Saturday, April 9, 2016

Devagumpha cave in Kalahandi cries for attention

Orissapost, April 8, 2016
Kesinga: Devagumpha, an ancient cave located 18 km from here atop the Biripuda hill in Kalahandi district, besides being an amazing picturesque spot is also famous for its spiritual ambience that draws a sizeable number of tourists through the year.
However, the site is not getting the attention from the government which it rightfully deserves. Such a visual treat is also said to be missing from the tourism map of the state, according to reports.
Legend has it the cave with an entrance 20 ft wide and 30 ft high used to be a desired location for monks to practice meditation. With a length of about 80 ft, the cave has several rooms in a three-storeyed structure. A huge ‘Linga’ of Lord Dhabaleswar is located in the first room of the cave while Lords Paradeswar and Pataleswar are located towards its southern and eastern sides respectively. The size of the ‘Linga’ is growing each year, locals claimed. However, few people dare to enter the cave as it is pitch dark inside and has countless beehives inside it. Deba Majhi and Natha Majhi, two priests of nearby Gurjimunda village, visit the cave every morning and evening to perform the daily rituals, they said.
There is a narrow pass laid by the rural development (RD) department from Boria on NH-26 via Malpada to connect this tourist spot. However, the devotees and tourists had to tread along a three-km path to reach the cave. The famous shrine of Yogamaya is just 500 m from the cave while Dakhinakali and Dakhina Hanuman are being worshipped near this shrine.
Even as the site receives most visitors during the celebration of the Mahashivaratri festival, children of various schools throng the place for picnics and tourists from outside the state also visit the cave throughout the year. Besides, Biripuda hill itself is home to many invaluable medicinal plants and further research can add to the significance of the site. Though locals have been demanding tourist destination status for the site for years, it has not yielded any result so far. Such a status to Devagumpha would not only boost tourism, but can work wonders for the protection of the environment, locals said.
Bhawanipatna MLA Anak Naik had demanded tourist spot status for Devagumpha and its surrounding areas during the last Assembly session. Though the government had asked the district tourism department and administration to file a report, no initiative has been taken so far, according to locals.
When contacted, Motilal Bagarti, the manager of both Devagumpha and Yogamaya shrines, said a five-member committee under the guidance of the collector is likely to visit the site for an inspection

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