The consecration of Lord Shri Ram temple in Ayodhya has been completed and now Ayodhya has come on the list of most important religious places of the world. Now this is also going to have a huge impact on India’s economic progress. Now, at the local level, a new beginning for the new future of India is going to begin. After Pran Pratistha, Honorable Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi has also said in his speech that Lord Shri Ram belongs to everyone, hence this is going to be the beginning of a new chapter for India. Every Indian reads Ramayana and also understands the importance of Ayodhya. This is the birth place of Lord Shri Ram and it should be considered as the homecoming of Lord Shri Ram after 500 years. Lord Shri Ram resides in every corner of India, hence now it should be hoped that the citizens living in India following different religions will unite and play their important role in taking forward the pace of development of India.
Lord Shri Ram is revered not only in India but also in many other countries of the world. Many countries have even written Ramayana in their own language. From this point of view, there are many forms of Ramayana. Local forms of Ramayana are found in countries like Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, China, Myanmar, Indonesia, Vietnam, etc. Ramayana is available in 300 languages all over the world. Ajodhya is the name of a city in northern Thailand. It has been the capital of the Asian Thai kingdom in ancient times. Over time, Ramayana has also reached the countries where citizens of Indian origin have visited. Like in Caribbean countries, African countries, Fiji etc., Lord Shri Ram has been present and the citizens here, including citizens of Indian origin, worship Lord Shri Ram. Now India can strengthen its political and strategic relations with all these countries and the citizens living in these countries are going to see India like their own country.
Secondly, there is now immense potential for increasing religious tourism in India. Till now, most tourists in India come from the neighboring country Bangladesh, followed by tourists from western countries like America, Britain, Canada, Russia, Australia, France, Germany etc. After this, tourists come to India from other countries of Asia, like Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Whereas a large number of citizens who have faith in Lord Shri Ram reside in these Asian countries. Therefore, now the arrival of tourists from these Asian countries to India should increase. The citizens of all these countries have grown up reading the childhood stories of Lord Shri Ram, now these people will definitely want to come to Ayodhya in India to visit the grand temple of Lord Shri Ram.
With the aim of promoting religious tourism, the Government of India has also started working on the ground. A Ramayana Circuit route is being developed. A plan has also been made to run special trains on this route. This special train will travel 8000 kilometers in 18 days, this special train will have 18 stops on this route. This special railway route will connect the historical cities of Ayodhya, Chitrakoot and Chhattisgarh associated with Lord Shri Ram. The newly constructed Prabhu Shri Ram temple in Ayodhya will also put this route on the global stage.
Many other countries of the world are successfully strengthening their economies through religious tourism. Saudi Arabia earns US$22 trillion per year from religious tourism. Saudi Arabia wants to increase this income to US$ 35,000 crore in the future. 2 crore people reach Mecca every year, whereas there is a ban on non-Muslims reaching Mecca. Similarly, Vatican City is visited by 9 million people every year. Vatican City alone earns about US$320 million annually from this religious tourism, and Mecca city alone earns US$12,0000 million annually. In Ayodhya, there will be no restrictions of any kind on citizens following any religion, belief or sect. Therefore, the number of devotees reaching Ayodhya can go up to 5 to 10 crores every year. Then the income of Ayodhya city alone can be easily estimated. Presently, the devotees coming to Ayodhya did not stay in Ayodhya. After reaching Ayodhya in the morning, after having darshan of Lord Shri Ram, they used to go back by evening, but now Ayodhya has been developed so attractively that devotees will try to stay for 3 to 4 days. According to an estimate, every tourist provides direct or indirect employment to about 6 people. According to this number, lakhs of new employment opportunities are going to be created in Ayodhya. A new phase of development is going to start around Ayodhya. It would not be an exaggeration to say that now the answer to Vatican and Mecca is going to stand in India in the form of Ayodhya.
A big international brokerage company named Jefferies has said that the economic prosperity of India is going to increase due to the temple of Lord Shri Ram built in Ayodhya. Local businessmen are looking at their bright future after the consecration ceremony of Prabhu Shri Ram Temple held in Ayodhya on 22 January 2024. Ayodhya is now going to be made a hub of religious tourism. Ayodhya will now become the world’s largest pilgrimage area. Now Ayodhya is going to become the biggest center of the world in terms of religious tourism. According to Jefferies, more than 5 crore tourists can come to Ayodhya every year. At present there are only 17 big hotels in Ayodhya, in which a total of 590 rooms are available. But, now 73 new hotels are being constructed. Of these, the construction work of 40 hotels has already started. So far, Rs 85,000 crore has been invested in works like new airports, railway stations, townships and improvement in road connectivity. This investment is going to have a big impact on the local economy. Soon Ayodhya will emerge as a religious and spiritual tourism center at the global level. Sectors like hotels, airlines, hospitality, travel, cement are going to get huge benefits from this. Efforts are being made to run around 1000 new trains from different cities of India to Ayodhya. Religious tourists from all over the country have started reaching Ayodhya from 23 January 2024. It is a matter of joy that more than 5 lakh devotees have seen Lord Shri Ram on the first day itself.
Thus overall, India can now establish its presence on the global stage. Special guests from more than 100 countries were invited to this religious event. Expressing their good wishes, many of these special guests have written that they will soon go to Ayodhya to visit Lord Shri Ram temple.
– Prahlad Sabnani
Retired Deputy General Manager,
state Bank of India
K-8, Chetakpuri Colony,
Jhansi Road, Lashkar,
Gwalior- 474 009