Hunting tower in Bhitarkanika used by tourists in bad shape

Posted By: PTI
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Kendrapara June 13: An over century old tower in the heart of mangroves at Bhitarkanika National Park that former feudal rulers used for hunting is in bad shape.

The 50-foot tower in Kendrapara district built in 1920 by Rajendra Narayan Bhanjdeo, the then king of Kanika, has apertures to track the movement of animals.

It is used at present by tourists as a watch tower to have a bird's eye view of the mangroves, innumerable inlets and wildlife in the internationally acclaimed wetland site.

Tourists are permitted to climb the steps of the tower to catch a glimpse of the bounties of nature, Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar Mangrove (Wildlife) Forest Division, Manoj Kumar Mahapatra said.

Earlier it was lying practically abandoned and fell prey to the vagaries of nature, Mahapatra said.

"There is no immediate threat to it. Still it is in urgent need of maintenance. From time to time, the department undertakes minor repair work," he said.

The tower is a reminder that hunting was a traditional pastime of zamindars and feudal rulers during the pre-independence period. The tower was built near a large pond and grazing ground covering about twenty acres.

Animals drawn to the spot for water and grazing, were targeted from the tower. During British Raj, hunting for kills and collecting trophies was a popular pastime for aristocrats and rulers of princely and feudal states.

But after Independence, the Wildlife Protection Act was enacted imposing stringent penalties on hunting.

"Climbing up the tower in Bhitarkanika was a memorable experience. I was amazed to watch the scenic beauty from the top, but the tower needs renovation," said Rajendra Mishra, a tourist.


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