Sri Ramlala may be in the makeshift temple for the last 26 years and the Supreme Court too is delaying the hearing on this matter, Deepotsava-2018 in Ayodhya is going to be very special and spectacular as the Yogi Government is all set to create a world record during the celebration from November 4 to 6, 2108
-Dr Shakti Kumar Pandey
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath intends to set new records in the Gunnies’ Book of World Records by lighting three lakh earthen lamps during the proposed three days’ mammoth Deepawali celebrations from 4 November to 6 November in Ayodhya. Last year, Diwali celebrations in the temple town were limited to one day, while this time it will be a three-day affair starting from November 4. Even last year, over one lakh earthen lamps were lit on the Ghats of the Sarayu River after a day-long celebration.
Ayodhya in Deepawali
On Deepotsav Celebrations this year, Chief Minister Yogi Aditya Nath, his cabinet ministers along with Governor Shri Ram Naik will be present in Ayodhya for the celebrations. But the main attraction of the celebration will be the First Lady of South Korea, Kim Jung-sook, the wife of South Korean President Moon Jae-in. She will attend the programme on November 6, when three lakh earthen lamps will be lighted. In the year 2017 also, over 1.71 lakh ‘diyas’ were lighted, creating a Guinness record in Ayodhya Faizabad.
Deepotsava par excellence
Elaborating the Programme, District Magistrate Anil Kumar informed that potters from all over Ayodhya and its surrounding places are making these ‘diyas’ and the lamps would be lit at Ram Ki Paidi by over 5,000 volunteers. Yogi Adityanath would light the first special ‘diya’ having a diameter of 16 feet. An expert team of Guinness Book of World Records would reach Ayodhya next week for preliminary assessment.
Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath and Hon Governor Ram Naik welcoming the artists dressed up as Sri Ram and Mata Sita last year in Deepawali
On the first day, a competition for selection of best Ram-Sita-Lakshman would be held at Ram ki Paidi. The selection of Ram, Sita and Lakshman would be made through an open competition to be held by experts from Ayodhya Shodh Sansthan and Dr RML Awadh University. The Director of Ayodhya Shodh Sansthan Dr YP Singh said the three winning groups of Ram-Sita-Lakshman would be especially rewarded and received by the CM. The first winner group of Ram-Sita-Lakshman will reach by Helicopter (Pushpak) and will be in the dress of forest-dwellers. The first winner will get a prize of Rs. 51,000, the second will get Rs. 31,000 and the third will get Rs. 21,000. And the five others will get the consolation prize of Rs, 2000 each. But all the eight winning groups will find place on the stage. Dr. Singh said that about Rs 1.10 lakh would be spent in the selection process, which will be done in different phases between October 26 and November 5.
On second day, a rangoli competition would be organised at different places in Ayodhya, while on November 4 and 5, Ramlila would be staged by artistes from Sri Lanka, Laos, Indonesia, Trinidad and Tobago at Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Awadh University Auditorium.
The District Magistrate added that the main function would be held on November 6, when a ‘Shobha Yatra’ would be taken out from Saket Postgraduate College Faizabad, where 15 tableaux showing Lord Rama in different actions would be displayed. The procession would end at Ramkatha Park. Among the tableaux, four will be displayed by artists from foreign countries like Korea, Laos, Russia and Indonesia. A Korean cultural team will give a performance at the Queen Memorial. Padma Shri Sudarshan Patnaik will make a sand sculpture of Lord Ram in the Queen Memorial Park.
Main Fuction in Ramkatha Park
The main function will be held at Ramkatha Park after ‘Lord Ram’ and ‘Sita’ along with ‘Lakshman’ will reach there by helicopter. UP Governor Ram Naik and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his cabinet ministers will be present there to receive them. The Chief Minister will also honour the Ramlila artistes of different countries and during the night, Ramlila of different countries will be performed along with a cultural dance by the Korean team. During the Deepotsava celebrations, the foundation of Rs 50-crore memorial of Queen Hur Hwang-ok, also known as Suriratna, a princess of Ayodhya who went to South Korea and married the King, will also be laid. The Government has arranged helicopters to recreate the scene of Lord Ram’s homecoming along with Sita after killing the demon king Ravan. All prominent buildings, temples and Ghats in the town are being decorated.
