Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to launch the new Ayodhya Airport in Uttar Pradesh this Friday. This facility is distinguished by its namesake, the renowned sage and poet Maharishi Valmiki. According to Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, PM Modi has a vision of developing contemporary airports and railway stations across the country. Maharishi Valmiki is well-known for authoring the ancient epic, the Ramayana.
Key highlights of the Ayodhya Airport include:
1. The Shri Ram International Ayodhya Airport, situated approximately 15 kilometers from central Ayodhya.
2. A terminal building spanning 6500 square meters, designed to accommodate an annual passenger volume of around 1 million.
3. The terminal is designed with eco-friendly features, such as thermal insulation, energy-efficient lighting, rainwater collection, landscaped areas with fountains, waste and water treatment facilities, and a solar power setup, all contributing to its GRIHA 5-star environmental rating.
4. An extended runway compatible with A-321/B-737 aircraft at Ayodhya Airport.
5. IndiGo is expected to conduct the first flight from Delhi to Ayodhya, with commercial operations starting on January 6.
In addition to the airport, PM Modi will initiate the groundwork for a new greenfield township in Ayodhya, budgeted at over ₹2180 crore. He is also scheduled to introduce two new Amrit Bharat trains (Darbhanga-Ayodhya-Anand Vihar Terminal Amrit Bharat Express and Malda Town-Sir M. Visvesvaraya Terminus (Bengaluru) Amrit Bharat Express) and six new Vande Bharat trains.
The Prime Minister will inaugurate railway projects totaling ₹2300 crore. These include the Rooma Chakeri-Chanderi third line project; the Jaunpur-Tulsi Nagar, Akbarpur-Ayodhya, Sohawal-Patranga, and Safdarganj-Rasauli sections of the Jaunpur-Ayodhya-Barabanki doubling project; and the doubling and electrification of the Malhaur-Daliganj railway section.
Additionally, PM Modi will commence various infrastructure projects, such as the Lucknow-Ayodhya section of NH-28 (rebranded NH-27), modification of the Ayodhya bypass, establishment of a CIPET centre, and construction of new offices for the Municipal Corporation in Ayodhya.
History of Ayodhya
Ayodhya, a city steeped in myth, spirituality, and history, is located in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It’s famously known as the birthplace of Lord Rama, a major deity in Hinduism, and the setting of the epic Ramayana. Ayodhya’s history spans several millennia, with its origins shrouded in the mists of time and legend.
In ancient texts, Ayodhya is described as a city of unparalleled splendor, founded by Manu, the progenitor of mankind according to Hindu scriptures. It became the capital of the Kosala Kingdom, flourishing under the rule of the Ikshvaku dynasty, to which Lord Rama belonged.
Throughout history, Ayodhya has been a center of religious significance. It’s dotted with temples and ghats (riverfront steps), with the Sarayu River, considered sacred, flowing nearby. Despite being a focal point of Hindu worship, the city also exemplifies India’s composite culture, having been influenced by Buddhism, Jainism, and Islam over the centuries.
In more recent times, Ayodhya has been at the heart of political and religious discourse in India, particularly regarding the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute, a contentious and defining issue in Indian politics.
Today, Ayodhya continues to attract pilgrims and tourists, drawn to its rich tapestry of history, faith, and culture, and is undergoing a phase of redevelopment and revitalization to enhance its historical and religious significance.
Ram Janmabhoomi and Babri Masjid controversy
The Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid controversy is a long-standing religious and political dispute in Ayodhya, India. Central to the conflict is a sacred site claimed by Hindus as the birthplace of Lord Rama (Ram Janmabhoomi) and by Muslims for the Babri Masjid, a mosque built in the 16th century by the Mughal emperor Babur. The mosque was demolished by Hindu nationalists in 1992, sparking widespread communal riots across India. The ensuing legal battles culminated in a landmark 2019 Supreme Court verdict, which allocated the land for the construction of a Hindu temple, while providing an alternative site for a mosque, aiming to resolve the decades-old conflict.
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