Following the grand ‘Pran Pratishtha’ ceremony of Bhagwan Ram Lalla in Ayodhya on January 22 and the Mandir opening its doors to the public on January 23, a swarm of devotees is flooding the Ram Mandir chanting slogans of ‘Jai Shri Ram’, ‘Jai Sitaram’. It has led certain national and international agencies to come up with reports suggesting that Ayodhya is going to witness a huge influx of tourists and devotees in the near future and will play a vital role in the realisation of the USD 1 trillion GDP target of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Larsen & Toubro, the company involved in the construction of the Mandir, has claimed that the newly constructed Ram Mandir will remain in existence for the next 1,000 years because of the quality of construction and engineering and that its economic impact will be equally significant.
“Another research conducted by SBI Research recently claims that owing to the Ram Mandir and other tourism-centric initiatives, Uttar Pradesh is expected to have a tax collection of Rs 25,000 crore in 2024-25. It clearly States that Ayodhya will be the most important factor in this with tourists and devotees coming to the city not only from within the country but also from different parts of the world. It reveals further that with the growth in tourism, Uttar Pradesh will become richer by about 4 lakh crores this year,” the Chief Minister’s office said in a press release.
Foreign stock market research firm Jefferies claims that Ayodhya will surpass Vatican City and Mecca in terms of the number of devotees visiting the place. Notably, Vatican City is the holiest place for Catholics, where millions of people come every year. Similarly, Mecca in Saudi Arabia, which is the major pilgrimage site for the Muslim community, sees millions of visitors annually.
According to the report, Ayodhya is expected to attract around five crore devotees annually, making it a major tourism destination not only within Uttar Pradesh but also in the entire country. Jefferies has also said that with the construction of the Ram Mandir as well as the provision of various facilities, such as a new international airport, an advanced railway station, a township, road connectivity, and new hotels, Ayodhya is becoming a hot spot for tourism. This will further strengthen Uttar Pradesh’s second place as a tourist destination on the map of India, it States.
According to the report, along with the increase in the number of devotees, Ayodhya will also see a growth in its annual revenue. It mentions that Tirupati Balaji in Andhra Pradesh, which attracts 2.5 crore devotees every year, generates an annual revenue of Rs 1200 crore, whereas Vaishno Devi receives 80 lakh people annually and gets an annual revenue of Rs 500 crore. Similarly, in Agra, the Taj Mahal attracts 70 lakh visitors, generating an annual revenue of Rs 100 crore, while Agra Fort sees 30 lakh visitors, contributing to an annual revenue of Rs 27.5 crore.
The report says that Mecca attracts two crore people annually, contributing to Saudi Arabia’s annual revenue of 12 billion dollars, whereas the Vatican City, with 90 lakh visitors annually, generates an annual revenue of 315 million dollars.
“According to another estimate, more than one lakh devotees are expected to visit Ayodhya every day for the darshan of Bhagwan Sri Ram. This number could soon reach three lakh devotees per day. If this happens, over 10 crore devotees may visit Ayodhya annually. If each devotee spends approximately Rs 2500 during their visit, the local economy of Ayodhya alone would add up to Rs 25,000 crore,” the press release said.
Notably, devotees travelling to Ayodhya are likely to visit other religious sites, such as Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi and Banke Bihari Temple in Mathura. This would also positively impact the local economies of Varanasi and Mathura.
In this way, the economy of Uttar Pradesh could receive an additional dose of nearly Rs 1 lakh crore directly each year. This direct boost could have a ripple effect on the local economy, potentially resulting in approximately five times the impact, ultimately contributing to India’s economic development.
In addition, religious tourism creates new opportunities for employment in sectors such as transportation, hotels, and the production of local goods. This not only benefits the local economy, but also strengthens the overall economic development. Countries like Switzerland, Italy, France, America, UAE, etc. have achieved incomparable economic development based on tourism. Similarly, with the inauguration of the Bhagwan Shri Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, India is poised to join these nations, and its economic development rate could surpass 10 per cent.
The reports suggest that Ayodhya has the potential to change the destiny of Uttar Pradesh and the country. Notably, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have transformed the image of Ayodhya through comprehensive development.
(with inputs from ANI)