Centre, Uttar Pradesh plan to develop Ayodhya as a big tourist centre

Expecting nearly 100,000 pilgrims a day at the Shree Ram Janmabhoomi temple once it is ready by the end of 2023 or 2024, the Uttar Pradesh government and the Centre are working on a plan to develop Ayodhya as a big centre of tourist, economic and ...

Agencies
New Delhi: Expecting nearly 100,000 pilgrims a day at the Shree Ram Janmabhoomi temple once it is ready by the end of 2023 or 2024, the Uttar Pradesh government and the Centre are working on a plan to develop Ayodhya as a big centre of tourist, economic and religious activity.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the ground-breaking ceremony on Wednesday that the temple will not only increase the grandeur of Ayodhya but also “change the economy” of the region. “There will be new opportunities in this region. People will come here from the whole world for paying obeisance to Lord Ram and Mata Sita. So much will change here,” he said.

Officials said the mega plan will take shape simultaneously with the construction of the temple and will include an international Sri Ram Airport in Ayodhya, a modern railway station taking shape by next year, new religious tourism attractions like the world’s tallest statue of Lord Ram and development of the entire 84-mile perimeter area around the city as a religious destination. Several multi-level parkings, a network of widened highways and a two-km long elevated road leading to Ram janmabhoomi, underground cabling and deployment of electric vehicles to ferry people are on the anvil.


There is also a proposal to expand the area under the Ayodhya Development Authority to allow the coming up of hotels, restaurants and tourist-related infrastructure, along with development of banks on both sides of the Saryu river. Union ministries of tourism and road transport and highways are working with the state, and the Union tourism minister Pralhad Patel was in Ayodhya last week to discuss the matter, said officials.

On Wednesday, the PM also said that the temple should be a modern symbol of India’s heritage. Ashish Sompura, son of the temple’s original designer Chandrakant B. Sompura, told ET, “The first priority is the completion of the temple and the corridor till the temple. The plan for that is ready. We are the architects and Larsen & Toubro will construct the temple. We are expecting about 80,000 to one lakh pilgrims daily once the temple is ready.”

The 70-acre land available for the temple premises will also see extensive development, with a 360-degree theatre to screen documentaries on the life of Lord Ram, museums, photo galleries, worship halls, a big food court, a laser sound-and-light show in a pond, solar lighting and an extensive green belt area, said people privy to the plan.
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A member of the temple trust, Swami Govind Giri, said the temple premises will be a mix of heritage and modernity and that the trust has a plan to expand the temple premises to 108 acres given the rush of pilgrims expected. “We will appeal to local people to donate their land for the temple premises or we will buy it from them through consultation,” said Giri.

Given the proposal for a new Ayodhya township, there is a plan to develop 60 religious spots along the 84-mile perimeter route around the holy city which is more than 250-km long and touches five adjoining districts. About 10 famous ponds in Ayodhya will be rejuvenated and multiple railway overbridges are planned on both the 84 Kosi Marg and the 14 Kosi Marg around Ayodhya to offer a hassle-free experience to pilgrims.
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