The Uttar Pradesh government on Friday went all out in marking the homecoming of Lord Ram to this holy town – the mythical event in ”treta yug” on which the festival of Diwali is based. Along the way, the organisers broke a world record.
“Representatives of the Guinness Book of World Records witnessed this grand festival. With 5,84,372 earthen lamps, the event made the world record,” a state government statement said.
Actors representing the deities of Ram, Sita and Lakshman descended in a helicopter that sprinkled rose petals – a modern take on the ‘pushpak viman’ that brought Lord Ram back home after 14 years in exile.
The “Deepotsav” included the reenactment of the arrival of God Ram and Goddess Sita to Ayodhya on their ”pushpak viman”, a laser and sound show, cultural programmes and the lighting of a “record” 5.51 lakh earthen lamps on the banks of the Saryu.
The deities were received by Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. The Chief Minister and the Governor visited the Ram Mandir site along with other UP and some bureaucrats.
This was the fourth annual Ayodhya Deepotsav, and the first since the ‘bhoomi pujan’ in August for a Ram temple in the city. Its construction has begun following last year’s Supreme Court verdict that settled the temple-mosque land dispute.
Yogi Adityanath gave Prime Minister Narendra Modi the credit for the just-begun construction of the Ram Mandir.
“Our generation is not only fortunate to see the start of construction of a Ram temple here but we also attended the historic event,” he said, adding that generations of seers died without the dream being realised.
“I thank PM Modi, who is the one who implemented the ideology of Ram Rajya,” Yogi Adityanath said in his speech to about 1,000 guests at the Ram Katha Park.
With COVID-19 protocols in place, the event was not open to the public.
He said when people in Ayodhya used to ask him about the construction of the temple, he would just tell them to trust PM Modi.He said it is PM Modi’s dream to develop Ayodhya as the “Vedic Ramayana city”.
Last year, they lit a record 4,10,000 “diyas”, the then new record. Yogi Adityanath on Friday said the target next year should be 7.51 lakh.
Eight teams of folk dancers were invited to perform at the Deepotsav.
“We did rehearsals for over two weeks before coming to Ayodhya,” said Vishal, a member of a troupe from Jhansi.
Anuradha, a folk dancer from Mathura, said, “We are very excited that we are performing on the streets of Ayodhya, the city of Lord Ram.”
Before the event, state government officials had listed out development projects for Ayodhya – some of them new, but many already in the pipeline.