Belpahar: The historic Ulapgarh Hill, popularly known as the shelter of valiant freedom fighter Veer Surendra Sai during his fight against the Britishers and located just at a distance of 7 Km from Belpahar town of Jharsuguda district, cries for attention.
Being left unmaintained for years together with no basic facilities like drinking water, walkway, rest shed and provision of stairs, among others, the historic hill is in urgent need of beautification and development.
Furthermore, footfall to the popular tourist destination has been declining due to lack of basic facilities, locals resented. Hundreds of residents Friday demanded immediate development and beautification of the historic Ulapgarh hill.
Tourists in large numbers from inside and outside the district throng the hills, round the year. They come to enjoy its natural scenic beauty and witness historical ruins as well, some residents informed.
But, the famous hill-fort and tourist site lacks adequate road connectivity and several other basic infrastructures including provision of stairs, rest shed and drinking water for visitors and picnickers.
Belpahar is well connected through road and railway. After reaching the town a tourist can hire vehicle to reach the historic place. But, lack of facilities in the historic place is a matter of concern for tourists.
“Despite Ulapgarh being recognised by the Central government as a tourist destination, it is yet to be fully developed,” they alleged.
If adequately developed, the Ulapgarh tourist destination will certainly generate employment opportunities 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 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 fight against the Britishers.
It is pertinent to mention, 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.