In a key boost to religious tourism in Uttar Pradesh, the culture and tourism departments under the Yogi Adityanath government will now focus on the development of Rajapur and Lalapur in Chitrakoot district.
These are the places associated with poet Tulsidas and famous sage Valmiki.
Rajapur, a town and tehsil of Chitrakoot, is associated with Tulsidas who authored the “Ramcharitmanas”, while Lalapur, located on the Chitrakoot-Prayagraj highway, is associated with Maharishi Valmiki who penned the epic “Ramayan”.
“The chief minister has ordered that the area around the ashram be developed into a tourist spot. So now, we will develop it with roads and ropeways, light and sound systems. The sage’s ashram is located atop a hill and to reach there one has to climb at least 480 stairs,” an official said.
Principal Secretary (tourism and culture) Mukesh Meshram said in the first phase the Forest Department had been given the task of preparing the approach route till the ashram.
These are not the only areas that are being developed. In fact, the state government has drawn up an ambitious plan to develop major places associated with saints and sages or those known for their temples.
In Vindhyachal region of Mirzapur, for instance, the government has decided to develop a Vindhyavasini Mandir Corridor, modelled on the lines of Kashi Vishwanath Corridor.
The corridor would have a 50-feet wide parikrama path (circumambulation route) around the temple of Goddess Vindhyavasini.
Even in Amethi, the government has planned to develop lesser known but locally important temples and sites.
The Nand Mahar, named after ‘Nand Baba’ who is believed to have nurtured Lord Krishna when he was enacting ‘Baal leela’; the Kalikan Dhaam, the Kadu Nala forest area, as well as the Bijli Pasi fort adjacent to Rae Bareli are some of the spots that the Adityanath government plans to develop.