The Yogi Adityanath-led government in Uttar Pradesh is planning to install a grand statue of Lord Ram in a warrior pose on the River Saryu in Ayodhya, as part of a plan to put the temple town on the religious tourism map.
The senior most official of the state tourism department said the statue will come up in Ayodhya, considered a political cornerstone after the Babri Mosque there was destroyed by a Hindu mob in 1992 to build a temple in its place, only after the National Green Tribunal gives a clearance to the project.
Principal secretary Avnish Kumar Awasthi, who is in Ayodhya, said that 100-metre statue is just at the conceptual level and will be on “the pattern of Ram’s statue at Bali and statue of Shiva in Mauritius and “may be installed in the future if the appropriate proposal will be obtained.”
Awasthi made an elaborate presentation before governor Ram Naik on Monday about the details of the integrated tourism development programme that will cost approximately Rs 195.89 crore and the grand Diwali celebrations in Ayodhya this year. Of this, Rs 133.70 crore has been sanctioned by the Union government.
Awasthi said in the presentation titled, Nav Ayodhya, a deepotsav will be organised in Ayodhya at Ram Ki Paidi on October 18, a day before the Hindu festival of lights.
Over 171,000 earthen lamps will be lit to celebrate the festival that marks the return of Ram to Ayodhya after an exile of 14 years in the presence of governor Naik, Adityanath, state tourism minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi, Union minister of state for tourism Alphons Kannanthanan, and Union culture minister Mahesh Sharma.
This will be Adityanath’s third visit to Ayodhya after becoming the chief minister.
He added that a grand procession symbolising Ram’s return will be taken out and will be received by Adityanath at the Ram Katha Park.
Mahant Nritya Gopal Das of Mani Ram Das Chavni Peeth is likely to lead the procession, being taken out for the first time during Diwali in Ayodhya. Hundreds of saffron-clad saints will participate and the whole of Ayodhya will be decked up for the occasion.
A symbolic rajyabhishek or a coronation ceremony has also been planned.
After the ceremony, the governor and chief minister will lay the foundation stone for various development projects in the temple town and then participate at the aarti on the banks of Saryu.
A 30-minute laser show on Ram’s journey from Ayodhya to Lanka at the Saryu ghat, also known as Naya ghat, will be the highlight. Artists from Indonesia and Thailand will also stage Ramlila, the popular drama that enacts the Hindu deity’s battle to kill the 10-headed demon king to rescue his wife Sita.
But the disputed site that remains India’s most potent religious flashpoint will be left untouched during the celebrations.
This flamboyant decision steps in right after the UP govt. blacked out Taj Mahal from the tourist spots list in the state’s tourist guide book. This move however questions the very nature of the Yogi govt. which is not appearing secular in any way, whatsoever.