LUCKNOW: Responding to a long-standing demand for a resting place for pilgrims visiting Ayodhya, the UP government has decided not only to grant Ayodhya the first-of-its-kind Bhajan Sandhya Sthal, an amphitheatre on 3 acres of land in the heart of the temple town, but also a state-of-the-art Ram Katha Sangrahayala and Art gallery, a hospital and a sports stadium, among others amenities.
The decision comes at a time when the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has raised the pitch for construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya and used it as a breeding ground for spreading the saffron ideology in other parts of the country. In a silent counter to the VHP’s overtly communal activities, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has, instead, decided to adopt an ear-to-the-ground approach and addressed needs of people in Ayodhya and Faizabad.
Confirming the government’s decision to strengthen the infrastructure facilities in Ayodhya and Faizabad, Faizabad district magistrate Anil Dhingra said the measures have been initiated by the government to boost tourism and to ensure pilgrims visiting the temple town enjoy a comfortable trip. “The government has earmarked a 3-acre plot at Naya Ghat, the main ghat in Ayodhya, for the construction of the bhajan sthal. This is the first-of-its-kind facility built for pilgrims visiting Ayodhya. The design is still being finalised,” Dhingra said.
Apart from the ‘bhajan sthal,’ where tired pilgrims will rest as well as listen to devotional music, government has also decided to spruce up Ayodhya’s Ram Katha museum. The existing museum, housed within a rented building near Naya Ghat, contains relics and old archival materials pertaining to Ayodhya. Seeing the tourist potential in improving the display, culture department of the state has sanctioned a new Ram Katha Sangrahayala and Art Gallery. Dhingra said, “Construction of the new museum is already complete. The Housing development board has now taken over the building to do up its interiors. The shifting of the museum will also begin shortly.”
With the chief minister scheduled to visit Ayodhya for an official inauguration ceremony around January 15, the administration is also working overtime to complete construction of a 300-bed hospital and a sports stadium in Faizabad, a 10km distance from the temple town. While emergency and OPD services have already been kickstarted, a badminton court, boy’s hostel and basketball court have been made functional in the stadium. The district administration confirmed that 200 of the 300-bed hospital have been made functional. Also, a football field and a cricket ground have also been factored in as a part of the stadium being built in Faizabad. These, however, the DM said, may not be completed by the time the CM visits.