Ayodhya: A City of Glory
According to Ramcharitmanas, Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Ram, was once a magnificent city known for its beauty and grandeur. It boasted well-planned layouts with towering buildings, temples, and lush gardens. The Sarayu River ensured an abundant water supply, and its strong economy attracted traders from far and wide. Ayodhya was a thriving center for arts, crafts, and cultural activities, with numerous learned sages and saints calling it home. Education and spirituality were deeply intertwined with the city’s identity, making it one of the greatest cities in the world at that time. However, over the course of thousands of years, Ayodhya’s glory waned. But now, through an investment of thousands of crores of rupees, the lost splendor of Ayodhya is being revived. The city is undergoing a remarkable transformation into a world-class destination. In this blog, we will take you on a journey to witness the magical revival of Ayodhya.
The Majestic Ram Mandir
At the heart of Ayodhya’s transformation lies the magnificent Ram Mandir, the temple dedicated to Lord Ram. The temple’s features are truly mesmerizing. Built in the Nagara architectural style, the temple will stand tall at 161 feet with a width of 250 feet and a total length of 380 feet. It will have three floors, each 20 feet high, adorned with 44 gates and 392 intricately carved pillars depicting various gods and goddesses. The temple will be built on a platform known as “jagati,” following the principles of Vastu Shastra. Access to the temple will be facilitated by 32 stairs, each 16 feet wide, as well as ramps and lifts for the disabled and elderly. The idol of Ram Lalla will be enshrined in the adytum, opposite the entrance. Five halls, namely Kudu Mandap, Niritya Mandap, Rang Mandap, Kirtan Mandap, and Prarthana Mandap, will be situated between the adytum and the entrance. These mandaps will serve as large halls for prayers, hymns, and other rituals. The temple’s pinnacle, known as “Shikhara,” will grace the highest point of the Garbhagriha. Surrounding the Ram Mandir, a rectangular boundary called Parkota will span 2,400 feet in length and 14 feet in width. Four temples dedicated to Surya Dev, Maa Bhagwati, Ganpati, and Lord Shiva will be built at the corners of the Parkota. Maa Annapurna and Hanuman ji will also have dedicated temples on the northern and southern sides, respectively. It is important to note that the temple complex covers approximately 70 acres, but only 30% of the area is currently under construction. The remaining 70% comprises trees and plants, contributing to environmental conservation efforts.
Facilities for Devotees
To cater to the needs of the devotees, the Ram Mandir Trust has implemented various facilities. The temple complex includes lockers and a hospital with a capacity of accommodating 25,000 people. Language experts have been appointed to assist visitors who speak different Indian languages as well as foreign languages. These experts will ensure a seamless experience for all visitors, enhancing the spiritual journey for devotees from across the country and around the world.
Ayodhya’s Infrastructure Developments
Ayodhya’s transformation extends beyond the Ram Mandir. The city’s infrastructure has undergone significant improvements to facilitate the influx of visitors. The Ayodhya Dham Junction Railway Station, constructed at a cost of 240 crores, offers state-of-the-art facilities such as washrooms, food plazas, waiting halls, escalators, and elevators. The station’s design is inspired by the temple itself, featuring Nagara-style Shikharas on the building’s rooftop and a central dome resembling Lord Ram’s crown. The Ayodhya Dham station is comparable to an airport, and new Amrit Bharat and Vande Bharat trains have been launched from this station. Ayodhya is also home to a brand-new international airport, named Maharshi Valmiki International Airport. The airport’s design draws inspiration from the Ram Mandir and showcases a blend of tradition and modernity. With features such as fountains, rainwater harvesting systems, solar power plants, and water and sewage treatment facilities, the airport has earned a GRIHA-5-star rating for environmental sustainability. The airport’s interior reflects the life of Lord Ram through local art and paintings, creating a seamless transition into the city of Ayodhya. The development of road infrastructure is also underway in Ayodhya. The Ayodhya-Jagdishpur NH-330 Highway and Ayodhya-Akbarpur-Baskhari 4-Lane Highway are being constructed to improve national-level connectivity. A 70-kilometer-long ring road is being built around Ayodhya at an estimated cost of 4,000 crores. Additionally, paths named Ram Path, Lakshman Path, Dharma Path, Bhakti Path, Shraddha Path, and Brahman Path are being constructed to enhance accessibility to the Ram Mandir. A world-class bus station with a budget of 400 crores is also in the works. Waterways have also been incorporated as a means of transportation to Ayodhya. The upcoming water metro, set to be launched by PM Modi, will connect Ayodhya to Varanasi. These air-conditioned water metros will provide a unique and affordable travel experience for up to 50 passengers at a time.
Accommodation and Hospitality
To accommodate the influx of visitors, various initiatives have been taken to provide comfortable lodging options in Ayodhya. Tent cities are being constructed at different locations, offering affordable accommodation for thousands of people. Luxury tent cities are also available, providing a premium experience for those seeking a more lavish stay. Additionally, the UP Government has planned to add approximately 25,000 hotel rooms in Ayodhya. Land auctions have been conducted, attracting hotel chains ranging from budget to 5-star establishments. OYO, Taj Group, Marriott International, Sarovar Hotels, Wyndham Group, and Radisson are among the prominent players investing in Ayodhya’s hospitality sector. Furthermore, rest homes, homestays, and guest houses will be available to cater to budget travelers. The goal is to provide a range of options that suit the diverse needs and preferences of visitors.
