Chandkhuri( Raipur, Chhatisgarh): In a bid to push tourism when COVID-induced pandemic has derailed economic activity in most states of India and worldwide, the Chhattisgarh government has drawn up an ambitious plan of setting up tourism circuit covering nine spots along the legendary forested path once traversed by Lord Ram, Sita and Lakshman during their exile.
Chhattisgarh was a part of Dakshin Kaushal or Kaushal Raj in the Ramayana age and is said to be the parental home of Ram’s mother Mata Kaushalya. It is believed that Lord Ram spent 10 out of 14 years of his exile in the forests of Chhattisgarh.
The Kaushalya Mata Mandir in Chandkhuri village, Chhattisgarh is the only temple dedicated to Ram’s mother in the entire world.
“In Chhattisgarh, we worship the Bhanja (nephew) roop of Lord Ram. We have a unique tradition in which the uncle pays obeisance to the nephew and not the other way around. We see Ram in our nephew,” Bhupesh Baghel, chief minister, Chhattisgarh told the New Indian during an event this week.
The state is also looking at hosting several festivals to push tourism in the state over the next few years. “We want the tourists to experience the state hospitality and view it as a religious, cultural and ethnic tourist destination,” he added. Also Read: Young Delhi Cheers To A Lower Drinking Age
In fact, on the very first day of Navratras, the Chhattisgarh Tourism Board held a grand launch of the trail with the unveiling of a 51 feet high statue of Ram set against the ancient Mata Kaushalya temple.
The statue has been established in the temple complex along with a grand gate.
Beautification of the pond around the temple, construction of attractive pathways, and plantations are some of the other features that make this temple complex an attractive tourist spot.
Titled Ram Van Gaman Paripath (RVGP), this tourist circuit starts from Koria district in the north to Sukma in the southern-most part of the state.
The total length of the Chhattisgarh section of the path is close to 3,000 kms.
The nine sites that make a part of the first phase include: Sitamarhi- Harchowka, Ramgarh, Shivrinarayan, Turturiya, Chandkhuri, Rajim, Sihawa, Jagdalpur and Ramaram.
A musical opening dedicated to Lord Ram saw participation by local as well as famous national artistes, such as Shankar Mahadevan, Indian Ocean, Kabir Café, Sukriti Sen and V.Unbeatable.
On the request by The New Indian’, Indian Ocean’s Himanshu Joshi, Rahul Ram and Amit Kalam broke into an impromptu gig, “Ram ji ki charan pare, ais pag phad le bhaiya, jeevan suphal hoiya jaaye…”
Noted actor Ashish Vidyarthi played the emcee of the evening.
The tourism board also released a special song written by Indian Ocean’s Himanshu Joshi that evokes the glory of Lord Ram and speaks of his relevance through the ages.
After all, Ram is a thought that is deep rooted in our culture and the lord himself stands for all things ideal. His values and beliefs have stood the test of time and will continue to influence the future generations. Also Read: What Gandhi Means Today, Youth Speak Up