Belpahar: Hundreds of local residents Friday demanded development and beautification of the historic Ulapgarh hill, which is 7 km from Belpahar town of Jharsuguda district.
The famous hill-fort and tourist site lacks adequate road connectivity and several other basic infrastructures including provision of stairs, rest sheds and drinking water for visitors and picnickers.
Tourists in large numbers from inside and outside the district throng the hill round the year. They come to enjoy its natural scenic beauty and witness historical ruins present here as well, some residents informed.
Belpahar is well connected through road and railway. After reaching the town a tourist can hire a vehicle to reach the historic place.
“Despite Ulapgarh being recognised by the Central government as a tourist destination, it is yet to be fully developed,” they alleged.
After being adequately developed, Ulapgarh as a tourist destination will certainly generate employment opportunities for them and thereby contribute to the district’s economy, many locals claimed.
“It is believed, the Pandavas had stayed here for some days during their spell of ‘Agyatbas’ (living in disguise) of one year. During the same time Arjun married the Naag Kanya (cobra princess). Hence, Ulapgarh was named as after the name of the princess Ulupi, whom the great archer, Arjun had married,” an elderly person stated.
As history goes, the valiant freedom fighter from western Odisha Veer Surendra Sai was hiding in the caves of Ulapgarh hill-fort along with his associates during his revolt against the Britishers.
It is pertinent to mention that a dilapidated fort can be witnessed on the Ulapgarh hill. Some stone inscriptions can also be seen in this hill depicting mythological tales and historical events.