Orissa Buddhist sites to get a facelift

KalingaTimes Correspondent, Feb 11, 2007

Kendrapara, India -- The ancient Buddhist sites in Orissa are all set to get a facelift. The Central Government has released a sum of Rs 6 crore for preservation and beautification of these sites in different parts of the State.

According to State Culture Department Secretary Gopinath Mohanty, the funds will be utilised over a period of four years starting from the current financial year.

The sites that would be covered under the programme include the newly excavated sites at Deuli, Radhanagar, Neulpur, Kayama, Kantigadia, Tarapur and Brajagiri hills in Jajpur district, Mohanty said.

It may be noted that an ancient fortress was unearthed at Radhanagar a few years ago and archeologists involved in the excavation work had claimed that it was the Capital city of the erstwhile Kalinga empire.

The Culture Department has already entrusted Orissa Institute of Maritime and South East Asian Studies to chalk out a plan for proper utilisation of the funds for conservation, development and beautification of the Buddhist sites.

Of the sanctioned amount, Rs 25 lakh will be spent for preserving a rock-cut-elephant at Kayama hills. A similar amount will be utilised for Deuli hills, while Rs 15 lakh will be spent for development and conservation of the Buddhist remains discovered at Tarapur, 12 lakh for Brajagiri, Rs. 10 lakh for Radhanagar and Rs 5 lakh for Kantigadia.

Likewise, a sum of Rs. 10 lakh will be spent for the preservation of Buddhists sites at Athgarh, Talcher and Angul.

According to Mohanty, the Culture Department has also planned to construct two museums at Tarapur and Neulpur with an expenditure of Rs 20 lakh.

Besides, the Department has chalked out plans to spend Rs 70 lakh to preserve the ancient Buddhist monuments at Balas ore, Bargarh, Boudh, Khurda and Ganjam districts.