18-hole golf course, boutique hotels, international spa and wellness centres, an entertainment zone and sports facilities.

Sanghamitra Jena, founder of Eastern Treasure India Tours, brings Orissa to the world

Bhitarakanika, Chandaka, Chilika, Circuit: Bhubaneswar-Chilika-Puri, Ecotourism, Gopalpur-on-Sea, National Parks and Sanctuaries, Odisha personalities, Puri, Raghurajpur, Similpal, Tour Operators, Tourist promotion, Village Tourism, Wild life 4 Comments »

Following are excerpts from a beautiful Forbes India piece by Mindtree CEO Subroto Bagchi.

… it is called Dangamal.

This is a tiny village bordering 672 sq. km. of luxuriant mangroves that are home to the giant Indian saltwater crocodiles. It is an unbelievably beautiful and relatively un-spoilt place. There is the usual forest rest house here, but for the real enthusiast, there is tented accommodation of commendable quality run by a first generation woman entrepreneur named Sanghamitra Jena. I am here to see her.

… After some years, when we came back to Bhubaneswar, I contacted the government-run tourist office to check if they ran courses for would-be tour guides. There was a three-month course coming up and I signed up after paying a fee of Rs. 200.

… But how did you end up becoming an entrepreneur?” I ask. “It was a story of adversity,” she says. “After many years in the same organisation, I had to leave because of disagreements with a new supervisor. For a moment, I was at the crossroads. To my surprise and delight, it led to a flood of offers from other tour operators who had known my work. Seeing that, I told myself that these people are reaching out to me because they have confidence that I could bring them business. So why wasn’t I doing it for myself?

“I had a saving of just Rs. 40,000. I bought a laptop and started sending mails to people I knew from a cyber-café. Eastern Treasure India Tours was born. Clients started coming, I took them on my off-the-beaten track tours to not just places in Orissa but also Pelling, Gangtok and Kaziranga. Word spread. Business grew. Then one day, I felt I should have a product that enables the nature-lover to enjoy a place like the mangroves of Dangamal by living in a completely rural setting. So, I came to this village and I leased a plot of land for five years. I started a high-quality, tented accommodation, complete with Western-style toilets and clean food in a completely rural surrounding. I built a make-do Web site so people could check out the options and pay online.”

… I am not in Mumbai or Bangalore. This is Orissa. This is not a land of enterprise. For girls, there is a cul-de-sac called marriage. Yet, here is Sanghamitra who has built a business in the middle of nowhere.
Before we leave for the creeks to see the giant crocs basking under the mangroves, I ask her the size of her business this year.

She is bashful for a moment. Then she replies, “I will touch a crore this year”.

Tathya.in also has a nice article on her at http://www.tathya.in/2009/story.asp?sno=3724.

Links:

Kamat Hotels India Ltd (KHIL) redeveloping properties in Puri, Konark and Chilika

Bhubaneswar-Puri, Chilika, Circuit: Bhubaneswar-Chilika-Puri, Food joints, Hotels and resorts, Khordha, Konark, Puri, Puri, Sites in and around Bhubaneswar 1 Comment »

Following is an excerpt from a report in hospitalitybizindia.com.

Kamat Hotels India Ltd (KHIL) which owns and operates hotels brands like The Orchid, VITS, Lotus Resorts and Gadh Hotels … has acquired the heritage palace ‘Mahodadhi Niwas’ in Puri and also the Eco Resort at Ramchandi, near the Sun Temple in Konark, in addition to the Parikud Palace and Rambha Palace, which are located near the Chilka Lake.

Of the three heritage properties acquired by KHIL, Mahodadhi Niwas opened for business on November 28, 2009. In the first phase, Mahodadhi offers 12 rooms and an additional 60 are expected to be developed over the next phase. KHIL is presently involved in restoring Parikud and Rambha Palaces, which will be commissioned in a phased manner in 2010.

… KHIL intends to strengthen the portfolio of its heritage brand – ‘Gadh Hotels’ in the state. We have already acquired three palaces from OTDC on a long-term lease and their restoration work is currently in progress.” As a part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity, KHIL has also undertaken cleaning and conservation task of Chilka Lake.

KHIL’s F&B arm Kamat Restaurants Pvt Ltd (KRPL), which operates the ‘Vithal Kamat’ chain of vegetarian quick-service restaurants is also making inroads in to Orissa. KRPL has recently commissioned four company-owned outlets in Orissa, on the Bhubaneswar-Puri highway.

