Developing Ayodhya as a World Class City
5th August 2020 would be recorded in history as a day never to be forgotten! A day coming once in a millennium. The sacred monument dedicated to Shri Rama in his birthplace is touted to be the world's third-largest Hindu temple complex. The grand temple is expected to be about 270-280 feet wide, 280-300 feet long and 128 feet high. 30,000 crore rupees are expected to be generated as annual revenue from the temple complex and the surrounding infrastructure development. As the dreams of crores of Indians is being fulfilled with the Bhumi-pujan, we as planners should think beyond it and propose to develop Ram Janmbhoomi Ayodhya as a world class pilgrimage centre, having the potential to turn the fortunes of Awadh region of Uttar Pradesh.
This article is divided in two parts: approved and ongoing development projects in and around Ayodhya & the second part deals with how I as a planner imagine Ayodhya to serve as centre of spiritual learning for the world.
Uttar Pradesh government has kickstarted the process to develop Ayodhya as a Smart City and allotted towards it the first tranche of Rs. 50 crores. It has also set a target of completing these projects by 2031 but it seems that these projects would get completed well before the timeline. Some projects which are under development are:
1. 1. Shri Ram International Airport
Plan to modernize the existing airstrip and build a new passenger terminal with all international facilities has started in Ayodhya and Rs. 200 crores have been sanctioned for the same in the first phase. This would give major connectivity to Ayodhya and attract international tourists apart from connecting important places in the Ramayana Circuit. Janakapuri, birthplace of Maa Sita, could also be connected by this Airport. Construction has started in full swing and first flight is expected to take off soon from here.
1. 2. Railway Station Redevelopment