Berhampur: Flow of tourists to Daringbadi, described as `Kashmir of Odisha`, has gained momentum with the hill town in Kandhamal district experiencing cold wave. The night temperature at the picturesque tourist destination is hovering around four degree Celsius. "Several visitors are coming to Daringbadi every day. The flow of visitors has increased with mercury going down steadily," said Tourist Officer (Kandhamal) Manoranjan Das.
Besides cold temperature, vast patches of coffee plantation, scenic hills, pine jungles and `lovers` waterfall attract the tourists to Daringbadi. Tourism department has developed the site keeping tourists` priorities in mind.
Daringbadi, situated at an altitude of 280 metre above sea level, is the only place in the state which witnesses snowfall during peak winter. Around 400 domestic and foreign tourists visited the hill town last month, tourism department sources said.
"Tourists are not halting during night due to Maoist fear," said an officer. Last year, two Italian tourists were kidnapped by red rebels near Daringbadi.
Tourists prefer to spend the night either in Berhampur or district headquarters town of Phulbani, both about 100 km from the town in opposite directions.
"There is no restriction on visit of foreigners to Daringbadi. Tourists, who want to visit Belaghara, need to take permission from the district administration as people of Kutia Kandha tribe reside there. There was a restriction on visiting places inhabited by Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups after `human safari` controversy," he said.
The district administration has decided to develop infrastructure at Daringbadi to increase tourist footfall. "We propose to construct a coffee house, a children`s park and a 3D theatre at Daringbadi," said BDO (Daringbadi) S N Jena.
There are also plans to develop infrastructure facilities at Dasingbadi, another picturesque place with a pine jungle and a waterfall. Dasingbadi is about 17 km from Daringbadi, he said.
Similarly, the administration has also decided to develop the scenic spots Hatimunda and Kirikuti, about 40 and 20 km from Daringibadi respectively.
"However, we will not allow tourists to cook or play music at coffee plantation areas. Last year, visitors had destroyed the plantations and polluted the area," said the BDO.