Youtube videos of the 13 Orissa sites in NDTV’s shortlist of 7 Wonders of India

Angul, Anugul- Talcher - Saranga- Nalconagar, Bhitarakanika, Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Chilika, Circuit: Bhubaneswar-Chilika-Puri, Heritage sites, Keonjhar, Konark, Lakes, Nandan Kanan, Puri, Raghurajpur, Rural artisan villages, Sambalpur, Sambaplur- Burla- Bargarh- Chipilima, Sites in and around Bhubaneswar, Sundergarh, Temples, TOURISM, ENTERTAINMENT and SHOPPING, Tourist promotion, Turtle nesting sites, Waterfalls 1 Comment »

The NDTV site of the 13 Orissa sites is at http://7wondersofindia.ndtv.com/vote.aspx?id=9. The youtube videos below are from http://www.youtube.com/user/7wondersofindia. The descriptions below and the pictures are from the NDTV sites and the youtube sites.

EIGHT Sites near Bhubaneswar:

A 64 Yogini Tantrik Site

Located in Bhubaneswar, Orissa.
The Sixty Four Yoginis temple at Hirapur is a circular enclosure with a narrow doorway to the eastern side. The diameter of the enclosure is 7.62 meters or 25 feet and height of the wall on the paved floor inside is 1.87 metres or 6 feet 2 inches. Yogini was considered sacred, hence this temple was created. Inside the temple there are 60 niches and in every niche there is a figure of a Yogini. All the Yogini images stand and are carved on black chlorite stone.

Nandan Kanan National Park

Located in Chandaka Forests, 20km from Bhubaneshwar, Orissa.
The park is spread in about 4 sq.km. of area, while the wildlife
sanctuary is spread in around 5 sq. km. The park is home to more than 75 species of mammals and reptiles.The Nandan Kanan National park houses the very first captive gharial breeding centre of the country. Nandan Kanan justifies its literal meaning i.e. "Garden of Pleasure".

Lingaraja Bhubaneshwar Temple

Located in Bhubaneswar, Orissa.
The Lingaraja temple is located in a spacious courtyard covering
over 250000 sq feet and is bounded by fortified walls. Its tower rises up to 180 feet and is elaborately carved. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and the Lingam here is unique which is a harihara lingam -half Shiva and half Vishnu.
Built by Yayati Kesari in the 7th century. This temple is dedicated to Tribhubaneshwar or the Lord of Three Worlds. The Lingaraja temple is about 1000 years old.

Udaygiri and Khandagiri Caves

The caves are located atop the twin hills known as Udayagiri
(meaning the hill of the sunrise) and Khandagiri (meaning the
broken hill) which rise abruptly from the coastal plain, about 6km
West of Bhubaneswar, separated by a highway. Udaygiri caves are approximately 135 ft high and Khandagiri caves are 118 ft high.
The main attraction of these caves consists of its stupendous carvings. Of all the caves in Udaygiri, the largest one is the Rani Gumpha or the Queens Cave. The origin of the rock cut caves of Udaygiri and Khandagiri dates back to the 2nd century BC.
The caves are reminiscent of influence of Buddhism and Jainism in Orissa. The inscription and carvings on the walls show that they once served as Jain Monasteries.

 

Raghurajpur Craftsman Village

Located 14 kms from Puri in Orissa. The village is inhabited by artisans producing sheer poetry on pieces of treated cloth, dried palm leaf or paper. The Villages runs from east to west with houses arranged in two neat rows facing each other. In the centre runs a line of small temples. The village has a community of artisans who produce different verities of handicraft items like pata paintings, palm leaf
engravings, stone carvings, wooden toys and mask, wood carving, wooden toys, cow-dung toys, tusser paintings, etc. 

 

Puri Beach

Located on Shores of Bay of Bengal, at a mere distance of 35 kms from the Sun Temple and 65 kms from Bhubaneshwar. Pilgrims from all over India visit Puri to take a dip in the holy water of the rolling waves which is considered religious. It is renowned for the sand sculptures created particularly by the internationally famed Sudarshan Patnaik. Puri is the abode of Lord Jagannath and considered one of the most important Hindu pilgrimage destinations. The beach is a festive place where people come to relax and be entertained. It serves as the venue of the Puri Beach Festival.

