Keonjhar: With the arrival of winter, tourists venture out in hordes every day to enjoy scenic places like Khandadhar, a major tourist attraction in mineral-rich Keonjhar district.
Locals say the tourism potential of the picture-postcard waterfall is yet to be fully tapped for lack of some facilities. “As the place is amid a forested pocket, there is fear of danger from wild animals to tourists. There is a need for safety measures for them here. Besides, lack of lighting facility after sundown is another drawback,” observed a nature lover and former MP Ananta Nayak.
Proper road connectivity is vital for facilitating tourist footfall to the place and the place should be developed in a full-fledged manner to attract visitors, noted some locals. Facilities for night halt and food can woo tourists in large numbers.
Khandadhar waterfall is located in Malangtoli hill range on the borders of Keonjhar and Sundargarh. The hill ranges are huge reserves of minerals. They are really bounties of nature. Several other beautiful waterfalls are there in the hill range.
Khandadhar waterfall is near Kadakala village under Bansapal block. Water cascades down from a height of about 700 ft off a cliff.
The water while crashing down gets collided on cliff face and trees. Its water particles are spread all over the place, creating a mysteriously foggy atmosphere. Due to the vertical falling of water, the waterfall appears to be a curved edge of a sword which means ‘Khandadhar’.
Crystal clear water of spring falls on an uneven stone floor which ultimately produces a roaring sound leading to a smoky scenario around the area. The place looks stunningly beautiful amid environment encircled with mountain range.
The tourists are mesmerised by its ethereal beauty. A Shiva temple nearby adds to the beauty of the place. Thousands of people from several localities throng the place on Makar Sankranti and Shivaratri.
Many tourists have to stay in hotels and lodges in Keonjhar. But more tourists are interested to have night accommodation near the place to enjoy its nocturnal beauty, sources said. Enriched with luxuriant flora and fauna, this spot is about 60 km from Keonjhar town.
The forest department, the tourism department and locals have put in place some facilities, but many things are to be done to exploit the tourism potential of the place, locals added.
Tourists return with their exciting experiences after spending time amid sprawling dense forests, zig-zag high hills, hilly streams, sprawling mustard and sesame farmland.
They are also found taking selfies and capturing breathtaking scenes in their lenses. However, lighting, proper road connectivity, safety measures, night accommodation and hospitality facilities need to be set up and improved, to provide impetus for tourism activities in the area.