Ayodhya / Lucknow: Eversince the ball has been set rolling for the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, there is steady activity on the tourist front which is giving even those dealing with tourists reason to heave a sigh of relief.
The main attraction in the first few days of the new year at Ayodhya was the Chhappan Bhog which is considered very auspicious ritual held religiously each year at the temple to celebrate the Maryada Purushottam Rama. For the first time after nearly three decades, Ramlala was worshiped lawfully by offering fifty-six dishes in the temple with full rituals in place. Acharya Satyendra Das, the priest of Sri Ramjanmabhoomi said when Ramlala was in the tent, he could not get such facilities.
In 2021, for the first time on New Year, the revered deities were offered new clothes and offered special dishes. The Chhappan Bhog was specially made to order by the famous Madhurima Sweets of Lucknow. There are dry fruits and different kinds of sweets like rasgulla, malpua, rasmalai etc.
Steady line of faithful
The opening days of the new year have been very encouraging with people making a beeline for Ramnagari Ayodhya. On the business front, it has been a good headstart for Ayodhya. Not only has it become a hub of religious tourism even local businesses are seeing happy times. Unlike previous years, Ayodhya this year start has seen record footfall.
A total of 47621 devotees attended the court of Ramlala. For the much revered Lord, this was the first year after his being shifted to the temporary temple, which the devotees celebrated with full enthusiasm.
Businessmen are happy with the sale of offerings, puja paraphernalia and other items. Hotels and restaurants have been doing well too.
Records worth boasting of
The residing place of Ramlala and Hanumangarhi saw the most ardent worshippers turn up.
The priest Acharya Satyendra Das of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi has been quoted by the local media saying that the record was broken on New Year. Everyone coming to the temple wanted to get a sight of the residing deity. In Siddhapeeth Hanumangarhi, lakhs of devotees took their respectful bows as well.
Priest Rajudas has told the media procession of worship started from Brahma Muhurta and went on till the night until aarti hours. On the very first day of the new year, an atmosphere of religious tourism was seen in Ramnagari. Rajudas said it is an auspicious sign for Ramnagari. There is a strong possibility that the new year will prove to be a year of progress for Ramnagari.
Local businessmen are largely of the view that lakhs of devotees have visited Hanumangarhi. Last year, barely 10 to 12 thousand prasad was sold, but this year that amount has gone up by three times. Prasad businessman like Ashish Gupta, Ashok Gupta are quoted in local reports saying the atmosphere of religious tourism was seen in Ayodhya after years.
A flowery start at Rama’s abode
Flower-merchant businessman Ramkumar Patwa said that devotees also bought a lot of garlands and flowers. Those dealing with religious scriptures said devotees have also bought religious books, garlands etc.