 

 

Sun Temple, Konark

Situated at a distance from the famous religious and tourist centre of Puri (35 Km.) and the capital city of Bhubaneswar (65 Km). The entire temple was designed in the shape of a colossal chariot with seven horses and twenty four wheels, each about 10 feet in diameter, with a set of spokes and elaborate carvings. The Sun Temple of Konark marks the highest point of achievement of Kalinga architecture depicting the grace, the joy and the rhythm of
life all it`s wondrous variety. It was built by King Raja Narasinghs Deva-I of the Ganga Dynasty in the thirteenth century. It is a temple to Surya, the sun God.

 

 

Chilika Lake

Chilika Lake (also called Chilka lake) is a brackish water coastal lake in India`s Orissa state, south of the mouth of the Mantei River.
The area of the lake varies from 1165 km sq. in the monsoon season to 906 km sq. in the dry season, and is studded with numerous small islands. The lake is an important habitat and breeding ground for both
resident and migratory and aquatic birds, most notably flamingoes.
The lake was formed due to the silting action of the Mantei River
which drains into the northern end of the lake, and the northerly
currents in the Bay of Bengal, which have formed a sandbar along the eastern shore leading to the formation of a shallow lagoon.
The main attractions inside the lake are Kalijai Island, Honeymoon Island, Breakfast Island, Birds Island, Nalabana (Island of Reeds) and Parikud Island.

 

The Other Five sites in Orissa:

Olive Ridley Sea Turtles

Found in the Indian Ocean along the Bay of Bengal is Orissa. Average weight of the turtles is just over 100 lb (up to 50 kgs). They have a high-domed shell, with a carapace length of only 30 inches (70 cms). Olive Ridleys are omnivorous, feeding on crabs, shrimp, rock lobsters, sea grasses, snails, fish, sessile, pelagic tunocates and small invertebrates. The Orissa coast is one of the three sites worldwide where mass nesting of the olive ridley turtle occurs. This sea turtle is especially known for its mass nesting when several thousand turtles migrate to the breeding ground to mate and nest simultaneously. Hindu mythology worships sea turtles as an incarnation of one their gods. Over the past five years, sea turtles have suffered mass mortality along the Orissa coast due to death by drowning as incidental catch in trawl- fishing nets. About 5000 to 10,000 dead turtles have been washed ashore each year, a total of over 100,000 in the last ten years.

 

Sitabinji Caves

Situated on River Sita, 30 km from Keonjhar.  The structure is like a half opened umbrella. It depicts a royal procession.
It has gained prominence for the ancient fresco painting on a rock shelter called “Ravan Chhaya”.

Khandadhar Waterfalls (youtube videos)

Khandadhar Waterfall is located amidst the forest of Sundergarh  (specific location is Nandapani). The Khandadhar Falls is categorized as a horsetail waterfall. The falls appear to be located on a smaller watercourse, though are said to be perennial.
During the monsoon months the water from the Koprani Nala, a rivulet, overflows and it drops down as a fall from a height of 800 feet.
This waterfall because of its height is visible from a distance of about 5 kilometres.

Hirakud River Dam (youtube videos)

Located 15 km from Sambalpur, Orissa. The Hirakud Dam is built across the Mahanadi River, about 15 km from Sambalpur in the state of Orissa in India. The dam regulates the flow of the Mahanadi River and produces hydroelectricity through several hydroelectric plants. Hirakund dam is about 4.8 km long, bordered by earthen dykes on its left as well as right. Built in 1956, the dam is the world`s largest earthen dam. The dam helps control floods in the Mahanadi delta and irrigates 7,500,000 hectares of land. Hirakud dam was the first post- independence river valley project in India.

Sleeping Vishnu Temple

The sleeping statue of Lord Vishnu is situated in Bhimkund, at a distance of about 28 kilometres from Talcher. The sleeping image of Vishnu at Bhimkund is second only to Gomateswar (Karnataka) in size. It has the honour of being the largest sleeping image in India.
In spite of its magnanimity, image contains a natural softness. The period of its creation is believed to be 8th-9th century AD.


State funding to develop Puri as part of a mega tourist circuit

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Following is an excerpt from a report in expressbuzz.

The State Government today decided to develop Puri as a mega tourism circuit with an investment of Rs 50 crore.

An outlay of Rs 30 crore will be made in the next budget for the project that includes improvement of Badadanda (grand road), beautification of Puri town and sea beach, dynamic lighting system of Jagannath temple and Gundicha temple, development of parks and parking lots and construction of a tourist complex.

