Gandhamardan Hill

March 24, 2023

Recently, the state government of Odisha declared the Gandhamardan Hill Range in Bargarh and Balangir district as a Biodiversity Heritage Site (BHS).

About Gandhamardan Hill:

  • The Gandhamardan hill (Gandhamardan Reserve Forest) spreads in Bargarh and Balangir districts in Odisha.
  • This ecologically fragile ecosystem is rich in floral and faunal diversity and is protected under the Odisha Biodiversity Rules - 2012.
  • What is the Significance?The hill range has a diverse socio-economic, ecological and biological significance for the people of Odisha.
  • This hill consists of medicinal plants, the hill system is considered the 'Ayurvedic paradise' of Odisha.
  • The hills have 2 historical monuments (hill shrines) which are major pilgrimage sites of Odisha.
    • Nrusinghanath temple is located on the northern slope.
    • Harishankar temple on the southern side.
  • In his chronicles, Hiuen Tsangdescribed the hill shrine as a Buddhist heritage site named 

What are Biodiversity heritage sites?

  • These are well-defined areas that are unique, ecologically fragile ecosystems with a high diversity of wild and domesticated species, the presence of rare and threatened species, and keystone species.
  • Legal Provision: As per provision under Section 37(1) of ‘The Biological Diversity Act, 2002’, The State Government may, from time to time in consultation with the local bodies, notify the Official Gazette, of areas of biodiversity importance as under this Act.