Ayodhya Set To Become World’s “Most Sought-After Destination”: UP Minister

“We estimate over 1 lakh tourists per day in Ayodhya, said Jaiveer Singh”. (File)


With an estimated 1 lakh devotees expected to visit Ayodhya daily following the inauguration of the Ram temple, the holy city is set to become the “world’s most sought-after” tourist destination, Uttar Pradesh Tourism Minister Jaiveer Singh said on Tuesday.

Helicopter services to Ayodhya from six cities of the state, the ongoing conservation of 37 ancient temples and the expansion of the existing airport in the holy city will result in a manifold rise in the influx of visitors, Mr Singh said.

Asked about a report estimating that a USD 10 billion makeover of Ayodhya with a new airport, revamped railway station, township and improved road connectivity could attract over 50 million tourists a year, Mr Singh said “it will certainly happen”.

“In fact, we estimate over 1 lakh tourists per day in Ayodhya and arrangements are being made keeping that in mind,” Mr Singh said.

According to the report, the Golden Temple in Amritsar gets an estimated 30-35 million visitors a year while the annual footfall at the Tirupati Temple is 25-30 million. Globally, Vatican City gets around 9 million tourists every year and Mecca in Saudi Arabia around 20 million.

The minister asserted, “Certainly, Ayodhya will be the most sought-after destination in not only the country but the entire world.” The crowd outside the temple today is tremendous. This moment has come after a wait of 500 years, he said.

Stressing that the number of visitors will start rising after Republic Day on January 26 as security measures affect the movement of trains and vehicles, Mr Singh said the hospitality industry in Ayodhya will also reap the benefits of religious tourism.

“After January 26, when rail traffic resumes, the number of visitors is going to rise. If you consider each devotee spending Rs 2,000-2,500 on buying prasad, food, and lodging, the revenue generated will be tremendous,” the minister said.

“In the next two to three years, tourism in Ayodhya will generate the maximum revenue for the government. I am saying three years because starting a project, getting clearances and implementation takes that much time,” he said.

After January 26, the tourism department will also start helicopter services to Ayodhya from at least six districts — Lucknow, Varanasi, Mathura, Agra, Gorakhpur and Prayagraj, he said.

Work is going on to restore 37 ancient temples in Ayodhya, which will be the centre of attraction for tourists coming for a ‘darshan’ of Ram Lalla, the minister said, adding that the project will be completed soon.

According to Divisional Commissioner of Ayodhya, Gaurav Dayal, 102 intent agreements worth about Rs 18,000 crore were signed for tourism in Ayodhya during the Uttar Pradesh Global Investors Summit 2023.

Currently, there are 126 ready-to-be-implemented projects worth Rs 4,000 crore related to tourism in Ayodhya, he said.

Around 50 renowned hotel brands have invested in Ayodhya, including Taj, Marriott, Ginger, Oberoi, Trident, and Radisson. Their projects will be completed soon, the officer said.

There are also plans to develop Raj Sadan, the grand residence of the erstwhile Raja of Ayodhya, as a heritage hotel, with a major hotel chain expressing interest in investing in this project, he added.

With several luxury and budget hotels, resorts, and homestays coming up in Ayodhya, the holy city is emerging as a new favourite of the hospitality industry, official sources said.

Good highways and roads, wall paintings depicting the life of Lord Ram, facade lighting, and a grand entrance adorned with Victorian lamps add to the attraction of Ayodhya, they said.

Meanwhile, the minister said UP’s tourism sector has remained untapped, but with the focus on religious tourism, the state is going to become one of the top tourism destinations and Ayodhya will be a hot favourite.

Tour and taxi operators in Lucknow and Ayodhya are also upbeat over the prospects of increase in the number of tourists, both domestic and international, arriving in the holy city to pay obeisance at the Ram temple.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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