The high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also decided to give a facelift to the peripheral areas of Puri, a major tourist attraction.

At Satapada, a sunset viewpoint and a park will be developed. There will be tourist jetty at Sipaguda and Rajahansa, official sources said. Plans are afoot to paint the buildings lined up on both sides of the Badadanda with a unique colour to give an added attraction to the Puri town. This will be done in consultation with various stakeholders.

While additional parking places for vehicles will be created in various parts of the city, arrangements will be made to ease out traffic during festivals like Rath Yatra. There will be three interchanging nodes within the town to evacuate traffic. It has been proposed to set up a multi-media museum called Srikhetra Sankrutika Sangrahalay. Vending zones will be set up on the sea beach to keep it clean and free from pollution.

Special board and lodging arrangements will be made for tourists. A few tourist complexes will be developed in various locations.

It has been estimated that about 34 lakh out of 52 lakh tourists coming to the State every year visit Puri.

 

Port and cruise terminals proposed at Baliharchandi, Puri

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Following is from a report in CargonewsAsia.

The Kolkata-based Shyam Group has joined hands with another local company Century Plyboards India Ltd and floated Puri Ports Ltd to launch a port at Baliharchandi, about 40 km from Puri (Orissa), the Business Line reported.

About 3,500 acres of land has been identified for the proposed port project and a memorandum of understanding with the Orissa Government is to be signed shortly.

The Ministry of Tourism’s clearance would be required because, as it was pointed out, a cruise terminal would be an important component of the proposed port.

The first phase of the proposed port, to be complete with four berths including the cruise terminal and an industrial park.

Hindu also writes about it. Following is from that report.

The Kolkata-based Shyam Group is planning to set up an integrated minor port in Orissa for which IIT Chennai has been engaged to prepare the detailed project report, Deepakk Goyal, Executive Director of Shyam Steel, said.

The diversified Shyam Group which has interests in cement, power and steel is hopeful of signing a memorandum of understanding with the Orissa Government by January 2009, according to company sources. After signing the MoU, the company will approach the Coastal Regulatory Zone for its approval.

In the first phase, the project will entail an investment of between Rs. 1,800 crore and Rs. 2,000 crore and a capacity of 12 million tonnes annually which includes a four-berth port, two dedicated cruise terminals and a wood-based industrial park. The ultimate capacity will be between 30 million tonnes and 40 million tonnes and the implementation may have to be done in three phases.

The site that has been identified for the project is Baliharchandi, which is south of Puri and north of Chilika Lake. Around 3,500 acres has been set apart for the project. The land is proposed to be acquired through the Orissa Industrial Infrastructure Development Company and the project is to be completed within 24 months of land acquisition.

Shyam Steel, which is the third-largest stakeholder in Century Plywood, has already formed an equal joint venture with Century. The company is called Puri Port Ltd. The cargo will be clean cargo like wood and export-cargo of steel and import-cargo of raw materials.

Swosti Hotel group’s plan for Puri and Chilika

Beaches, Bhubaneswar-Berhampur, Bhubaneswar-Puri, Chilika, Circuit: Bhubaneswar-Chilika-Puri, Ganjam, Hotels and resorts, Khordha, Puri, Puri, Tourist promotion 1 Comment »

Following is an excerpt from a report in hospitalitybizindia.com.

Swosti Group is redesigning two of its upcoming resorts according to chartered tourist requirements, since both properties were initially designed for individual and MICE segments. Puri’s Swosti Chandan Spa Resort and the company’s upcoming resort at Chilka, Orissa will undergo a number of redesigning and renovation processes as they target chartered segments (in large numbers), instead of regular tourists.

About this sudden change in plans, S Patnaik, General Manager, Swosti Group, told Hospitalitybiz, “We have experienced a sudden influx of MICE travellers in Bhubaneswar; this has resulted in many hospitality giants commissioning projects in the state capital. Similarly, other places in the state, especially Puri and Chilka, will be ideal to host chartered segments. Moreover, the segment’s favourite Indian destinations like Goa and Kerala are exceeding their carrying capacity; therefore, chartered operators are now looking for other options.”

