Paralakhemundi: Mahendragiri is located at an elevation of about 1,501 mts (4,925 feet) in the Paralakhemundi sub-division of Gajapati district, 51 km south-west of Berhampur.
Mahendragiri, a part of the Eastern Ghats, is home to over 600 species of medicinal, flowering, ornamental and other kinds of plants. Its surrounding area is recognised as a biodiversity hotspot.
An expert committee of the forest and environment department has recommended Mahendragiri be declared a biosphere reserve.
Moreover, Mahendragiri is associated with mythological stories from the Ramayana in which it was mentioned as Mahendra Parvat (mountain).
It is a ‘Kula Parvat’ along with Malaya, Sahyadri, Parijatra, Shuktiman, Vindhya and Malyavan. According to the Puranas and the Mahabharata, Lord Parshuram, an incarnation of Vishnu, had done penance on the Mahendragiri for a long time.
In the past few months, as elephants have started moving in this mountain region, safeguarding the reserve forest along with its wildlife has assumed utmost priority.
Similarly, protection of the lives and occupation of the tribal people who are dependent upon this biosphere for their livelihood is also of great concern.
Addressing these concerns, a discussion was held recently between Sadhu Lakshmi Baba of Mahendragiri, local intellectuals and Paralakhemundi divisional forest officer Vivek Kumar for the overall development of Mahendragiri. Forest conservator Prabhakar Nayak and nature lover Tripati Panda were also present at the discussion.