Ayodhya: India’s Global Spiritual Capital
The government’s vision for Ayodhya extends beyond its physical transformation. Ayodhya aims to become a global spiritual capital, showcasing India’s rich culture and traditions to the world. The city’s entrance gates, inspired by the temple’s architecture, create a grand and immersive experience for visitors. A total of six gates, named after characters from the Ramayana, will welcome visitors into the city. These gates will be equipped with amenities such as parking lots and restaurants. A temple museum spanning 50 acres is also under construction in Ayodhya. The museum’s objective is to provide insights into the history and significance of major temples across India. Visitors will learn about the reasons behind the construction of specific temples, their architectural philosophy, and the various forms of worship associated with them. Ayodhya aims to inspire visitors of all ages by showcasing the life of Lord Ram and the profound impact of the Ramayana on Indian culture. In addition to the temple museum, Ayodhya will feature a unique attraction known as Ram Land, India’s version of Disneyland. Ram Land will use technology to bring the stories of Lord Ram to life, recreating the locations mentioned in the Ramayana. The park will offer ultra-modern rides, immersive experiences, and entertainment options that blend education with fun. The city of Ayodhya will also be home to the world’s tallest statue, surpassing Gujarat’s Statue of Unity. The 823-feet-tall statue of Lord Ram will be a monumental landmark, further highlighting Ayodhya’s significance as a cultural and spiritual hub.
Preserving and Showcasing Ayodhya’s Heritage
Ayodhya’s transformation extends to the revitalization of the Sarayu River and the preservation of its heritage. The Sarayu River Front is undergoing a comprehensive redevelopment project worth 300 crores. Additionally, two solar-powered mini cruise ships named Ramayana Vessels will operate on the Sarayu River, providing a luxurious experience for travelers. These cruises will cover significant landmarks such as Guptar Ghat, Raj Ghat, Laxman Ghat, Ram Ghat, and Lakshmi Ghat, offering a journey through Ayodhya’s rich history. Houseboats are also planned for the future, allowing visitors to enjoy the serene beauty of the Sarayu River. Ayodhya is renowned for its grand Deepavali celebrations, which attract people from around the world. In the Deepotsav event of 2023, more than 22 lakh lamps were lit on 51 ghats by 25,000 volunteers, setting a Guinness World Record. The event featured a grand laser show and a captivating drone show. Ayodhya aims to expand these celebrations, further enhancing its reputation as the epicenter of Diwali festivities. In the quest to provide a holistic experience, Ayodhya focuses on the smallest details. Facade-controlled guidelines ensure that buildings along the main routes leading to the temple adhere to the temple’s theme. Buildings are uniformly painted in yellow, and shop shutters are adorned with Swastika and Tripund-like symbols. Ramayana-inspired paintings grace flyovers and building walls, and thematic street lighting and sculptures contribute to Ayodhya’s traditional ambiance.
Ayodhya: A Blend of Tradition and Modernity
Ayodhya’s transformation strikes a delicate balance between preserving ancient traditions and embracing modernity. The city is set to become the first solar city in Uttar Pradesh, aligning with Lord Ram’s association with the Sun Dynasty. The government’s vision is for Ayodhya to generate all its electricity from solar power. Solar panels will power heritage sites, over 80 government buildings, schools, public transport, purified drinking water kiosks, nearby shops, Sarayu River boats, and around 10,000 houses. The city will also feature solar trees equipped with LED lights, providing charging facilities for electronic devices. Ayodhya has been included in the UP Government’s Safe City Project. This initiative aims to enhance safety through the installation of thousands of CCTV cameras, modern control rooms, pink police booths to address female complaints, and panic buttons in buses. The city’s planning emphasizes waste management, free Wi-Fi, digital payments, and the use of technology in various areas, ensuring a seamless and modern experience for residents and visitors alike.
Ayodhya’s Economic Impact
Ayodhya’s revival not only rejuvenates the city but also has a positive impact on the entire economy of Uttar Pradesh. The development projects have created job opportunities for construction workers, guides, hotel staff, drivers, and various other sectors. Auto-taxi drivers, local shopkeepers, and hotels of all sizes are witnessing a significant boost in business. Real estate prices have surged, reflecting the growing demand for property in Ayodhya. The city’s transformation serves as a proud moment for India, elevating its soft power on the global stage.
Ayodhya: A Remarkable Journey
Ayodhya’s transformation from an ancient city to a world-class destination is a testament to India’s rich cultural heritage and its commitment to preserving and showcasing its traditions. The city’s revival will not only attract visitors from around the world but also strengthen India’s soft power and garner global recognition. As Ayodhya embarks on this remarkable journey, it is essential to appreciate the holistic approach taken in the city’s transformation. From infrastructure developments and accommodation facilities to preserving heritage and embracing modernity, Ayodhya aims to offer visitors an unforgettable experience. By blending tradition with modern amenities, Ayodhya is poised to become a beacon of spirituality, culture, and progress.