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Deepotsav seeks to put Ayodhya on world stage

The Deepotsav (festival of lamps) held in Ayodhya on Diwali since Yogi Adityanath became CM of UP in 2017 is aimed at bringing the holy city to world stage ahead of the construction of Ram temple.

"Today, through Ramlilas in the city, through aarti at the Saryu, through the Deepotsav and through research on the Ramayana, the Darshan is being broadcast across the world," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an address there on Sunday.

The number of lamps lit is expected to set a new record. The Deepotsav started with 117,000 earthen lamps on the banks of the Saryu river in 2017, going up to 301,000 in 2018, 404,000 in 2019, 606,000 in 2020 and 941,000 in 2021, a Guinness world record. This year's target is 1.5 million lamps. The number of visitors between the beginning of the year and August was 22 million. From 17.8 million in 2017.

Since 2017, foreign performers have participated in the Ramlila in Ayodhya during Deepotsav. The artistes this year were from eight nations, including Russia, Trinidad & Tobago, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Meanwhile, work is on in full swing to develop the city as a tourism hub as the sanctum sanctorum of Ram temple is expected to be thrown open to darshan by public in January 2024.

Apart from turning into a global tourism hub, this is expected to bring the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rich political dividends ahead of the 2024 general election.

The first tranche of a ninth of Rs 900 crore dedicated toward the widening and beautification of roads in Ayodhya has been released. According to the state government, projects worth Rs 1,700 crore will be completed by this year-end out of a pipeline of projects totaling Rs 20,000 crore.

With the construction of an international airport and a railway station being expedited to make access to the city more convenient, the state government also aims to bring all overhead wires underground by June 2023. The state government said by this month-end it will complete installing aerial bundle cables. Work on developing a Rs 3,000 crore greenfield township is also gathering pace.

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