The number of chartered flights to Puri is increasing from 180 to 250. Hence, Swosti Group is already in talks with leading chartered tour operators in India, who have exhibited an interest in the suggested places and upcoming properties. “Our Puri property was earlier designed with 70 rooms, but the inventory has been hiked to 100 rooms in favour of hosting chartered groups. The Chilka property, which has not been named as yet, will offer 50 cottages to start with, while it will be somewhat experimental with chartered tourists. The Chilka property will upgrade rapidly if it did well with the mentioned segment,” informed Patnaik. Slated to start operations in October 2008, both properties will take another few months to start. “The season for this segment (to visit India) is from October – March 2008,” added Patnaik. He added that even though the company will lose out on most of the season, it wishes to atleast begin catering to some chartered tourists.

On the other changes in terms of architect and design, Patnaik said that both properties will highlight their swimming pool as it is the biggest attraction for the chartered segment. The resorts will be equipped with bigger lawns and additional private areas as the segment does not appreciate external disturbance from other guests. “We are working on the properties’ sloping structures and the proximity of the pools and beaches from the resorts,” informed Patnaik.

…  We are inclining our properties towards chartered tourists as we will be able to provide them with the peace and serenity that they seek.” Swosti Group is also interested in presenting Buddhist tourism to this segment, in a new light.

2008-09 Festivals and Fairs Calendar (organized by OTDC)

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Sl. No.

Date

Name of the Event

1

2

3

1.

1st – 5th December 08

Konark Festival

 

2.

15th – 27th December 08

Toshali National Crafts Mela

 

3.

10th  – 20th January 09

EKAMRA : The Temple City Festival

 

i.

10th – 11th January 09

Kalinga Mahotsav

 

ii.

12th – 20th January 09

International Food Festival

 

iii.

14th – 16th January 09

Mukteswar Dance Festival

 

iv.

18th – 20th January 09

Rajarani Music Festival

 

4.

25th – 31st January 09

Shreekshetra Utsav

 

i.

25th – 27th January 09

Shree Jayadev Odissi Sangeet  Samaroh

 

ii.

25th – 31st January 09

Odissi Food Festival

 

5.

26th Jan – 1st February 09

Tribal Fair at Bhubaneswar

Travelcheck.in has a good collection of articles on Orissa spots

Chandipur, Chilika, Circuit: Bhubaneswar-Chilika-Puri, Gopalpur-on-Sea, Heritage sites, Hills and hill stations, Historical places, Konark, Mahanadi tourism, National Parks and Sanctuaries, Nature spots, Puri, Similpal, Sites in and around Bhubaneswar, Temples, TOURISM, ENTERTAINMENT and SHOPPING, Tourist promotion, Travelogue 1 Comment »

Their page on Orissa is at http://www.travelcheck.in/index.php/orissa. The list of sites in Orissa that they cover are:

Travel tales of Orissa: a beautiful blog of travels to various scenic places and temples in Orissa

Ecotourism, Hills and hill stations, Lakes, Mahanadi tourism, Nature spots, Puri, Travelogue, Waterfalls 2 Comments »

Following are the links as of today:

Hoteliers selected for the Shamuka beach project

Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Circuit: Bhubaneswar-Chilika-Puri, Hotels and resorts, Puri, Puri, Shamuka Beach project, Sites in and around Bhubaneswar, Tourist promotion 1 Comment »

Following is from a report in hospitalitybizindia.

Eleven hospitality majors like the Indian Hotels Company, ITC Welcomgroup, Dubai-based Emaar MGF, DLF, IHHR Hospitality, Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels, Goa-based VM Salgaonkar Bros Pvt Ltd, Unitech, Delhi-based Zoom Developers, Kolkata-based Shristi Infrastructure Development Corporation and Mumbai-based Subha Hospitality have been selected by the Tourism Department of Orissa to convert Samukha Beach, the long virgin beach situated near the Konark Temple, into the biggest beach city of India.

The project was planned to be completed in two phases on a public private partnership (PPP) format in October 2007. The beach city will house five-star properties, golf courses, convention centres, handicrafts centres, art centres and conventions halls. It will also include special varieties of housing estates, social housings, condominiums, budget hotels and villas.

The Tourism Department inaugurated the commencement of the awaited hop-on and hop-off bus services, recently. Sasank Rath, Officer on Special Duty, Orissa Tourism said that the work for sizing of the lands is currently going on, while lands will be disbursed by the end of August 2008. The Tourism Department plans to invest Rs 2000-3000 Crore to build the whole project. The State Government will invest Rs100 Crore for infrastructure development. Work on the project is expected to start in August 2008 and it will take another 42 months for it to be completed.

