BHUBANESWAR: Strange it may sound. Jagannath Temple in Puri, considered the face of Odisha tourism, has not featured amongst the vital tourist destinations in a video clip prepared by the state tourism department, sparking outrage on social media.
Chief minister Naveen Patnaik launched the 5-minute video during the inaugural ceremony of Asian Athletics Championship here on Wednesday. Minutes after the tourism department uploaded the video on its official Facebook page, adverse comments came pouring in from people of all hues.
“Odisha tourism without world famous Jagannath temple and Rath Yatra is incomplete. The tourism department touched almost all destinations. But shockingly, it skipped the heart of Odisha tourism,” read a Facebook post.
“We cannot imagine the tourism department ignored Jagannath temple in the video. Though a few festivals have been included in the video, Rath Yatra is missing. Rath Yatra is the biggest and oldest religious festival in the country,” said another Facebook comment.
Stakeholders associated with hospitality sector too reacted sharply. “Everybody knows bulk of the tourists visiting Odisha come to Puri. Jagannath temple and car festival are synonymous of Odisha’s rich art and culture. It is pathetic to ignore the tourism product in the video. This exposed the government’s poor vision to promote the state’s tourism potential,” said hotelier Srimanta Kumar Dash. While over 1.29 crore tourists visited Odisha last year, about 70 percent of them visited Puri.
Tourism department defended its stand. “We wanted to give a different look to the video. Each and every destination could not be included in the short video. We are in the process of creating three more new videos, featuring several other destinations. Jagannath temple and Rath Yatra will prominently figure in the next video,” state tourism director Nitin Bhanudas Jawale told TOI.
The video started off showing aerial view of Dhauli peace pagoda in Bhubaneswar and ended with a picturesque waterbody. In between, captivating destinations like Chilika Lake, Chandrabhaga beach, Puri-Konark marine drive road, Balukhanda sanctuary, Konark Sun Temple, some Buddhist sites and waterfalls have found place in the video. Over 5,600 persons already shared the video and more than 4,500 people commented.