Baripada, Dec 30: The deplorable condition of the roads and lack of infrastructure has been proving to be a constraint to the flow of tourists to Deokund in Orissa.
Deokund, better known as an abode of 'dharma' in nature's cradle at the Simlipal Wildlife Sanctuary, has emerged as one of the finest tourist hotspots in Mayurbhanj district.
Tourists from the state as well as faraway places throng the place every year despite lack of infrastructure and bad road transport system to have a 'darshan' of Goddess Ambika.
The sacred shrine of Goddess Ambika is located atop the hills, flanked by dense woodlands and a beautiful waterfall originating from the river East Deo.
The sacred shrine has also earned the name as ''Panchasagar Tirtha'' or the ''Shakti Peetha''. Thousands of tourists visit the place every to invoke the blessings of the goddess.
State Tourism department officials at Baripada said at least 69,178 tourists thronged Deokund during 2006, of whom 43 were foreigners.
The ripples of the river East Deo, the cascading waterfall, the chirping birds and many smaller denizens of the forests have also been attracting the tourists.
Huge 'mahaseer' fishes flitting in and out of view in the sparkling water of river East Deo is yet another attraction for the tourists. Fishing is, however, strictly prohibited in the sanctuary.
''If the roads are developed, the flow of tourists to Deokund will increase by leaps and bounds,'' a state Tourism department official said.
Soubhyagya Das and Jogesh Acharya, two tourists from Baripada town, who visit the shrine regularly, said the most urgent need of the hour was to develop infrastructures, including tourist lodges and forest rest houses, where visitors could stay overnight and enjoy the nature in its pristine glories.
''The road transport system also needs urgent upgradation,'' the officials added.