Diyas flicker on the banks of Saryu
Ayodhya hosts grand 'Deepotsav'
Chants of "Jai Shri Ram" echoed on the banks of the Saryu river as actors portraying the roles of Lord Rama and Sita arrived on a chopper decked up to resemble the mythological Pushpak Viman - in a recreation of Lord Rama's return from 14 years of exile to Ayodhya - as part of a grand 'Deepotsav' celebration, attended by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Uttar Pradesh governor Ram Naik and senior ministers were also in attendance for the event in the flower-bedecked and gaily lighted temple town on Wednesday evening.
Tonnes of flower petals were showered as the actors portraying the characters from the Ramayana arrived at the venue of the Ram Lila. As part of the Deepotsav, a record 1.73 lakh diyas or earthern lamps will be lighted on the banks of the Saryu.
The event is being hosted by the tourism department of the Uttar Pradesh government.
Ram Naik lauds Deepotsav gathering
"From the heaven above, Lord Rama must be looking down and wondering what has happened of his Ayodhya. But Sita must've told him today 'Look, so many people have gathered for Ayodhya. Lakhs have come here for Deepotsav. When you had come to this place, were there these many diyas lit up?'" said Uttar Pradesh governor.
Governor Ram Naik praises Yogi Adityanath
"In my opinion, this is a historic day. There is Uttar Pradesh government and there is Centre. There is Ganga and there is Yamuna. When these two met, this event could take place," said Naik.
Keshav Prasad Maurya eyes progress for Ayodhya
At the grand Diwali event in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said, "Those opposed to Lord Ram cannot stop us from developing Ayodhya".
Ready to power Ayodhya 24x7: Adityanath
"We are ready to electrify Ayodhya 24x7. This is Ram Rajya, where there is no discrimination. It was Ravan Rajya which would discriminate on the basis of caste or background," said Uttar Pradesh chief minister.
He added: "Diwali gives us opportunity to take oath for the betterment."
Adityanath slams Opposition
"There are people in this country who will oppose every good initiative. If I come to Ayodhya, they'll quesion that. If I don't come to Ayodhya, they'll say I'm scared of coming here," said Uttar Pradesh chief minister.
Adityanath raises pitch on progress of Ayodhya
"So that Ayodhya could get it's identity, and respect, we're all present here. I am grateful to all the saints and ministers and all supporters present here. Remember, Ayodhya ki itni abaadi hai, utne deep jalenge (The number of diyas to be lit today is the population of Ayodhya)," says Adityanath.
Dream of Ram Rajya in Uttar Pradesh: Yogi Adityanath
"The government has sanctioned Rs 133 crore for Ayodhya. We are taking efforts so that Uttar Pradesh becomes tourism hub for India and the world. Ayodhya has taught the lesson on humanity to the world," Adityanath said.
"There will be no home without electricity. Wahi Ram Rajya ho," he added.
We want to make Ayodhya best place in India: KJ Alphons
On his first visit to Ayodhya, Union tourism minister KJ Alphons said, "I am so happy because this is where Lord Rama blessed this land with his feet. We (Centre) have sanctioned Rs 133 crores for Ayodhya. We will sanction more funds, no problem at all. We are giving plenty of money to Varanasi. There is a project for Rs 430 crore, and that also will be sanctioned."
"We want to make Ayodhya —the holiest place— the best place in India," he added.
The Uttar Pradesh government is set to break the Guinness World Record for the largest display of oil lamps set by jailed Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh by lighting 1.71 lakh diyas (earthen-lamps) along the Saryu river on Wednesday evening.
The Dera chief lit 1.5 lakh diyas at an event on 23 September, 2016.
Yogi's grand Diwali in Ayodhya
Ahead of his visit, Yogi Adityanath told Times Now: "The event is aimed at sending out message that Diwali can be celebrated without pollution. We wish to organise and eco friendly Diwali that celebrates our culture."
This is for the first time chief minister will arrive at Saryu river.
The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh is set to install a statue of Lord Rama on banks of the River Saryu, and organise a grand Diwali on Wednesday in Ayodhya by illuminating the town and lighting 1.71 lakh earthen diyas.
A series of programmes have been scheduled for to celebrate Diwali this year in the town. A "deepotsav" will be organised on 'Ram Ki Paidi' where 1.71 lakh earthen lamps will be lit, Principal Secretary (Tourism) Awanish Awasthi said.
Prominent buildings and ghats in the area will also be illuminated to attract tourists.
The objective of the programme will be to promote Ayodhya, the birth place of Lord Rama, as a tourist destination.
A heritage walk, a yatra reminiscing the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya, and launch of several schemes by the 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 Governor Ram Naik, and a laser show will be held on the river's banks.
During the programme, Ramlila will be staged by artists from Indonesia and Thailand.
The Union tourism ministry has sanctioned Rs 133.70 crores for making Ayodhya a tourism hub.
The money sanctioned will be utilised in renovating ghats, including Guptar Ghat, where Lord Rama had taken 'Samadhi', installing CCTV cameras, making police booths, construction of guest houses for tourists and auditorium at Digamgar Akhara.
"On Diwali, a grand programme will be held in Ayodhya in which sadhu-saints will also participate. I will also invite the governor for this," Adityanath said recently in Gorakhpur.
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.
Earlier in May, the state government had re-started the popular Ram Leela at the Ayodhya Research Centre, after a hiatus of 17 months.
The practice of holding Ram Leela in Ayodhya was started by the former chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav in May 2004 but was stopped during Akhilesh Yadav's regime after the culture department refused to grant aid for the same.
The Yogi government has re-started the shows after sanctioning a handsome budget for the Ram Leela.
Adityanath has visited Ayodhya at least twice after assuming office and launched several projects worth crores of rupees for the city.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Oct 18, 2017 20:18 PM