Bhajan centre opening in Ayodhya postponed

The much-awaited inauguration of the bhajan centre in Ayodhya has been postponed in view of the corona pandemic and the escalating tension on the Indo-China border.

The centre, constructed at a cost of Rs 210 crore, was to be inaugurated by Prime minister Narendra Modi after the “bhumi pujan” ceremony of the Ram temple.

The bhumi pujan ceremony has also been indefinitely postponed due to the prevailing situation.

According to Additional Chief Secretary, Religious Affairs, Avanish Awasthi, no date has been finalised yet for the inauguration.

This centre was one of several projects commissioned during the fag end of the previous Samajwadi Party government when the party was experimenting with soft Hindutva in the run-up to the 2017 state elections.

The then Akhilesh Yadav government had initiated a series of developmental works in religious cities, including Ayodhya, Varanasi and Mathura, to beautify the pilgrimage centres and also develop infrastructure at these religious sites.

The beautification along the Yamuna started in Vrindavan and Ghats of Varanasi. Similarly, in Ayodhya, the beautification of Ghats at the Saryu had been started and a ‘bhajan’ centre for local saints and people was constructed. The project was completed within a year, but before it could be inaugurated, the Akhilesh government was voted out of power and the BJP formed government in Uttar Pradesh.

Meanwhile, in a related development, the prevailing corona situation in the state has led to the cancellation of the annual ‘Saawan Mela’ in Pratapgarh.

The state government has already clamped a ban on ‘Kanwar Yatra’ and the Guru Purnima Mela in Mathura.

The ‘Saawan Mela’ that attracts lakhs of devotees was to be held on July 6 on the premises of the Bhayharan Nath Dham.

The Baba Bhayaharan Nath Dham is an ancient temple of Lord Shiva and situated in the Katra Gulab Singh village along the banks of river Bakulahi in Pratapgarh district.

The temple enshrines a Shivalinga, which is believed to have been established by the Pandavas. A grand fair is organised during the Hindu month of Saawan every year.

“The police have informed us that the Saawan Mela had been cancelled in the wake of the pandemic and has asked the organisers to remove the swings and slides erected for the event,” said Shekhar, the general secretary of the Dham.