Ayodhya glittered with a record 5.5 lakh diyas presenting a spectacular view on Diwali eve on Saturday. UP Governor Anandi Ben Patel, Union Minister Prahlad Joshi, and UP Yogi Adityanath led the battery of ministers to participate in Deepotsav, the festival of lights in Ayodhya. The CM welcomed the symbolic Lord Ram, Sita, and Lakshman who descended at the banks of river Saryu by a 'pushapk viman' recreating the 'Treta Yug', the period when Lord Ram ruled.
The CM performed the 'Rajyabhishek ' (coronation) at a stage erected as an imitation of the 'courtroom of a grand palace' at Ram Katha Park and performed 'maha aarti' of Lord Ram, Sita, and Lakshman. This was followed by Ramlila performances thereafter. Moreover, a 'Ram Darbar' was installed at the Ram Ki Paidi ghat also.
This year, of the 5.50 lakh lamps,around 4 lakh were lit at Ram Paidi, while the rest at other religiouslocations in the city. A team from the Guinness Book of World Records was alsopresent to document the feat. Sharing his love and allegiance to the templetown, CM Yogi claimed that previous dispensations used to avoid visitingAyodhya but he had visited the temple town at least over a dozen times duringthe last two and a half years of his tenure.
In the morning tableau procession ofLord Rama was organised depicting various acts of the life and times of LordRam since his birth till his return to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana. In thetableau procession taken out on 11 chariots, artists from various parts of thecountry narrated Ram Lila through folklore while passing through various routesacross the temple town.
But organising Deepotsav in Ayodhya on such a large scale, the UP government endeavours to give a hard push to the religious tourism in the state. As per sources, over Rs 130 crore was allocated by the government for the preparations this time. "The vision behind Deepotsav is not just spiritual, but also boosting tourism in the area," said a senior BJP leader.
In the last cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Deepotsav Mela was granted the status of State fair by the government. With this change in status, deepotsav will now be planned by the District Magistrate of Ayodhya instead of the Tourism Department annually. The CM dedicated 15 mega projects worth Rs 373.69 crore to the people of the holy city during the Deepotsav program on Saturday.
Ayodhya had broken a Guinness World Record 6 November 2018, by lighting 3.51 lakh earthen lamps and keeping them burning for at least 45 minutes on the banks of the river Saryu as part of Diwali celebrations. Meanwhile, restrictions under Section 144 were imposed on Ayodhya until 10 December in anticipation of the Supreme Court's verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi dispute case.