A senior BJP leader on Saturday said the Centre is spending over Rs 84 crore for development of Sudh Mahadev and Mantalai -- ancient religious monuments and temples in Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir.
BJP national vice-president and incharge of J&K Avinash Rai Khanna said the Union tourism ministry under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme has sanctioned the "Integrated Development of Tourist facilities at Mantalai-Sudh Mahadev-Patnitop under Himalyan Circuit."
Sudh Mahadev, located 112 km from Jammu, houses a Shiva temple which is believed to be nearly 3,000 years old, having a black marble idol of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, besides a trishul.
The mystical underground stream, Devak, believed to be as sacred as the Ganges originates at Sudh Mahadev and disappears among the rocks some distance downstream.
A few kilometers ahead of Sudh Mahadev is Mantalai surrounded by deodar forests. As per legend, it is the place where Lord Shiva got married to goddess Parvati.
"As Mantalai and Sudh Mahadev have treasures of rich ancient religious monuments and temples, they would naturally prove to be hub of religious pilgrimage as well," he said.
Referring to an official communication received by him from Union Minister of State, Tourism and Culture Prahlad Singh Patel, in response to his letter regarding development of Sudh Mahadev and Mantalai, Mr Khanna said the project would not only attract tourists but will boost economy of the local populace.
He said the major components covered under Mantalai includes landscaping and beautification, lightening, illumination, solid waste management, signage, development of internal pathway, tourist facilitation centre, security fencing, open air amphitheatre with green rooms and tensile roofing, walking and jogging track, gender based toilet, CCTV cameras, guard rooms, rain shelter and solar power for Rs 82.16 crore.
The major components covered under Sudh Mahadev includes tourist cafeteria with hall and waiting area and benches, landscaping and beautification and solar lighting for Rs 1.97 crore, the BJP leader said.