The grand plan for Ayodhya’s development presented before Prime Minister Narendra Modi two weeks ago involves big projects like creating a ‘Ramayana Spiritual Forest’ in the PPP mode to depict stories from 14 years spent in exile by Lord Ram, a 65-km long Ring Road around Ayodhya and a 1,200-acre Vedic Township with state bhawans and foreign country bhawans on the lines of Chanakyapuri in Delhi.
News18 has accessed a copy of the presentation made before the PM that day. It envisions Ayodhya’s glory to be re-established with the historicity blending with the modern aspect of an AMRUT and SMART city, which is sustainable, modern, complying with natural laws and in absolute harmony with nature as a Vedic city.
“The dream is to make Ayodhya a foremost spiritual, religious and tourist city on the global stage, in line with Sanatan traditions and as a self-sustaining modern tourist place that strives for pollution free, zero waste, water abundant city with healthy soil, water and air,” the presentation by Uttar Pradesh government said.
“Ateet ki Bhavyta, Vartman ki Avasyakta aur bhavishya ki taiyari (restore past glory, factor in today’s necessities and prepared for the future)”, was the theme of the presentation. It stressed on the re-establishment of natural opulence of Ayodhya as the head of the Saptpuris (seven holy pilgrimage centers of India), recreating it as the “first smart Vedic city of the world” and build the template of overall ecological balance outside temple area to “revive glory of the lost city”.
The Dream Projects
The biggest projects are developing the ‘Maryada Pushottam Sri Ram International Airport’ and a world-class railway station to ensure comfort of pilgrims visiting Ayodhya. The presentation said various roads reaching Ayodhya will be converted into 4-lane and 6-lane highways and massive entry gates inspired by design of Ram Temple will greet commuters at six major entry routes to Ayodhya. The NHAI will soon also start work on a 65-km Ayodhya Ring Road.
An ambitious project mentioned in the presentation was creating a ‘Ramayana Spiritual Forest’ in Ayodhya near the Saryu river bank in Jamthara through the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Mode.
To be called the ‘Ram Smriti Van’, this full-pedestrian zone will showcase the stories in various forms from the 14 years spent in exile by Lord Ram, Sita and Lakshman. Also, a 1200-acre Vedic Township will come up in Ayodhya with Ashrams, five-star hotels, state bhawans and foreign country bhawans of countries which are willing (on the lines of Chanakyapuri and Diplomatic Enclave in Delhi) to house tourists coming from various states and across the world. The township will feature solar energy, electric vehicles and eco-friendly principles and will have a Brahm Sthan (Holy Spot) right in the middle which will be inspired from the Ram Temple’s dome.
Another ambitious project listed in the presentation was an International-level Panchkoshi Marg (circumambulation route) around Ayodhya with 208 spiritual sites, including Ghats, ponds, recreational spots and heritage sites. A cruise will start to run in river Saryu from Diwali this year. Thirteen-km long main roads inside Ayodhya will be widened and Ramayan-era trees will be planted on both sides of these roads, the presentation said. The Smart City project in Ayodhya will have automatic traffic management system and six multi-level parkings will be made.
Other major projects listed in the presentation include dharamshalas where 30,000 pilgrims can stay, developing both banks of the Saryu river, beautification of the Guptar Ghat to Janki Ghat under the Swadesh scheme of the Union Tourism Ministry, reviving and beautifying 108 lakes and ponds of Ayodhya, setting up a grand tourist facility centre at Nayaghat and the upcoming Ram Katha Sanghralaya will be upgraded now to a world-class digital museum.
Economic nodes will also be developed around Ayodhya along with a spiritual and cultural zone, an International Airport Gateway and linking Ayodhya to local tourism circuits with Gorakhpur, Varanasi and Prayagraj as well as including Ayodhya in the Ramayana Circuit and the Saptpuri circuit (that includes Haridwar, Dwarka, Varanasi and Ujjain) to increase tourist inflow to Ayodhya.
The presentation said the projects are all very ambitious but “the way the Ram Setu was built taking the words of Lord Ram, Ayodhya’s development works will also be completed in a similar manner by Lord Ram’s blessings.” Remarking on the presentation then and the plans, PM Narendra Modi had said that the coming generations should feel the desire to visit Ayodhya at least once in their lifetime.