By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, March 29, 2018: Good news for tourists visiting Odisha. They would soon enjoy a world-class tourist facilitation centre and an interpretation centre at famous Konark Sun Temple, nearly 65 km from here.

Union petroleum and natural gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan will inaugurate the new facility on April 1, coinciding with Utkal Divas celebrations that commemorate every year the formation of Odisha as a separate province in 1936.

Developed by Indian Oil Foundation with an investment of Rs 45 crore, the tourist facilitation centre has adequate parking bays for buses, cars and two-wheelers of the visiting tourists, driver’s facility block and ample public amenities like cafeteria, toilets and drinking water, informed Subrata Barma, executive director and CEO of Indian Oil Foundation on Monday.

“The main avenue leading to the temple from outer ring road has been developed and has water bodies and suitable landscaping,” he said adding that the focus is on showcasing unique architectural features of the UNESCO world heritage site for visitors from India and abroad.

The interpretation centre has been designed to be user-friendly and interactive, with multiple exhibits and multimedia displays. Creatively planned and constructed in association with Engineers Indian Limited (EIL), the Tourism Department of Orissa and the Archaeological Society of India (ASI), it has evolved into a multi-faceted tourist hub, Barma remarked.

Having five galleries depicting the history, culture and architecture of Odisha, the centre also features galleries dedicated to the many other Sun temples found in India and across the world.

“Touch-screen kiosks and multimedia depictions, together with sculptures, scale models and artefacts in the five galleries make for fabulous viewing,” said the CEO.

Mr Barma further assured that visitors would be left spellbound with the fusion of sight and sound at the 60-seater auditorium with state-of-the-art audio-visual and acoustic systems. Animated films depicting the origin and history of the Sun Temple at Konark will be one of its main attractions.

Billed as an architectural marvel of eastern India and an exceptional symbol of India’s glorious cultural heritage, the 13th century Sun Temple is one of the important tourist centres in the region.

The IndianOil Foundation is currently developing tourist-friendly infrastructure facilities at four more heritage sites in India. They are the Khajuraho group of temples in Madhya Pradesh, Kolhua near Vaishali in Bihar and Kanheri Caves in Maharashtra (both of them being highly acclaimed Buddhist sites), and Bhoganandishwara Temple (Nandi Hills) in Karnataka. Three new projects have been identified, that is, Chittorgarh Fort in Rajasthan, Dholavira in Gujarat and the Ganga Ghat at Khaji Kalan in Bihar.

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