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Ayodhya basks in attention amid plans to develop it into tourist hotspot
Sunday November 16, 2014 6:52 PM, Mohit Dubey, IANS

It's where the 16th century Babri mosque once stood till it was controversially brought down in the early 1990s, ostensibly to build a temple to Lord Ram. Now, it's a race between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government and the Samajwadi Party (SP) government in Uttar Pradesh to outsmart each other to develop Ayodhya, one of the holiest and most visited religious tourist spots in the country for Hindus.

While for the BJP, the temple town is linked to its history and political rise, the state government is undertaking a slew of developmental projects to "snatch away", as it were, the city from the saffron camp! The BJP has an MP from Ayodhya, which is represented in the state assembly by a Samajwadi Party legislator.

And, nobody seems to be complaining here as crores of rupees are being pumped in for the town's makeover.

Restoration work is on at the Devkali temple (Rs.46.30 lakh), the Jwala temple (Rs.55.67 lakh) and the Hazrat Imbaim Shah Dargah (Rs.7.87 lakh. An ambitious blueprint has also been drawn up for the facelift of a memorial for legendary Korean queen Huh Wang-Ock. The memorial has a deep connect with India as it is beleived that the queen was an erstwhile princess from Ayodhya who went to Korea through the sea route some 2,000 years ago and went on to become a queen of the Karak dynasty.

The state government has also initiated a host of projects like beautification of the government park, installation of benches and driniking water facilities at the Rajghat, beautification of Rajkiya Tulsi Udyan and its lighting, construction of a gate at the Satsang Bhawan and a Rain Basera at a cost of Rs 242.04 lakh. Tourism officials said that Rs 25.73 lakh is being spent on building changing rooms at the Ghaghra-Saryu river banks. Public toilets are also coming up at five places at a cost of Rs 199.05 lakh.

The biggest and most ambitious project to be soon undertaken by the state tourism department is low cost dormitories.

"These would have facilities for quick washes and changes, overnight stays and lockers on a low cost basis," Amrit Abhijat, director general UP Tourism, told IANS, adding that it was felt that due to costing factors, domestic tourists were at a disadvantage.

A guided tour and a direct bus service between Ayodhya and Lucknow (135 km) will begin November 24.

Newly-inducted union minister of state for tourism and Noida MP Mahesh Sharma has also spoken to state chief secretary Alok Ranjan, assuring him all help to develop tourism in Ayodhya as well as in the state.

(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at


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