Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Ayodhya 2.0: PM unveils new look temple town ahead of Ram temple consecration


Ayodhya: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in a festooned, festive Ayodhya on Saturday to unveil a ‘new look old’ city with an airport, a revamped train station and projects worth Rs 15,700 crore ahead of the consecration of the Ram temple next month, his day an artful blend of heritage, culture and development.

The flower-bedecked temple town, associated with the Ramayana for centuries and at the centrestage of modern day politics since the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, was the cynosure of attention as Modi said the strength of ‘vikas’ (development) and ‘virasat’ (heritage) would take India forward.

“The whole world is waiting for the historic moment of the ‘pran pratishtha’ ceremony in Ayodhya on January 22,” Modi said at a rally here while appealing to people to not come on the day itself.

Stressing that the business of people from across the country and the world coming to Ayodhya had started and would go on till eternity, the prime minister also appealed for a resolve to make town the cleanest in the country.

Addressing the meeting after inaugurating the Maharshi Valmiki airport and the redeveloped station named Ayodhya Dham from where he flagged off two Amrit Bharat and six Vande Bharat trains, some virtually, he appealed to all citizens to light diyas in their houses on January 22 so the whole country basks in the glory of the temple.

Marking January 22 as a special day, he also asked people to launch cleanliness drives at pilgrimage sites and temples across the country from Makar Sankranti on January 14 till the temple consecration day.

There was a time Lord Ram was “living under a tent”, but now he will get a concrete house like the four crore poor who got pucca houses, he said.

The Ujjwala scheme, he said, had transformed the lives of crores of mothers and sisters. Only 14 crore gas connections were given in five decades, but his government in a decade gave 18 crore, including 10 crore free of cost under the scheme, the prime minister pointed out.

Earlier in the day, he stopped by at the home of an Ujjwala beneficiary Meera Majhi. He met the family in her humble home and was also seen drinking a cup of tea.

Modi inaugurated, dedicated to the nation and laid the foundation stone of multiple development projects worth more than Rs 15,700 crore.

These comprise projects worth about Rs 11,100 crore for the development of the city and its surrounding areas, and those worth about Rs 4,600 crore related to other works in Uttar Pradesh.

The day in Ayodhya, which in 1992 catapulted to global headlines with the demolition of the Mughal-era Babri Masjid by a group of kar sevaks who believed it was built on the birthplace of Lord Ram, was one of dances, music and the many folk colours of Uttar Pradesh and other states.     

After he arrived in Ayodhya, Modi held a roadshow from the airport to the railway station and was greeted by hundreds of people lining alongside the route.

Modi greeted people from his car and at one point opened the door of his vehicle to wave back at them. People showered flower petals, waved BJP flags and raised slogans in his praise.

The prime minister also witnessed performances by cultural troupes along the route. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s office on Friday said that more than 1,400 performers would present folk art and cultural programmes on 40 stages along the route from the airport to the railway station.

While one group of women from Rajasthan danced the ‘Chakri’ to lilting tunes, another from Prayagraj performed the ancient folk dance ‘Dedhiya’.

“It is believed that women of Prayagraj danced the ‘Dedhiya’ when Ramji and others had returned from Lanka after Lanka Dahan. Now, Ram Lalla is also getting a new temple, so the divine feeling have come back, so this performance. As also to welcome the PM,” lead dancer Preeti Singh told PTI.

The inauguration of the airport and railway station took place after the roadshow.

After inaugurating the station, the prime minister took a tour of the facility. He was accompanied by Adityanath, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and others. Modi was briefed by Vaishnaw about the station, the facade of which is inspired by traditional temple architecture.

The Phase-I of the redeveloped station — Ayodhya Dham Junction Railway Station — has been completed at a cost of more than Rs 240 crore, officials said.

The three-storey railway station building is equipped with features such as lifts, escalators, food plazas, shops for puja needs, cloak rooms, child care rooms and waiting halls.

The station building is “accessible for all” and an “IGBC certified green station building”, according to officials

The prime minister visited the Lata Mangeshkar Chowk, where a giant-size veena has been installed. In keeping with the place and the mood, a bhajan by the late music queen played in the backdrop.

During the inauguration of the airport, Union Minister for Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Gen (Retired) VK Singh and Adityanath were among those who accompanied Modi.

The facade of the terminal building depicts the architecture of the upcoming Ram temple here, while its interiors are decorated with paintings and murals depicting the life of Lord Ram.

Phase-1 of the airport has been developed at a cost of more than Rs 1,450 crore, according to officials. The airport’s terminal building will have an area of 6,500 sqm, equipped to serve about 10 lakh passengers annually.

The airport will improve connectivity in the region, leading to a boost in tourism, business activities and employment opportunities, they said.


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