The Yogi Adityanath government is gearing up for grand Diwali celebrations this year.
From October 24-26 a special 'deepotsav' (festival of lamps) will be held in Ayodhya, which will aim at creating a new world record by lighting over 3.5 lakh diyas or earthen lamps.
Last year, Ayodhya broke a Guinness World Record by lighting more than three lakh earthen lamps and keeping them burning for at least 45 minutes on the banks of river Saryu as part of the annual Diwali celebration.
"This year the deepotsav will be grander and we will make a record. The development in Ayodhya will inspire the rest of eastern Uttar Pradesh. Tourists from all over the country will throng here. The state government is working hard on this. Our government is trying to retrieve the old grandeur," News agency quoted Chandramohan, the state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson, as saying.
The town will also see the illumination of all the temples and monuments in the town, street lighting, a 'Shobha Yatra' (pageant), a 'Maha Aarti' on the ghats of the Saryu, a light-and-sound fireworks show, a drone show, arrival of Lord Ram and Sita by helicopter, besides the lighting of the lakhs of diyas.
Like last year, this year also Ramlila performances will be held with overseas plays from five countries to be the highlight.
For the past three years, the Yogi government has been celebrating Diwali in Ayodhya on a grand scale. This time the plans are to make Ayodhya reflect the "Treta Yug" look and feel. All the buildings and the walls in the town are being painted the same way as was seen during the 'Kumbh Mela'. Various cultural programmes will be organised.
Tourism Ministers from all the states have been invited. Guests from several foreign countries are also expected. Efforts are on to have Thailand king Maharaja Vajiralongkorn as a guest along with the heads of states from Mauritius, Trinidad and Indonesia.
Artists from different states will perform during the cultural extravaganza.
Why is Ayodhya famous:
The ancient city of Ayodhya is known by most to be the setting of the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana and is known to be the birthplace of the Lord Rama. The city is located at the banks of the Sarayu River and was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Kosala.
Places to visit in Ayodhya:
Ram Janmabhoomi Temple
The place is considered to be the birthplace of Lord Ram. The original temple was said to have been demolished by the Mughal emperor Babur in 1528 AD and built a mosque at the site. The mosque however was demolished in 1992 and the area has since been ground of dispute among the Hindus and the Muslims.
The Moti Mahal was the residence of wife of Nawab Shuja-ud-daula and was constructed in 1743 AD. The palace is situated in the nearby town Faizabad and is situated in the nearby town Faizabad and is famous for its unique architecture.
One of the most famous temples in Ayodhya, Hanuman Garhi is dedicated to the mighty Monkey God Lord Hanuman and was built by the Nawab of Awadh. The temple is characterized by the 70 steep steps that should be scaled in order to reach the temple complex.
Treta Ka Thakur
Treta Ka Thakur refers to an ancient temple located at the banks of the Sarayu River in Ayodhya. The temple is said to house the idols of Lord Ram which was carved in the ancient times out of black sandstones. The place is considered to be the spot where lord Ram performed an Ashwamedha Yagya.
The spot at which the temple is built was considered to house another temple which is gifted to Sita immidiatelky after her marriage by Lord Rama’s step mother Kaikeyi.
The monument is located in Faizabad near Ayodhya and is the tomb of the Nawab Shuja-ud-daula. The name Gulab Bari is due to the various rose gardens which are located by the water fountains that adorn the place. The architecture is a cross between the Hindu and the Mughal style often described as the Nawabi style.
Mausoleum of Bahu Begum or Bahu Begum Ka Makabara
The tomb was built in 1816 as the resting place of Shuja-ud-daula’s wife Bahu Begum. The architectural style once again is the distinctive Nawabi style and the well maintained and lush green gardens and the tomb is built in white marble. The place is a definitive visit.
How to reach Ayodhya from Delhi:
Ayodhya is 690.2 km away from Delhi. It is situated in the state of Uttar Pradesh near Faizabad and slightly to the east of Lucknow.
To reach Ayodhya by road one needs to take the Yamuna Expressway which connects Noida to Agra. From Agra it takes another 336 km to get to Lucknow. From Lucknow one needs to travel 137 km east to reach Ayodhya.
It takes roughly around 11 hours to reach by road and a little more if you go by train.
The following trains start from New Delhi to Ayodhya - Kaifiyat Express, Farakka Express, Sadbhavna Express.
In addition to this, trains like Saryuyamuna Express pass through New Delhi to reach Ayodhya.