Eighteen tableaux, themed on the Ramayana, the Ramcharitmanas and various social issues, were part of a procession taken out ahead of the seventh Deepotsav to be held here in Uttar Pradesh on the eve of Diwali. UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was also seen performing 'Arti' during the celebrations.
The procession, which also had performances by folk artistes and 'aartis', started from the Udaya Square and passed through various parts of the city to reach the Ram Katha Park. It was flagged off by Uttar Pradesh Minister of Tourism and Culture Jaiveer Singh, according to a statement.
During the Deepotsav, 24 lakh 'diyas' (earthen lamps) will be lit on Ram ki Pairi and a light-and-sound show organised in the evening.
The statement said that the tableaux were made by the state's tourism and information departments.
The tableaux were themed on issues such as children's rights and basic education, women's safety and welfare, self-reliance, protection of forest and environment, and science and technology. They also showcased different government initiatives.
There were also floats inspired by the Ramcharitmanas and the Ram Katha, some also depicted the Shabari-Ram Milap and Lanka Dahan.
Not only from Uttar Pradesh, but artistes from across the country, participated in the procession. People from across Ayodhya had gathered along roads to witness performances, including folk dances of different states.
Singh said, "Ram Nagari (Ayodhya) will host the Deepotsav celebration. A new record for lighting the most diyas in the world will be set once more. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will perform Lord Ram's coronation during this festival of lights."
"The most important aspect will be the presence of diplomats from 50 major countries during Lord Ram's coronation," he said and added that Diwali reminds everyone of the 'Tretayug', when Lord Ram returned to Ayodhya after defeating Ravan.
"Ayodhya is the cherished jewel of India, and the cultural message emanating from this celebration will resonate on the global stage, conveying the essence of the Sanatan culture of India," he said.
The Deepotsav tradition in Ayodhya began with the formation of the Yogi Adityanath government in 2017.
Beginning with 51,000 diyas in 2017, the number went up to 4.10 lakh in 2019, over 6 lakh in 2020 and more than 9 lakh in 2021, setting a Guinness World Record.
In 2022, more than 17 lakh diyas were lit across ghats of Ram ki Pairi, but the Guinness Book of World Records only took those diyas into consideration which remained lit for five minutes or more and the record was 15.76 lakh.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief guest at the last Deepotsav in October.
This year's event will be special as the construction work of Ram temple is in full swing in Ayodhya.