On October 18 – during Chotti Diwali – when Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath lighted over 2 lakh earthen lamps at the banks of river Saryu he asked why previous governments have not made an attempt to promote Ayodhya as a tourist centre. The question has kindled hopes of local people and now they see a future of Ayodhya in Ram temple / Ram Mandir and emergence of the city as a religious tourist centre.
Hindus and Muslims
“This goes without saying that Ayodhya has historic importance but no one used that history for economic gains. This is unfortunate that people have used History for political gains. The parties – both Hindus and Muslims – have grown in stature but Ayodhya is languishing,” Manish Kulshreshtha, a historian turned social activist said.
Suresh Kumar Singh, a student in Saket Degree College in Faizabad said that no one can disown lord Ram’s association with Ayodhya and Youth is inclined to Ram Temple. The Temple is okay with us but we also need job and employment opportunity. The Government should look for an avenue to make the area prosperous, he said.
Ayodhya can be second Somnath
“Chief Minister had said that it will be promoted as a tourist place. If we have a Ram temple Ayodhya can be second Somnath. The region will prosper and local people will get employment,” he said. “People should find an amicable solution to this issue. Ram Mandir belongs to Ayodhya but Muslims should also realize that if the temple comes up in this city they will also get employment.
He is not off the mark. The Muslims of Ayodhya from the supply chain of the needs of temples. The Muslims are the suppliers of flowers and some of them even stitch clothes of Lord Ram, Lakshman and Sita and other deities.
Most Popular Tourism
The official record suggests that over 30 lakh pilgrims visit Ram Temple annually – this figure does not include the crowd that regularly comes in Melas. People from across the country India –particularly from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bengal, Delhi & South India visit Temple for paying obeisance at local temples.
“This is a huge number and can help in reviving the economy of the region. Why not develop Ayodhya in lines of Varanasi and Allahabad. It is important for Hindus as Varanasi is. The difference is Kashi symbolizes `moksha’ (salvation) while Ayodhya symbolizes `Karma’- which asks people to fulfil his `Putra dharma’ and `karma dharma’. This is a matter of debate whether we have that kind of infrastructure to call Ayodhya a destination of religious tourism,” Dr Paresh Pandey, Associate Professor in Saket Degree College said.
Footfall of pilgrims
“The fact is we do not have a proper hotel in Ayodhya despite having such a good footfall of pilgrims. The Dharamshala are of poor quality. Only good hotels are found in Faizabad and that very few in number,” Dr Pandey said. “Imagine having hotels with river-facing rooms or rooms facing Ram temple/ Ram Mandir. This will add to religious tourism and people will start flocking Ayodhya,” he said.
Inder Adhana said that every second month you have a religious festival in the form of meals stretching from Magh to Kartik Purnima Mela. This means are organized at the bank of river Saryu and are a source of income for the people and small traders, he said.
Also Read: 10 Things To Do in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia