Ayodhya (UP): Nov 9: Ayodhya is gearing up for the fourth Deepotsav celebrations started by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in 2017, the first since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the commencement of the Ram temple construction, with preparations going on in full swing to make it a historic and memorable event.
The celebrations that went on for five to seven days in the previous years will be held for three days this year.
Grand cultural evenings will be organised during the celebrations, with major women participation to promote the "Mission Shakti" campaign.
The culture department has prepared a roadmap for this and has started work on it. In order to make the festival a grand success, women artistes from Uttar Pradesh and other states will make Ayodhya a centre of grand celebrations on the occasion of the coronation ceremony of Lord Ram returning from exile, officials said.
"The fourth Deepotsav will promote Mission Shakti through its cultural programmes. The theme of the celebrations will be women empowerment. Hundreds of women will showcase their talent in all the events. Not only this, the Ramlila at Ram Katha Park will be organised by women this year and most of the volunteers involved in the lighting of diyas at the main event held on the banks of the Sarayu river will be women," Additional Chief Secretary Awaneesh Awasthi told PTI.
Talking to PTI, Ayodhya District Magistrate Anuj Kumar Jha said, "Amidst the echoes and hails of Lord Ram, 5.51 lakh earthen lamps will illuminate the city of Ayodhya. Preparations for the Deepotsav celebrations are on in full swing." The top bureaucracy and police brass of Uttar Pradesh visited Ayodhya on Sunday to take stock of the preparations for the celebrations starting November 13.
Officials informed that all the COVID-related protocols will be strictly adhered to and all roads leading to the Sarayu river and Ramjanmabhoomi will be barricaded. Nobody other than the invitees will be allowed at the Deepotsav venue, where the governor and the chief minister will be present, they added.
Awasthi said, "This will be the fourth Deepotsav in Ayodhya after it started in 2017. It has been given the status of a state fair. The chief minister has given elaborate instructions for this Deepotsav as for the first time in 492 years, after the apex court mandated in favour of the Ram mandir, the temple of Ram Janmabhoomi will be illuminated with thousands of diyas, along with about 300 other religious sites, including temples, ghats and kunds." "This Deepotsav will be celebrated under the strict guidelines related to COVID-19, maintaining social distancing," he added.
Along with Awasthi, Additional Chief Secretary, Information Navneet Sahal, Principal Secretary, Tourism and Culture Mukesh Kumar Meshram, Additional Director General of Police (Law and order) Prashant Kumar, ADG, Lucknow Zone S N Savant, Director General, Tourism GN Ravikumar and Director, Information Shishir were among the government functionaries who visited Ayodhya to take stock of the Deepotsav preparations.
The main event will start at 3 pm on November 13. It will be broadcast live on public address systems and showed on 70 LED vans in Ayodhya. State broadcaster Doordarshan will also telecast the live coverage.