Keonjhar: With winter tourism season approaching fast, tourists and picnickers are eagerly waiting for the opening of tourist hotspots in Keonjhar district.
The district is well-known for its salubrious climate and tourist spots in the lap of nature. Almost all the tourist spots are bestowed with natural waterfalls which attract tourists from far and near round the year. Amongst these waterfalls, Sana Ghagara, Bada Ghagara, Khandadhar, Gundicha Ghagi, Handibhanga, Bhimkund, Murga, Asurakhol, Pisachuni, Baragad, Putugharaghagi and Chakrateertha witness tourist footfall in large numbers during winter.
Amid COVID-19 restrictions, the waterfalls identified as tourist spots by the Tourism Department have been kept out of bound for tourists since the outbreak of the pandemic.
But tourists from nearby areas have already started visiting other waterfalls that are waiting for the Tourism Department’s recognition.
“How long can we remain confined to four walls? Our children are getting bored. A visit to a tourist spot surrounded by verdant green jungles with a cascading waterfall will definitely make a difference in recharging our moods. We are planning to visit a waterfall that has not been closed,” said a local man from Keonjhar.
Meanwhile, director cum additional secretary of Odisha Tourism Department SR Jadhav recently wrote a letter to Keonjhar collector asking him to open those tourist spots that are not under any Containment Zones and allow hotels and guesthouses to allow visitors to stay.
When contacted, tourist officer Ramesh Chandra Nayak said the hotels have been asked to function with 30 per cent occupancy rate. “Soon, all the waterfalls and other tourist spots will be opened for visitors and tourists. The administration has already started work in this regard,” Nayak added.