 

Puri-Bhubaneswar-Konark-Chilika among the 20 select tourist sites

Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Chilika, Khordha, Konark, Puri, Sites in and around Bhubaneswar Comments Off on Puri-Bhubaneswar-Konark-Chilika among the 20 select tourist sites

Following is an excerpt from an IANS report in thaiindian.com.

India is developing 20 places, including Agra – home to the Taj Mahal – as short-halt destinations to attract more foreign tourists, the tourism ministry said here Tuesday. The 20 sites were selected on the basis of the number of national and international travellers visiting the place. Being a world heritage site was also a factor in the selection, the ministry statement said.

The tourism ministry will provide financial assistance of up to Rs.250 million for development of a mega destination and of Rs.500 million for a mega circuit.

“The ministry’s objective is to ensure that with enhanced investments and an integrated approach, the mega destinations will be developed to maximize their potential,” the tourism ministry’s statement said.

“The resulting increase in tourist inflows, in turn, will lead to economic development and employment generation in and around these places,” the statement added.

The sites are Agra – revitalization of the Taj (Uttar Pradesh), Varanasi-Sarnath (Uttar Pradesh), Bodhgaya-Rajgir-Nalanda (Bihar), illumination of monuments of Delhi (Delhi), Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu), Puri-Bhubaneswar-Konark-Chilka (Orissa), Haridwar-Rishikesh (Uttarakhand), Hampi (Karnataka), Gangtok (Sikkim), Ajmer-Pushkar (Rajasthan) and Kurukshetra (Haryana).

Other sites include Charminar area of Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh), Jagdalpur-Tirathgarh-Chitrakoot-Barsoo (Chhattisgarh), Dwarka (Gujarat), Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh), Churches of Goa, Ganga Heritage River Cruise Circuit (West Bengal), Vidarbha Circuit (Maharashtra), Aurangabad (Maharashtra) and Amritsar (Punjab).

VGF funding scheme may come in handy for some PPP projects in Orissa

Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Business Standard, Integrated Sewerage, Khordha, PPP, Puri, REAL ESTATE, Roads, highways and Bus stands, Shamuka Beach project, VGF Comments Off on VGF funding scheme may come in handy for some PPP projects in Orissa

Following is an excerpt from a report in Business Standard.

The Planning Commission today suggested the Orissa government to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) for three projects for availing of assistance under the viability gap funding (VGF) of the Centre.

These three projects are Rs 3200 crore Samuka Special Tourism Project, Rs 1500 crore Sambalpur-Rourkela road project and the Rs 1500 crore worth Bhubaneswar Solid Waste Management Project.These projects worth about Rs 6200 crore will be implemented on a pilot basis.

"A new format has been developed for availing of the assistance from VGF and the Orissa government will have to prepare a DPR keeping in view the new format and submit it to the Planning Commission", Subash Pani, secretary, Planning Commission said.

After reviewing the projects taken up in the Public-Private-Partnership ( PPP) mode by the Orissa government, Pani told media persons that the Centre can provide upto 20 percent of the project cost under the VGF. So the state government can take advantage of it.

He said, the Centre introduced the VGF last fiscal and no state has availed of the assistance from this fund created with the objective of bridging the gap in funding viable projects taken up in PPP mode.

Pani said, the Orissa government plans to execute 35 important infrastructure projects in PPP mode. While 25 projects are in the pipeline, 10 projects are on going.

The on-going projects include Rs 68 crore Palasapanga- Bamberi road, Gopalpur port, Dhamra Port, Rs 480 crore international convention centre, Rs 146 crore IT and Corporate Tower (Bhubaneswar), Rs 500 crore Info Park(Bhubaneswar), Rs 35.67 crore Knowledge park, Rs 352 crore SEZ-BPO at Mancheswar, Rs 76 crore Commercial and IT Complex at Rourkela.

Puri-Bhubaneshwar-Konarak-Chilka Lake among top 20 destinations of the country

Chilika, Konark, Nandan Kanan, Puri, Sites in and around Bhubaneswar 1 Comment »

Following is an excerpt from a news report in howrah.org.

