LUCKNOW: The Uttar Pradesh government is planning to set up a spiritual eco-city in Ayodhya that will have vedic centres for religious ceremonies, a large forest cover and fountains. The construction, however, will be limited to only 5% of the 1,800- acre site earmarked on the banks of Saryu river.
The township is likely to be named Ikshvakupuri after the Ikshvaku dynasty whose prominent rulers included Raja Dashrath, Raja Harishchandra, Raja Raghu, Raja Bhaghirath, and the first five tirthankars (according to Jain genealogy).
The project is likely to cost more than Rs 2,000 crore.
The entry to the township will be restricted to spiritual backpackers, who want to pursue research in Vedic culture, study the Ramayana, take meditation classes with recital of Upanishads and vedas.
"The courses could be free as well as paid though it will be decided later. Stays for spiritual backpackers will be limited," said a top government official.
The project, based on the pattern of Angkor Wat temple complex in Siem Reap of Cambodia, will be developed by the state housing department that operates under the chief minister as well as urban development bodies that come under cabinet minister Ashutosh Tandon.
The forest cover, originally part of the Valmiki Ramyana, will be developed with tree patches like Dandkaranya, Vindhyaranya, Dhamraranya and Vedaranya.
Two sarovar (lakes), Pampa and Naryana, will be developed as water bodies.
The township, that will start from Ayodhya-Gonda highway and culminate on Guptar Ghat, will also have a riverfront, measuring 3km from the Ramjanmabhoomi site.
"The built-up area, including all complexes, will be acquired from the forest and horticulture departments as well as defunct government properties," said a top official in the CM's office.
According to the artistic impressions of the project in possession of TOI, the township will have four residential areas - ashrams for seers and saints, accommodation for spiritual travellers, state guest house for government officials, along with landscape of Ramayana that will showcase live history round-the clock with audio-visual rendition and a temple forecourt that will lead to the Ramjanmabhoomi site.
"There will be a direct access to the Ramjanmabhoomi site. However, only people on foot will be allowed. No vehicles will pass by," said an official.
"The township will be developed on the pattern of Cambodia where temples and ashrams share the same premises," said the official.