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Updated January 20th, 2024 at 10:46 IST

Destination Ayodhya: Temple city abuzz with brands and business ahead of Jan 22 inauguration

Ayodhya has opened a floodgate of opportunities for big brands to small traders alike. A whole new economy is building itself up around the Sri Ram Temple

Anirudh Trivedi
Shri Hanuman Garhi
Shri Hanuman Garhi | Image:Republic Business
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Temple Economy: As Ayodhya prepares for the inauguration ceremony of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir on January 22, the air is thick with anticipation at ground zero.

The city is abuzz with activity - from developers to FMCG giants, fast food chains, lifestyle brands Shri Ram’s city, is where everyone wants to be seen. Republic Business explored the streets of Ayodhya, days ahead of the inauguration, to catch the mood on the streets. 

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PM Narendra Modi in stone laying ceremony, Ayodhya | Image credit: SRJBTS, Ayodhya

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According to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Ayodhya Master Plan 2031, the city will be rebuilt as a global tourism hub with investments of over Rs 85,000 crore in the next 10 years. The development will include a separate township and major investments in hospitality, public transportation, waste management, water supply, horticulture, and heritage – all of which are expected to give the local economy a boost.

Lighting show on the banks of Saryu | Image credit: Republic Business

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The temple city’s buzz is also likely to trickle all over India in terms of business. Praveen Khandelwal, General Secretary, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) explained the impact of temple development across the country. He said, “In January 2024, the vicinity surrounding the Sri Ram Mandir is expected to facilitate business transactions exceeding Rs 50,000 crore. Notably, Ayodhya alone is going to contribute an estimated range of Rs 7,000 to Rs 8,000 crore within that period.”

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Devotees waiting to enter Hanuman Garhi temple | Image credit: Republic Business

“Ayodhya will become one of the most visited religious tourist places in the country. According to the estimates from the Uttar Pradesh Government, more than 10 crore people are likely to visit Shri Ram Mandir as a result of which local businesses will boom inevitably, both in terms of goods as well as services,” Khandelwal added. 

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At Ayodhya, local business owners and shopkeepers are excited about growing sales.

Balmukund Gupta ‘Banarsi,’ a local restaurant owner near Kanak Bhawan, said, “The business is growing day by day and after the inauguration of Ram Mandir, this pace will increase manifolds. Our business is doing fine but yes, we are hopeful that more tourists will come in and it will only go up from here.” 

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Sunil Kumar, a souvenir shop owner, near Hanuman Garhi Temple, said, “Though the business has increased, it has dipped in the last few weeks since the inauguration announcement was made. But, we are happy that with these developments, we will be able to host more tourists which will lead to better business opportunities for us.” 

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Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Mandir miniature model | Image credit: Republic Business

The most popular souvenir – a wooden replica of the Ram temple is on display on the shelves of most shops, comes at around anything between Rs 100 to Rs 5,000 depending on the quality and size. Kumar, who is also selling these from his store, said, “The Shri Ram Mandir model is widely popular among tourists, and you will find it at almost any shop around the temple area. These miniature models are crafted by Muslim artisans in Saharanpur and transported from there to be sold here.”  

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Pramod Kumar, a traditional confectioner who owns a 30-year-old shop near Hanuman Garhi shared his excitement about what lies ahead for the city as well as his own business as Ayodhya opens for tourists from around the world. However, Kumar also shared disappointment in not getting any compensation from the government after his shop was reduced to half for widening the road. 

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Pramod Kumar in his 30-year-old sweet shop | Image credit: Republic Business

Kumar said, “The sitting area of my shop has decreased significantly due to the widening of the road. But I am happy that tourists will now have wider roads and as more and more tourists come in, the business will automatically grow.” 

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Investments to increase multi-fold

Shri Ram Mandir Construction Committee Chairperson Nripendra Mishra is hopeful about the development of Ayodhya city following the inauguration of the Sri Ram Mandir

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"As money flows in, people will have many opportunities, and along with these opportunities, there will be increased investments in the area. We have received 16 applications for building hotels, and a plan for a smart city is also in progress," Mishra said.

Saryu Aarti | Image credit: Republic Business

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He said the current population of Ayodhya is approximately 3.5 lakh and it is estimated to add over 1.5 lakh more people as visitors start pouring in and migrants arrive following the surge in economic activities. 

Redefining Eastern-UP’s regional connectivity

PM Modi inaugurated Maharishi Valmiki International Airport, Ayodhya Dham on December 30 along with a freshly designed railway station, both built on the lines of Sri Ram Mandir. Along with the inauguration, PM Modi also flagged off new superfast trains named Amrit Bharat trains with new project launches worth Rs 11,100 crore to build the city to sustain the expected increased tourism.

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Ayodhya’s newly built airport | Image credit: Republic Digital

The initial phase of the airport, developed at an investment of Rs 1,450 crore, includes a passenger terminal spanning 6,500 square metres, designed to accommodate up to one million travellers annually. The terminal's exterior reflects the architectural style of Shri Ram Mandir, which is being built in Ayodhya, while its interiors feature an array of local artistry, including paintings and murals depicting the life of Shri Ram. The facility has eco-friendly attributes including insulated roofing, LED illumination, rainwater harvesting systems, landscaped areas with fountains, and facilities for water and sewage treatment, alongside a solar power generation plant.

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Ayodhya Dham Railway Station | Image credit: Republic Business

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The Ayodhya's railway station has been redesigned with a budget-roll of Rs 240 crore. A three-storey facility, it is expected to support 15,000-20,000 passengers daily. The station is outfitted with amenities including elevators, escalators, food courts, retail outlets, storage facilities, childcare centres, and spacious waiting areas.

 

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Published January 8th, 2024 at 16:38 IST

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