In a major move that is set to put the birthplace of Lord Ram on the global religious tourism map, the Yogi government is planning a Navya Ayodhya alongside the ancient city. This new township will be spread over 500 acres and will cost around Rs 1200 crores.
The project has already been approved by the tourism department and has been forwarded to the state government for its final approval. The project is being reportedly prepared by London-based consultancy firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers. The township is going to be built around 10 km from the ancient town and is set to consist of several facilities such as five-star hotels, riverside resorts, multi-storey buildings —both commercial and residential —and underground systems for drainage and electric wiring.
The township has been planned to utilize the potential of Ayodhya to attract global religious tourism. Last year merely 24,000 of 1.7 crore tourists who visited Ayodhya were foreigners. A senior tourism department official said, “There is immense potential in Ayodhya to attract tourists from across the world for being the birthplace of Lord Ram. It needs to be tapped and promoted.” Ayodhya district magistrate, Anil Pathak also highlighted the need and significance of a new and modern township. He stated that Ayodhya is too congested and densely populated to be modernized and beautified. Sources have stated that site for land acquisition has already been identified.
Apart from sprawling hotels, riverfront resorts and multi-storied buildings, one special feature of the new township would be studio apartments called Mukti Dham. People can choose to stay here and spend the last days of their life near the birthplace of Lord Ram. The apartments would be priced at Rs. 25 lakh but people can also stay there after paying Rs. 5 lakh and in such a case, the apartment will be taken back by the civic authority after the resident’s death.
This is not for the first time that chief minister Yogi Adityanath has taken a bold move to revive the glory of the ancient city. Ever since the BJP stormed to power in Uttar Pradesh, CM Yogi has worked towards reviving the glory of Ayodhya. Shortly after assuming the office of Uttar Pradesh chief minister, he visited the birth city of Lord Ram and became the first chief minister to do so after 2002. He not only offered prayers at the Ram Janambhoomi site but also performed rituals at the banks of the Saryu River and promised to beautify ghats of the historic river apart from holding a grand Sarayu Mahotsav. On the eve of Diwali last year, chief minister Yogi Adityanath organized grand Diwali celebrations in Ayodhya. As per reports, a grand Ram statue is also likely to come up in Ayodhya. Apart from this, there are plans to have a Ram Katha gallery, and an auditorium in Digamber Akhara.
It is clear that chief minister Yogi Adityanath has realized the cultural and spiritual significance of Ayodhya. It is a significant centre of spiritualism not only for the people of Ayodhya but for the nation. He has also realized that there is an economic angle to this as well. Ayodhya is a historic city and as such has huge tourism potential which must be tapped. Without caring for political backlash, Yogi Government is on the path to revive the glory of Lord Ram’s birthplace.