Sambalpur(PTI): Odisha is planning to organise an annual water festival at Hirakud dam in Sambalpur district on the lines of the immensely popular “Jal Mahotsav” in Madhya Pradesh, a top tourism official said.
The state tourism department and the district administration will jointly organise the festival every year during the tourist season, which starts from October, said Director of Tourism, N B Jawale.
The tourists visiting the festival will get access to facilities like water sports, water adventure activities and tent stay at the Hirakud Dam Reservoir, he said.
“It will be water-centric festival. The festival here will be organized in a better way than the Jal Mahotsav in Madhya Pradesh. The duration of the festival will be two to three days,” said Jawale, who was on a visit here.
The Jal Mahotsav is hosted at the Hanuwantiya Island, which is situated on the Indira Sagar Dam in Madhya Pradesh.
Visitors to the fair get to explore the colourful customs and rich traditions of Madhya Pradesh portrayed through art, craft, folk music, dance and cuisines.
A decision has also been made to start water sports activities at the Hirakud Reservoir shortly, Jawale added.
“We have already discussed with the Water Recourse Department on this issue. We will also provide Jet Ski for water sports activities at the Hirakud Reservoir soon,” he added.
He said, apart from the golden triangle – Bhubaneswar-Puri-Konark – there is huge potential for tourism in western and southern Odisha and the government is planning to focus on these regions now.
Many developmental projects have been undertaken in Sambalpur recently and the city is emerging as a major tourist hub of Western Odisha.
Good connectivity is important to boost tourism and the Jharsuguda airport will play a pivotal role in this regard after it becomes operational, he added.
Jawale was here to attend a workshop on “Development of Tourism in Western Odisha” organised by Hotel and Restaurant Association of Odisha (HRAO).