The mega 'Deepotsav' celebrations will begin in Ayodhya today. Over 3 lakh earthen lamps are likely to be lit on both the banks of Saryu river with an aim to create a Guinness World Record. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has reached Ayodhya alongwith South Korean First Lady Kim Jung-sook who is the chief guest on the occasion.
An artistic statue of Lord Ram along with Lord Hanuman has been installed at the historic ghats of the Saryu river, while an iconic ceremonial gateway has been erected near the site of the main function.The main streets of Ayodhya wear a scintillating look with illuminated lamps and special decorations. Buildings have been lit up for the occasion, including the facade of the Raj Sadan and the residence of royal family of Ayodhya.
Ayodhya Deepotsav: Highlights
06:32 pm: Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath perform aarti on the banks Sarayu river along with chief guest South Korean first lady Kim-Jung Sook
05:41 pm: Ayodhya will soon have an airport. It will be known as Purshottam Bhagwan Ram Airport, says UP CM Yogi Adityanath
05:39 pm: There will be a new medical college in Ayodhya which will be named after King Dashratha: Yogi Adityanath
05:35 pm: People were afraid of taking Ayodhya's name earlier. No CM used to come here. But I have visited Ayodhya six times eve since I became CM. Ayodhya is a symbol of our 'aan, baan aur shaan' (honour, pride and prestige). Nobody can do injustice to Ayodhya: Yogi Adityanath
05:27 pm: Ayodhya's identity is by Lord Rama. On this occasion, I announce that Faizabad will be known as Ayodhya: Yogi Adityanath
05:26 pm: The historic relationship between India and Korea has gathered a new momentum after PM Modi's untiring efforts: Yogi Adityanath
05:24 pm: Wish you all a very happy and prosperous Diwali. I welcome South Korean first lady Kim-Jung Sook and the every member of the Korean contingent who ar taking part in the Deepotsav in Ayodhya today: Yogi Adityanath
WATCH: Faizabad renamed as Ayodhya: Yogi Adityanath's big announcement on Diwali
05:18 pm: Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath addressing the gathering on the occasion.
04:45 pm: South Korean first lady Kim-Jung Sook dressed in saree for the event.
04:14 pm: Artists dressed as Ram, Sita and Laxman arrive at Ayodhya's Ramkatha Park on a helicopter.
04:05 pm: South Korean and Indian artists perform at Queen Hau Park in Ayodhya. CM Yogi Adityanath and South Korean first lady Kim-Jung Sook in attendance.
"About 3.35 lakh 'diyas' are planned to be lit up on both the banks of the river and students from various colleges of the Avadh University have come to lit them up, along with other people to light them up.
"Many students of the university are also preparing colourful rangolis on Ramayana theme on the banks of the river," a member of the event management team said.
Kim, who arrived here Sunday on a four-day visit, Monday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on her. The first lady also interacted with school students in Delhi.
These were the first of Kim's official engagements during her India visit.
"Had a great meeting with Mrs. Kim Jung-sook, First Lady of the Republic of Korea. We had fruitful discussions on ways to deepen bilateral cooperation between our nations," Modi tweeted.
She then travelled to Lucknow for the next leg of her visit and was received by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on arrival.
Earlier today, Kim interacted with craftsmen of chikankari, a traditional embroidery style of that region, later in the day, she will attend the ground-breaking ceremony for the memorial and 'Deepotatsav' in Ayodhya.
“The First Lady's participation in the festivities in Ayodhya will showcase our close civilisational links as well as the ongoing deepening engagement between our two countries,” an MEA had said in a statement.
In July, the two countries had signed an agreement for expansion of the Suriratna memorial project.
As per her itinerary shared by the MEA, the South Korean Firsat Lady will also deliver a speech at the Ram Kath Park after the ground-breaking ceremony before proceeding to attend 'Deepotsav' at Naya Ghat.
Artists from Maharashtra have worked on 30-ft statue of Lord Ram, made of Plaster of Paris, installed near the site of 'Deepotsav' while they were working on a 25-ft statue of Lord Hanuman near the ceremonial gateway.
Huge hoardings, bearing message -- 'South Korean First lady Kim Jung-sook - Welcome to Ayodhya ' and her picture, have been put up across the city.
Kim's standalone visit to India has rekindled interest in its legendary princess who married a Korean king.
According to Korean legend, the Princess of Ayodhya went to Korea in 48 AD and married King Kim-Suro. A large number of Koreans trace their ancestry to this legendary princess, who is known as Queen Heo Hwang-ok in South Korea.
"The legend of Queen Heo Hwang-ok binds the two countries together culturally, and her visit will further promote our people-to-people ties," a senior official at the cultural wing of the Embassy here said.
Uttam Das, a seer from Ayodhya, told PTI, "It was a matter of honour for Ayodhya that the she was visiting Ayodhya."
"A Princess of Ayodhya had gone there around 2,000 years ago, and now the First Lady is visiting Ayodhya, life has sort of come full circle," he said.
"We have good relations with South Korea and her visit will bring the two countries closer," he said.
(With PTI inputs)