January 17, 2024: Uttar Pradesh’s tourism and culture minister, Jaiveer Singh, has unveiled plans for helicopter services to accommodate the massive influx of guests anticipated at the Ram Mandir consecration ceremony in Ayodhya on January 22. While the precise date for the commencement of helicopter services is yet to be provided, the minister assures that they will be operational before January 22, ensuring a seamless experience for devotees attending the event.
Preparations for the grand inauguration, particularly the Pran Pratishtha event scheduled for January 22, are already underway. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to perform the Pran Pratishtha of the new Ram Lalla idol at the sanctum sanctorum during the seven-day consecration ceremony, spanning from January 16 to January 22, 2024.
Ayodhya, situated on the east bank of the River Sarayu, holds immense mythological and spiritual significance as the birthplace of Lord Ram and the backdrop of the epic Ramayana. According to the Ramayana, it was the capital of the Surya dynasty, where Lord Ram was born, and later served as the early capital of the kingdom of Kosala.
The city is home to various sacred sites, including Treta Ke Thakur, associated with the Ashwamedha Yagna conducted by Ram, Kaleram Ka Mandir, showcasing idols of Ram, Sita, and Lakshman carved from a single block of black sandstone, and Hanuman Garhi, a temple resembling a four-sided fort.
One can also visit Kanak Bhawan, known as Sone ka Ghar, near Hanuman Garhi, adorned with depictions of Ram and Sita wearing gold crowns. Lakshman Ghat, situated on the banks of the Sarayu river, holds historical significance as the place where Lakshman is believed to have given up his life. Ram ki Paidi, a series of ghats along the River Sarayu, is a serene spot for devotees, especially during sunrise and sunset.
In the coming years, the government plans to enhance Ayodhya’s tourism infrastructure with theme-based, sustainable, and religious tourism projects. Proposed developments include a sound-and-light show, a city center observatory, a digital museum, and a ropeway scheme. Additionally, a monumental 251-meter statue of Lord Ram on the banks of the Sarayu is in the planning stages.
As Ayodhya gears up for the historic consecration ceremony, the introduction of helicopter services and the ongoing efforts to improve tourism infrastructure promise a memorable and spiritually enriching experience for devotees and visitors alike.