Union tourism minister Ambika Soni has identified 20 top tourist destinations in the country, with an eye on wooing the potential foreign and domestic tourists. Under this new initiative, financial assistance up to Rs 25 crores would be provided for development of a mega destination and Rs 50 crore for a mega circuit. Apart from this financial assistance, ministry of tourism is also working with other Central ministries and concerned state governments to achieve convergence and synergy with other government programmes, so that the impact of investment on these destinations is maximised. Ms Ambika Soni’s policy initiative is aimed at developing tourist destinations/circuits of national importance in a holistic and integrated manner. The objective is to ensure that the infrastructure of these mega destinations/circuits is developed to the extent that it can cater to the future tourist inflows so that visitors get a satisfying and memorable experience.

… So far 20 such destinations/circuits have been identified in consultation with the state governments on the basis of data indicating potential arrivals.

These include: Taj in Agra (UP), Varanasi-Sarnath (UP), Bodh Gaya-Rajgir-Nalanda (Bihar), illumination of monuments in Delhi, Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu), Puri-Bhubaneshwar-Konarak-Chilka Lake (Orissa), Haridwar-Rishikesh (Uttarakhand) etc.

For identified destinations/circuits covered by the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, convergence of resources is being ensured so that the tourism related infrastructure and urban civic infrastructure complement each other.

Innovative schemes planned by the Orissa Tourism Development Corporation

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Following is an excerpt from a report in Travel Biz Monitor.

“We have adopted this system from places like London and Berlin. Instead of a conducted tour within and outside the city, we will introduce tailor-made sight-seeing options.” The state plans to operate five coaches at a time, covering a minimum of 12-13 destinations. There will be a minimum of 10-15 minutes between each coach’s departure, in order to provide the traveller with ultimate flexibility. One day’s ticket will be issued for travellers who want to enjoy the destinations of their preference.

Conducted city tours were an important revenue-generator for Orissa Tourism. However, they have been converted into the coach service to cater to a growing demand for tailor-made packages, around the globe. “As we have started catering to a large number of international tourists, we had to resort to made-to-order services,” adds Rath.

With an aim to garner additional global business, Orissa Tourism also plans to appoint STPOs across the world, to promote Orissa as an international tourist destination. Rath claims that Orissa Tourism already employs a large number of travel agents and tour operators to sell Orissa packages. However, it is now looking to appoint non-resident Oriyas to promote the state’s tourism.

The STPO scheme will be launched on an experimental basis to garner additional employment opportunities. “We believe that the Oriya community spread all over the world will be instrumental in adding that personal touch to our state’s tourism. Although, the STPOs will not be on a payroll basis, commission against the volume of business generated will be attractive,” says Rath.

Ratha Yatra among the world’s top ten festivals

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The top ten according to Gap Adventures, as mentioned in a Travel Bite, UK, article, is:

  • The Indian state of Orissa holds a Chariot festival in July and sees hundreds of thousands of devotees of Jagannath – the lord of the universe – gather to perform a colourful and noisy ritual.

    In the town of Puri gigantic chariots hauled through the main street and the air is filled with the rhythmic clang of metal gongs, the blowing of conch shells and trumpets, and the chanting of holy men.

  • A combination of livestock trading and religious festivities provides a truly spectacular experience at the Pushkar camel festival in the Indian state of Rajasthan each November.

    Around 50,000 camels are sold, decorated, shaved and raced during the festival, followed by religious rituals which culminate in thousands of devotees bathing in the holy lake on the full moon.

  • Across the border in Pakistan, thousands travel to Shandur in the far north of the country for the world’s highest polo tournament.

    These polo games are not like the modern variety, applying 800-year-old rules that are cut-throat to say the least.

  • In Guatemala every March the Semana Santa festival draws thousands to celebrate the rebirth of Christ in a typically Central American combination of Catholic symbolism and Mayan tradition.

    For a whole week the people eat, drink and dance for a fruitful harvest, culminating in a sleepless three-day march of holy statues through the streets.

  • One of Mexico’s most macabre and memorable festivals takes place in the beautiful colonial city of Oaxaca – the Day of the Dead.

    This joyful honouring of the lives of deceased family members is on All Hallow’s Eve, when people decorate the graves of their loved ones with flowers, candles and even food.

    The whole community gathers with food, music and mescal (think tequila with a nasty kick) all part of the fun.

  • Inti Raymi, or the Festival of the Sun, is Peru’s most famous festival and the week-long event sees huge crowds watching ceremonial processions through the flower-draped streets of Cuzco.

    The ceremony itself takes place on June 24th, when a person representing the Sapa Inca (the emperor) calls for blessings from the sun amid a heady mix of music, prayers and dancing.

