Sundargarh. An undulating table land of different elevations, broken up by rugged hill ranges and cut off by the territorial hill streams and rivers is one of the few districts in Orissa, which is endowed with the bounties of natural beauty and mineral wealth. Until the establishment of the Rourkela steel Plant, the district was relatively calm and quite. The cultural activities of the tribes are gradually changing due to their contact with the cosmopolitan city of Rourkela. A visit to the district enables one to have a glimpse of the ancient tribal culture amidst the modern excitements of the science and technology.
A few interesting places of the district from the tourist point of view are mentioned below:
Rourkela. A place with a natural setting, girdled by a green range of hills and encircled by rivers, Rourkela has come into prominence with the establishment in 1955 of the first of the three Public Sector Plants set up in India. It is one of the most modern steel plants deploying the latest technology in smelting steel. Spread over an area of about 45 sq. kms., this is the biggest planned town in Orissa which exudes an air of friendliness and tranquillity and has become the nerve centre of all social and cultural activities of the district. Other attractions in the town include the beautifully landscaped Indira gandhi Park with a zoo and a lake and the fertilizer complex attached to the steel plant. The S.E. railways passes through Panposh and Sundargarh Sub-divisions of the district with the biggest station at Rourkela which has direct connection with New Delhi, Calcutta, Bombay, Chennai, Itanagar, Bokaro, puri and a number of important places in the country. By road, it is connected with all important towns in the State by all weather good motorable roads. There are regular interstate and intrastate bus service to and from Rourkela. It is 470 kms. from Bhubaneswar via. Kendujhar and 192 kms. from Sambalpur. Taxis, autorickshaws and town buses are available for internal transport.
Vedavyas. Situated on the confluence of the river Sankha and Koel, which thereafter from the river Brahmani, Vedavyas is not only a place of natural beauty but also is considered a Tritha a place of religious sanctity. A dip in the confluence is belied to wash away all sins. Tradition has it that Vyasadeva, the reputed sage, lived here and composed the great epic Mahabharat. There are three temples here, two dedicated to Lord Siva and one to Rama. A Vedic Ashram and a school on the lines of Gurukula Ashram are the added attractions of the place. An ideal picnic spot, it is 5 kms. from Panposh and 15 kms from Rourkela with an all weather road. Nearest Railway Station is at Panposh (5 kms.) and Rourkela (15 kms.). Connected by all-weather road from Raurkels. Regular bus service is available from Rourkela.
Mandira : Known for the damacross the river Sankha, constructed for supply of water to Rourkela and other places in the vicinity, it presents a picturesque sight. Permission to enter the dam site is issued by an officer at the main entrance. Boating facilities are also available in the lake on prior arrangement with the dam authorities. 32 kms. from Rourkela, it is a nice place for holidaying. Nearest railway station is at Rourkela which is 32 kms. off. All weather road is from Rourkela is available. There is no regular bus service but, taxis and autorickshaws are available from Rourkela at reasonable rates.
Khandadhar : Amidst thick jungles, Khandadhar is a glittering waterfall created by a perennial rivulet called Korapani Nala within a few kms. of its origin. 244 meters in height it is said to be the highest waterfall in Orissa. 19kms. from Bonaigarh, it is approachable by a fair-weather road but the last twokms. is negotiablke, only on foot. However, the strain one takes on the ardous journey is soon forgotten by the unthinkable scenic beauty the waterfall provides around. Nearby the local tribals worship a deity known as Goddess Kanta. Nearest rail head is at Rourkela (104 kms.) All-weather road upto Bonaigarh is available and the last 2kms. is negotiable on foot.
Chatri Hill : Located at a distance of 60 kms. from Sundargarh (20 kms. on fair-weather road branching off the main road connecting Sundargarh and Rourkela at a place called Bargaon) the unique features of the hill are that it is a monollithic one totally barren of trees, buses and pebbles. Some caves and some ancient paleographic marks are also found on the hill.
Ghogar : A gorge on river Ib, is situated 13 kms. to the north of Sundargarh town and is popular as a picnic spot. After the rainy season, when the water level of Ib comes down, the river passes through a narrow stone bed extending over five kms. The beautiful gorge with its sylvan attracts may visitors. There is a natural Sivalinga of black granite at the site, where Sivsratri festival is observed.
Dargeen and Deodhara : 56 kms. from Rourkela on National Highway 23, it is a beautiful space on the river Brahmni ideal for picnic. 2 kms. away approachable on foot is deodhara a gorge on the river.
Junagarh : 4 kms. and 15kms. from Hemg and Kanika respectively, it is a fort of historical and archaeological importance with some ancient caves and having marks of Tantra Worship.