Gearing up for big Diwali celebrations, the Uttar Pradesh government plans to light more than 5.5 lakh earthen diyas on Saturday evening around Ayodhya, which is known in legends as the birthplace of Lord Rama.
This year, with that large a number of diyas, the state is aiming to break its own Guinness World Record of set in 2018 with three lakh diyas on the banks of the Saryu River.
In the northern part of the country, Diwali is celebrated as the event marking the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after he was banished for 14 years.
The huge celebration in Ayodhya is part of the third ‘Deeptosava’ organized by the Yogi Adityanath-led UP government and will cost more than Rs 130 crore, according to ANI.
The state administration has made elaborate plans for the five-day-long festival of lights. It will also see a massive fair being held as part of celebrations which is aiming to attract more tourism.
A tableau procession of Lord Rama is taking place on Saturday from Saket College to Ram Katha Park, in which artists from various countries will take part.
CM Yogi Adityanath, arriving in Ayodhya for the celebrations, said previous heads of the state used to be scared of coming to the city but he has made visits at least 1.5 dozen times. He added that the government has planned Rs 226-crore worth of development projects for Ayodhya.
"We are trying to build the kind of Ayodhya that Lord Rama had envisioned," the chief minister said addressing the public.
“Administrative officials have taken stock of all the places where celebrations are to take place. On ‘Deeptosava’, more than 5.5 lakh earthen lamps will be lit in Ayodhya. This will be historic as it will involve huge public participation,” said R K Tiwari, chief secretary of the UP government.
UP Governor Anandiben Patel, CM Adityanath, Union Minister Pralhad Joshi are among key administrative figures who will attend the ‘Deepotsav’ event. Ram Paidi and Ram Katha Park are few of the places where the lighting of Diyas will take place.
Before this year, the cost of organising Deepotsav at Ayodhya was taken care of by the UP Tourism Department. But this time around, the state government is be funding the function via district administration, according to the Times of India.
The UP government also issued a notification permitting the bursting of lesser pollution-causing green firecrackers only between 8 pm to 10 pm on the occasion of Diwali. Amid concerns over worsening air quality, the government promoted the green crackers, which cause 30% less pollution, developed by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and manufactured in India.
To maintain the eco-friendly Diwali image, Uttar Pradesh police has also decided to light up all the police stations with earthen diyas. It also rolled out an order asking police personnel to buy handmade earthen lamps from local potters instead of Chinese lamps.
(With inputs from agencies)