Cultural and Religious Tourism Boost: UP Government to Establish Special Welfare Council for Priests
With religious tourism, the welfare of elderly saints and priests and the publicity of local history and icons in mind, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath issued a set of instructions to officials on Wednesday which included the formation of a “special council” for the welfare of aged saints, pujaris and purohits, the construction of a “Ramayana gallery”, books on the history of each of the 75 districts, a “Gaurav gallery” in each university and the development of an “integrated temple information system”.
Reviewing the presentations of the departments of culture and tourism in the presence of the ministers, the CM also asked the officials to build a “Ramayana cultural center” in Barabanki and to open academies for the development of local languages such as the Braj, Awadhi, Bundeli and Bhojpuri.
Keeping the election promise to “ensure the welfare of aged sants, pujaris and purohits,” Adityanath instructed officials to form a special council for them so that “plans for their general welfare can be implemented properly. “. The ruling BJP had promised as much in its election manifesto for the 2022 assembly elections.
During his visit to Ayodhya recently, he had ordered the municipal authorities to stop collecting council tax at the commercial rate from muth and other religious institutions and advised them to collect a token amount instead, if necessary.
In an attempt to promote religious tourism in the state, the CM has asked officials to develop an integrated online temple information system within 100 days with detailed information on important temples, their history, map road, etc. and ordered the establishment of “Bhajan Sandhya Sthals” in Prayagraj, Mathura, Gorakhpur and Varanasi, in addition to doing “cultural mapping” for the traditions of the Ramayana era.
Furthermore, he instructed officials to develop a “Ramayana Gallery” on the “Ram Van Gaman” path – the route taken by Lord Ram during his 14 years of exile. A route of about 200 km from Ayodhya to Chitrakoot has been identified and is being developed with the assistance of the Union Ministry of Roads, Transport and Highways for this purpose. According to official sources, land acquisition for the project has already started as the project will be completed in a phased manner. The CM further ordered officials to develop a “Ramayana and Shilpgram Cultural Center” at Ramsnehi Ghat in Barabanki and complete the widening of “Bhakti Path” and “Janma Bhumi Path” leading to the Ram Janma Bhumi in Ayodhya.
In addition, officials were asked to ensure that “Ram Leela” is played regularly in Ayodhya. To promote and retain local languages and dialects, it was decided to build different local dialect academies in Bundelkhand, western, central and eastern Uttar Pradesh named Surdas, Tulsidas, Kabir Das and Keshav Das. According to a government spokesperson, Surdas Brajbhasha Academy, Goswami Tulsidas Awadhi Academy, Keshavdas Bundeli Academy and Sant Kabir Das Bhojpuri Academy will be established to fulfill this purpose.
Apart from religious tourism, the government has also decided to publish books about all 75 districts in the state telling their “prosperous history”, and to make and show documentaries about all 75 districts based on “rashtrabhakti”. To acquaint students and young people with local heroes of the independence struggle and other local icons, the government has also decided to develop “Gaurav galleries” in all universities and state archives. During the presentation, it was suggested to also start a “community radio” at Sangeet Natak Academy, which could be named “Jay Ghosh”.
The CM, meanwhile, asked officials to launch a state-level ranking framework for educational institutions modeled on the NIRF for “healthy competition.” He also asked officials to prepare the new state sports policy with the help of sportsmen.
The NIRF was launched by the Union Department of Education (then called the Union Human Resource Development) in 2015 as a framework to rank educational institutions across the country.