As the temple town of Ayodhya prepares to be lit up with three lakh earthen lamps to celebrate Deepotsav on 6 November, the Uttar Pradesh government has approved the Saket Tirth Yatri Kendra for the Queen Heo Hwang memorial.
The memorial comprising a museum in memory of the first queen of Korea, who is said to have links with the holy city, will be built at a cost of Rs 24.6 crores. The foundation stone of the same will be laid by the First Lady of South Korea, Kim Jung Sook, who will be the chief guest on the occasion of the Deepotsav.
The First Lady is also slated to light the first diya (earthen lamp) at Ram Ki Paidi on the banks of River Saryu. A total of 51 diyas will also be lit up at the Ram Janambhoomi. Earthen lamps will illuminate the rest of the city with a team of the Guinness Book of World Records having already descended on the city to witness this mega event dubbed to be just one of its kind.
Apart from the Guinness team, a high level 35-member Korean delegation led by its ambassador to India Shin Bongkil has already visited Ayodhya to inspect the Deepotsav site and the other places which will be visited by the First Lady.
The preparations for the visit are being monitored personally by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who along with Governor Ram Naik will light a remote controlled lamp to mark the Deepotsav celebrations.
As opposed to last year when the Deepotsav celebrations were confined to one day, this year it will be a three-day affair. Principal secretary Awanish Awasthi said the celebrations will begin on 4 November.
The last day will be reserved for the mega event. The city, particularly, the area in and around River Saryu is dotted by platforms and stages for the performances to be staged by the artistes.
The process of selecting artistes to play Ram, Sita and Laxman for the celebrations in Ayodhya are already underway. More than eight such pairs will be selected to play the characters of Ram and Sita as also Laxman. The performances will be staged in different parts of the city.
It is said that this time the characters of Ram, Sita and Laxman will come robed as Vanvassis (forest dwellers). The actors will come in a helicopter from Bharat Kund, around 20 km from Ayodhya. The helicopter will land at the Ram Katha park in the temple town.
BJP spokesperson Chandramohan told newspersons on Friday that the Deepotsav programme on 6 November will showcase India’s cultural relations with other countries. Dr Chandramohan said tht apart from the presentation of Ram-Leela by artistes from Indonesia, about 700 artistes from Sri Lanka, Russia and Trinadad will also present their programmes.
An added attraction this year will be the sand sculpture of Lord Ram on the banks of Saryu by renowned sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik.