As per the data recently furnished by the Ministry of Culture, Konark Sun temple in 2018-19 alone witnessed visits by 24.66 lakh tourists, which is fifth among most visited monuments in India.
The only four historical monuments which saw more visits than Konark included the Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Qutab Minar, and Agra Fort. The data claimed that this was much higher than the visits made to Ellora Caves, Golkonda Fort, the Charminar or other famous monumental sites in the country.
The ministry’s reply also claimed that the visits of tourists to Konark are increasing and so did the revenues with each passing year. According to the data, while 23.06 lakh visitors visited the site in 2016-2017 the numbers surged to 24.66 lakh in 2018-19 while the revenue from the visits also increased from Rs 6,74,41,610 in 2016-17 to Rs 9,36,58,160 in 2018-19.
The ministry claims that out of the 3,691 centrally protected monuments, 80 are from Odisha alone.
BJP MPs from Odisha of Friday urged Union Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel to include the Shree Jagannath Temple of Puri and the Sun Temple of Konark in the list of India’s Iconic Tourist Sites.