  • One of the most important festivals in Tibet is the new year celebration of Losar, held over three days in February.

    This colourful, traditional and exotic Buddhist festival features symbolic rituals performed by the yellow-hatted Tibetan lamas, followed by massive parades and fireworks meant to chase off the devils of the old year.

  • Mongolia’s Naadam festival echoes the country’s warrior past and the ‘manly games’ involve displays of the three major traditional sports in Mongolia: wrestling, horse racing and archery.

    The festival begins with a big parade down the main street of Ulaan Baatar and travellers can take the opportunity to compete in the events and stay with the nomadic herders in their tent-like ‘gers’.

  • Thousands of people gather in Kyoto each May in the hope of witnessing a rarely-seen performance of the geisha dancers of the Pontocho district.

    The Kama-gawa Odori festival has been held since 1872 on the banks of the Kamo-gawa river and is one of Japan’s most celebrated spring geisha dances.

  • For something completely different attend the world famous Calgary Stempede in Canada in July, celebrating rhinestone, country music and wide-open spaces.

    The rodeo competition, stage shows, concerts, chuckwagon races and pancake breakfasts held all over the city during Stampede Week offer fun for all.

CM meets the union tourism minister

Airports and air connectivity, Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Chief Minister's actions, Khordha, Konark, Press release, Odisha Govt., Puri, Puri, Railways, Sites in and around Bhubaneswar, TOURISM, ENTERTAINMENT and SHOPPING, Tourist promotion Comments Off on CM meets the union tourism minister

The following is from http://rc.orissa.gov.in/index3.asp?linkid=30&sublinkid=411.

PRESS RELEASE

DT.20.03.2008

GOVERNMENT OF ORISSA PRESS RELEASE

New Delhi March 20, 2008

Shri Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister, Orissa met Smt. Ambika Soni, Union Minister, Tourism & Culture today and discussed about various tourism projects of the State. The Chief Minister demanded for an early sanction of Rs.50 crore for development of tourism infrastructure and facilities in the famous tourism circuit of Bhubaneswar-Konark-Puri-Chilika under the Mega Circuit Scheme. The Union Minister agreed to include the circuit of Bhubaneswar-Konark-Puri-Chilika under the Mega Circuit Scheme and extend all necessary assistance under the scheme for its integrated development. She also agreed to consider release of 50% of the funds immediately.

The Chief Minister asked for a direct flight and a thematic tourist train to connect Varanasi and Bodhigaya with the Buddhist sites of Orissa. This would provide a great boost to employment and tourism in the State. The Union Minister intimated that the Government of India will extend all support for the connectivity of the Buddist sites. She also agreed to take up the matter with the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Ministry of Railways soon. She also intimated that the matter of rail connectivity of Bhubaneswar, Banaras and Gaya will be discussed with the Planning Commission and Ministry of Railways soon.

The Chief Minister urged the Union Minister to take up the project of sound and light show for Konark, which is a world heritage site and also for the historic Barabati Fort at Cuttack. The Union Minister was also requested for expeditious completion of the sound and light show at Khandagiri. The Chief Minister also demanded for better maintenance of the historical monuments, Buddhist sites, temples and other protected monuments by the Archeological Survey of India.

100 crores for Handicraft and Handloom promotion

Arts n crafts, Arts village, Central programs, Cottage industry and Handlooms, Handicrafts, Puri, Rural artisan villages 1 Comment »

Following is an excerpt from a report in Pioneer. (Tathya.in also has a similar report.)

The Centre has proposed to set up an Integrated Marketing Project for the development and promotion of handicrafts and handloom of Orissa with a special focus on Tribal and Fibre Crafts.

The project is proposed to be executed by Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) of Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) and IL&FS. It will involve an investment of approximately Rs.100 crore.

In order to make it a reality, Executive Director of the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts, Rakesh Kumar along with other senior officials called on Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at Orissa Bhawan in New Delhi on Saturday and apprised him about the project.

During the meeting, Patnaik said the State has a vast potential for development of Tribal Crafts, Tribal Jewellery, Dhokra Casting, Silver Filigree work and other metal work, Terracotta, Wood work, Appliqu work, horn work, golden grass work, Cane and Bamboo products.

Kumar informed the Chief Minister that the project will include various components like human resource development, design & product development, national & international marketing, setting up of a state of the art Crafts Complex at Bhubaneswar and Puri as well as setting up of showrooms abroad.