The Yogi Adityanath government plans to install a statue of Lord Rama on banks of the River Saryu and organise a grand Diwali this time in Ayodhya by illuminating the town and lighting 1.71 lakh earthen diyas.
The statue will be installed only after clearance from the National Green Tribunal, Principal Secretary Tourism Awanish Awasthi said.
A series of programmes have been scheduled for October 18 to celebrate Diwali in the town. A “deepotsav” will be organised on ‘Ram Ki Paidi’ where 1.71 lakh earthen lamps will be lit, he said while giving a presentation to Governor Ram Naik on Monday.
Prominent building and ghats will also be illuminated to attract tourists.
The objective of the entire programme will be to promote Ayodhya, the birth place of Lord Rama, as a tourist destination.
A heritage walk, a yatra reminiscing return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya, and launch of several schemes by chief minister and other dignitaries will be part of the programme, the officer said.
A grand “aarti” of River Saryu will also be performed by the chief minister and the governor and a laser show will be held on the banks of the river.
During the programme, Ramlila will be staged by artists from Indonesia and Thailand.
The Union tourism ministry has sanctioned Rs 133.70 crore for making Ayodhya a tourism hub.
The money sanctioned will be utilised in renovating ghats, including Guptar Ghat, where Lord Rama had taken ‘samadhi’, installing CCTV cameras, making police booths, construction of guest houses for tourists and auditorium at Digamgar Akhara.
Good facilities should be provided to tourists, the governor said.
“On Diwali, a grand programme will be held in Ayodhya in which sadhu-saints will also participate. I will also invite the governor for this,” Adityanath has said recently in Gorakhpur.
The budget presented by the Yogi government, which came to power in March, had special mention of Ayodhya, Varanasi and Mathura, earmarking Rs 1,240 crore for the Ramayan, Buddhist and Krishna circuits in these cities.
Earlier in May, the state government had re-started popular Ram Leela in Ayodhya at the Ayodhya Research Centre, after a hiatus of 17 months.
The practice of holding Ram Leela in Ayodhya was started by the then Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav in May 2004 but was stopped during Akhilesh Yadav’s regime after the culture department refused to grant aid for the same.
The Yogi government has re-started the shows after sanctioning a handsome budget for the Ram Leela.
Adityanath has visited Ayodhya at least twice after assuming office and launched several projects worth crores of rupees for the city.