Mahant Suresh Das Maharaj
"Deepawali and Dussehra are the festivals of Ayodhya only, and Yogi Adityanath is a Sadhu primarily and a Chief Minister secondarily. Both Yogi Adityanath and his Guru Mahant Avaidya Nath have been associated with Shri Ram Janma Bhoomi Andolan. So, it is a matter of immense satisfaction and joy that Yogi, as Chief Minister of UP, is giving importance to Ayodhya" -- Sant Sri Suresh Das Maharaj, the successor of the late Mahant Ram Chandradas
For this special event, the government has engaged a number of professional event management agencies. Last year, the event was managed by the Tourism Department of the state government. The decision to involve the professional event managers suggests that the government wants the celebrations to be grander this year. The street lights and building lights have been renovated.
The Chief Minister is likely to make some announcements in order to upgrade the status of Ayodhya in the Tourism Map. The Secretary Tourism and Information Awaneesh Awasthi visited Ayodhya in order to finalise the preparations. He met local BJP MLA Ved Prakash Gupta, Mayor Rishikesh Upadhyaya, BJP Mahanagar Chief Kamlesh Srivastava and discussed the preparations with them, after visiting Ram ki Paidi, Saryu Ghats and Ram Katha Park. Later the Secretary Information held a meeting with the DM Anil Kumar Pathak and other district officials and gave them adequate instructions about the three-days even. The DM said that seven hundred ‘safai karmis’ have been pressed into service in and around the central area.
New Developmental Projects
VHP spokesperson Sharad Sharma informed that in the recent past the government has also been working on new developmental projects in Ayodhya, including a heritage walk, a museum on Lord Rama depicting his life and times and a Ramayana circuit. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had flagged off a bus service from Nepal’s Janakpur, the birthplace of the goddess Sita, to Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Rama. About 30 ft high statue of Lord Rama and 16 ft high statue of Lord Hanuman are being erected at Ram ki Paidi.
Sant Shri Kamal Nayan Das Maharaj
“Yogi Adityanath is doing a commendable job by celebrating Deepavali in a grand manner this year in Ayodhya. This is the real Bhakti of Lord Rama. Moreover, the Chief Minister gladly accepted and implemented whatever suggestions, demands and recommendations were ever made by us regarding the development of Ayodhya. I am all praise for him" -- Sant Shri Kamal Nayan Das MaharajThe Chief Minister has approved the entire show after reviewing the presentation by a professional event management company entrusted with conducting the event in Ayodhya. During the events, troops from different parts of the world will also perform Ram Lila, informed Principal secretary Avneesh Awasthi. He added that the Uttar Pradesh government plans to organise Diwali in Ayodhya on the lines of popular water shows staged in Singapore. A proposal of the Yogi government has cited the ‘Wings of Time’ and ‘Crane Dance’ water shows organised in Sentosa Island in Singapore as references for a grand ‘Water Projection Night Show’ it wants to hold on Saryu River in Ayodhya on Diwali to depict “the essence of Lord Ram and Ramayana”.
According to the government proposal, a ‘Shobha Yatra’ will be taken out through the city with multiple tableaus and an LED recreation of ‘Ram Durbar’ (Ram’s Palace) for the ‘Rajyabhishek’ of Lord Ram at the Ram Katha Park by the CM. All monuments in the city will be lit up and a ‘Maha-Aarti’ and lighting of thousands of earthen lamps will be done on the Saryu banks. Last year, too, the event was managed by UP Tourism Department and the local administration. The decision to bring an event management firm on board this time to assist the state tourism department indicates that the government wants the celebrations to be grander this year.
“The Department of Tourism intends to take services of an event management firm for overall conceptualisation, execution and on-ground management of all events of Deepotsav-2018 at Ayodhya,” says the government proposal. It says the event management firm will deploy manpower to ensure that the event is “well-managed on-ground”, and suggest “at least five new and innovative ideas aligned to the theme of the event” which can be included in the series of events.
BJP MP Lallu Singh is all praise for the Chief Minister organising the big event in Ayodhya. He said the honour of Ram and Ayodhya would gain greater heights in the mind of people all over the world. The present government has realised that Ayodhya has a brilliance and dignity which is unparalleled in history.