Building on the Supreme Court’s landmark verdict in the Ayodhya title dispute case, the Union tourism ministry’s Ramayana circuit may find more success in garnering interest among tourists.
The Uttar Pradesh government has already given a push to the construction of the airport in Ayodhya through the acquisition of 280 acres of land.
The state budget of 2019-20 had stressed on both the beautification and integrated development of major tourist places in Ayodhya. One of the objectives was to draw more foreign tourists.
With Ayodhya being at the heart of the Ramayana circuit, this project is also likely to attract more attention among tourists, especially foreigners. However, a senior official from the tourism ministry pointed out that the ancient city has been always popular with domestic tourists.
“It is difficult to say if there will be any direct impact of the verdict on the number of tourists that the Ramayana circuit draws. It has been a popular circuit,” the official said.
The Ramayana circuit is one of the 15 thematic circuits identified for development under the ministry’s Swadesh Darshan scheme.
The circuits identified include Ayodhya, Nandigram, Shringverpur & Chitrakoot in Uttar Pradesh; Sitamarhi, Buxar and Darbhanga in Bihar; Chitrakoot in Madhya Pradesh; Mahendragiri in Odisha; Jagdalpur in Chattisgarh; Nashik and Nagpur in Maharashtra; Bhadrachalam in Telangana; Hampi in Karnataka and Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu.
The Centre has sanctioned over Rs 130 crore for development of Ayodha under the Ramayana circuit.
Another ministry official pointed out that the circuit was only meant at improving the experiences of tourists.
“The ongoing work and the funds sanctioned are meant to improve the experiences of tourists in the circuit,” said the official.
The Indian Railways is also set to relaunch Shri Ramayana Yatra. The package will include ‘Ram Janmbhoomi and Hanuman Garhi’ at Ayodhya, Bharat Mandir at Nandigram, Sita Mata Mandir at Sitamarhi (Bihar), and Janakpur (Nepal), Tulsi Manas Mandir and Sankat Mochan Mandir at Varanasi, Sita Samahit Sthal at Sitamarhi in Uttar Pradesh, Triveni Sangam , Hanuman Mandir and Bharadwaj Ashram at Prayag, Shringi Rishi Mandir at Shringverpur, Ramghat and Sati Anusuiya Mandir at Chitrakoot, Panchvati at Nasik, Anjanadri Hill and Hanuman Janm Sthal at Hampi and Jyotirlinga Shiva Mandir at Rameshwaram.