After the capital city was accorded the smartest city in the country, experts feel that the world heritage site tag is not a distant dream any longer. The temple city has several national monuments and heritage structures, which have placed Odisha on the world heritage map.
Last year, the tourism department prepared a preliminary proposal, the first step towards earning the world heritage tag. The proposal contains details about the monuments, temples and other heritages in Ekamra Kshetra (Old Town area) in Bhubaneswar. The proposal is presently with the World Heritage Advisory Committee, New Delhi.
Since the smart city tag is expected to make Bhubaneswar an ideal place to work, live and do business at ease, it will soon attract global attention, said experts.
The smart city factor will make the case stronger for the world heritage tag. Notably, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) included Heritage District as one of the options under Smart District category, during the opinion poll conducted to elicit people’s opinion before submitting the final proposal to the Centre. However, people selected Town Centre District as their top priority.
There is a standard format to file the proposal with the Unesco’s office at New Delhi. After the preliminary proposal is accepted, we will prepare a detailed comprehensive proposal, which may take a year. We will include the heritage sites, which are protected by Archaeological Survey of India and other famous temples. There are 199 temples in Ekamra Kshetra, which may find a place in the proposal.
Sunil Patnaik, Assistant director (Tourism)
The city boasts of monuments of all faiths and religions. It has Shiva shrine Lingaraj Temple, Buddhism’s Dhauli Hill and Khandagiri and Udayagiri of the Jains. So, there is a confluence of all religions in the city. All these factors make our case very strong to get the world heritage tag.
Ashok Panda, Tourism Minister
According to sources, the Tourism department has recently released Rs 1 crore for renovation of some temples in Bhubaneswar.
The BMC is also planning for a hoarding-free zone in the old town as a part of its beautification drive in the region.
To retain the traditional look of Ekamra Kshetra, the authorities shouldn’t allow modern construction near by the heritage sites. The government should make a plan to conserve the some old structures (other than temples and monuments) to maintain the ancient look. This will help us inch towards getting the world heritage tag.
Senior architect Sanjib Guru
Courtesy: The Times of India