The opening of the much-awaited Ram Mandir in Ayodhya has predictably transformed the sleepy old town and its environs. Thanks also to the high-octane coverage of the opening of the temple by the print and television media, there is a new fervour among Hindus to seek darshan of the newly-inaugurated Ram Lalla in his grand sanctum sanctorum. Lakhs of devotees have made a beeline for the temple from the first day it was opened to the public, that is, on Tuesday, January 23. The authorities have a tough time regulating the flow of such a heavy human traffic. Quite clearly, in the coming weeks and months Ayodhya is set to emerge as the highest attraction on the Indians’ religious itinerary. Along with Kashi and Ujjain, Ayodhya will generate tremendous economic activity in the entire region. Varanasi after its “kaya kalp” by the Modi government attracts nearly 10 crore visitors annually. It has changed the fortunes of the local people. Even those who had initially resisted re-location for building the wide corridor to the Kashi Vishwanath temple have now converted to the Modi model for development of old and neglected religious places. In Odisha, Navin Patnaik has followed up with a grand “parikarma” around the historic Jaganath temple in Puri. It is clear that Ayodhya is set to become the biggest engine of economic growth for UP. Tourism as an industry is not to be sniffed at. It too generates tens of thousands of jobs. So, those who glibly talked of a hospital or a school at the disputed site in Ayodhya didn’t quite know what they were talking about. Everyone, Hindus and Muslims alike, living in the wider arc around Ayodhya will benefit economically from the Ram Lalla temple.
Editorial: Ayodhya, an engine of growth
FPJ EditorialUpdated: Thursday, January 25, 2024, 03:12 PM IST