The Yogi Adityanath government has proposed to build a 'grand statue' of Lord Ram on the banks of Saryu river in Ayodhya, according to reports. It is being planned as part of the Navya Ayodhya project which is seen as an initiative by the Uttar Pradesh government to promote religious tourism.
The proposal was presented by Principal Secretary of Tourism, Awinash Awasthi, to Governor Ram Naik, according to the press communique released by Raj Bhavan. The Indian Express reported that the presentation also included information on programmes scheduled for Diwali celebrations in Ayodhya on 18 October.
The statue is proposed at a height of 100 metres but Awasthi said that this was a concept proposal and the letter to NGT for clearance is yet to be sent.
A "deepotsav" will be organised on 'Ram Ki Paidi' where 1.71 lakh earthen lamps will be lit, Awasthi said.
Prominent building and ghats will also be illuminated to attract tourists. The objective of the entire programme will be to promote Ayodhya, the birth place of Lord Ram, as a tourist destination.
A heritage walk, a yatra reminiscing return of Lord Ram to Ayodhya, and launch of several schemes by chief minister and other dignitaries will be part of the programme, the officer said.
A grand "aarti" of river Saryu will also be performed by the chief minister and the governor and a laser show will be held on the banks of the river.
During the programme, Ramlila will be staged by artists from Indonesia and Thailand.
The Union tourism ministry has sanctioned Rs 133.70 crore for making Ayodhya a tourism hub.
The money sanctioned will be utilised in renovating ghats, including Guptar ghat, where Lord Ram had taken 'Samadhi', installing CCTV cameras, making police booths, construction of guest houses for tourists and auditorium at Digamgar Akhara.
The budget presented by the Yogi government, which came to power in March, had special mention of Ayodhya, Varanasi and Mathura, earmarking Rs 1,240 crore for the Ramayan, Buddhist and Krishna circuits in these cities.
This move comes after the state government was widely criticised for omitting Taj Mahal in its recent tourism booklet namely 'Uttar Pradesh Paryatan-Apaar Sambhavnayen'. The booklet, published to mark six months of the Yogi Adityanath government, was released on World Tourism Day on 27 September. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi invoked famous Hindi writer Bhartendu Harishchandra to describe the Uttar Pradesh government and Adityanath as "andher nagari, chaupat raja".
Yogi's decision to build a Lord Ram statue is keeping in line with BJP's obsession with statues. Prior to this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for a memorial to Maharashtra icon Chhatrapati Shivaji in the Arabian sea. Slated to be 190 metres tall, the statue along with a pedestal and foundation would be taller than New York's Statue of Liberty.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is a torchbearer of courage, bravery & good governance. #ShivSmarak is a fitting tribute to him & his greatness.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 24, 2016
Meanwhile, in Gujarat, the state government is constructing a colossal statue of Sardar Vallabhai Patel. The statue will be 182 metres tall and was announced in 2013 by then chief minister Narendra Modi.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Nov 16, 2017 18:29 PM