Developing Ram Van Path Gaman Tourism Circuit to boast tourism

Chhattisgarh is regarded as the nanihal (mother’s birthplace) of Lord Ram. It is also the place where Lord Ram along with his wife Sita and brother Laxman spent most of his time here during his exile from Ayodhya. In order to preserve these memories, the state government is developing Ram Van Path Gaman Tourism Circuit.

Words by Suman Bajpai

It was the first day of Navratra. On this auspicious occasion, Chhattisgarh’s Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel launched an ambitious tourism project. Based on the state’s new development plans for 2021, the Ram Van Gaman Path Tourist Circuit project was inaugurated at the ancient Kaushalya Mata Mandir, located in Chandkhuri village which is approximately 25 km from Raipur. Ram, Lakshman and Sita spent most of their 14-year exile from Ayodhya in the forests of Chhattisgarh. For that reason, the state abounds with stories of Ram, Laxman and Sita living in exile in the forests of Chhattisgarh. Stories and songs inspired by Lord Ram have been narrated and sung in communities here and passed on through generations.

Not only that the state is the nanihal (mother’s birthplace) of Lord Ram. It is the place where Prince Ram, carefully nurtured by his mother’s love, became Maryada Purushotam.”Lord Ram spent most of his time here during his exile from Ayodhya. In order to preserve the memories linked to Lord Ram and Mata Kaushalya, the government has envisioned this project where devotees and tourists will be able to feel the essence of divinity with every step, they take on Ram Van Path Gaman Tourism Circuit”, said Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel.

Stage was set

The inauguration of the project preceded a three-day celebration, which was a visual spectacle combining music, dance, a laser show and an audio-visual presentation in 3D depicting the story of Lord Ram and his stay in Chhattisgarh during his exile. Voiced by well-known Hindi film actor Sharad Kelkar, the presentation was an immersive experience of storytelling. The crowd went into a state of hysteria when acclaimed singer-composer Padma Shri Shankar Mahadevan made his appearance on stage. He began with Ganesh Vandana to set the auspicious mood. After the Ganesh Vandana, the maestro invited singer Prajakta Shukre of Indian Idol fame to join him on stage. Together they enthralled the exuberant crowd with bhajans on Lord Ram and Krishna. As the mood was set by Shankar Mahadevan, it could not restrain the Chief Minister from breaking into a dance and later joining him and other artists on stage. Other ministers and dignitaries also accompanied the Chief Minister on stage. “Chhattisgarhiyaan, Sable Badhiya” meaning the people of Chhattisgarh are the best, they shouted in unison as the audiences cheered loudly and clapped.

Plan to make it an annual celebration

This is intended to become an annual occurrence with fiesta and festivities and is aimed at giving Chhattisgarh its place as an exciting destination for international as well as domestic tourists. Ram Van Gaman Path is a new tourism circuit that follows the path travelled by Lord Ram in the region of Chhattisgarh during his exile from Ayodhya. In the first phase of this project, the plan is to develop the nine spots that fall on the forested route that Lord Ram traversed. Initially, 75 places were identified by researchers and out of them, 9 spots were highlighted to develop and convert them as tourist spots.   Through this tourism circuit, devotees would be able to experience the spiritual mementoes related to Lord Ram from Koriya district to Sukma. Sitamarhi Harchauka (Koriya), Ramgarh (Sarguja), Shivrinarayan (Janjgir-Champa), Turturiya (Balodabazar), Chandkhuri (Raipur), Rajim (Gariyaband), Sihawa Saptarishi Ashram (Dhamtari), Jagdalpur (Bastar), and Ramaram (Sukma) are being developed at a cost of ₹133.55 crores under the Ram Van Gaman Tourism Circuit project. This is expected to not only boost rural tourism in the state but also unleash the path to new global tourism opportunities.

“Our main priority is to develop the identified sites of the Ram Van Gaman Path into prime tourist spots. Keeping in mind the ongoing pandemic, special efforts are being made to motivate tourists towards domestic tourism and the Ram Van Gaman Path will be an immersive experience for tourists. The Ram Van Gaman tourism circuit of about 2260 km is being developed from Harchowka in Sitamarhi of Korea district to Ramaram in Sukma,”, said secretary tourism, Shri Anbalagan P.

Statue of Lord Ram

Om this occasion at the ancient Mata Kaushalya temple of Chandkhuri, CM also unveiled a 51-feet-tall statue of Lord Ram in the backdrop of a light and fire show. The renovation and beautification work of the Kaushalya Temple has been done for this purpose at the cost of ₹15.45 crore. The 51-feet-tall statue has been established in the temple premise; along with the grand gate in the premises, beautification of the pond around the temple, construction of attractive pathways, and plantations. The temple is surrounded by beautiful gardens, in the middle of the pond there is an attractive statue of Goddess Lakshmi pressing the feet of Lord Vishnu on the Sheshnag bed, and the sculpture depicting ‘Samudra Manthan’ are the main centres of attraction for the devotees.

New shape to tourism

Addressing the enthusiastic gathering at the Police Academy Parade Ground in Chandkhuri, CM said, “It was imperative that the tourists visiting Chhattisgarh from India and abroad should be made aware of the ancient religious heritage of the state in which we take absolute pride. This initiative will give a new shape to the religious tourism in Chhattisgarh, showcase the rich traditions of the state to the world and also generate new opportunities of income for the local people.”

“The state aims to develop and beautify the selected sites and create world-class tourism infrastructure to generate high footfalls which will give a boost to state tourism. through this tourism circuit, we want to showcase the historical, archaeological, religious and natural heritage of our glorious and ancient state. Our endeavour is to create new initiatives that give a boost to state tourism and generate opportunities for employment for the local populace,” said Shri Tamradhwaj Sahu, Minister of Tourism.

Transforming tourism to a new height

Chhattisgarh has positioned itself as a destination full of surprises with some of the amazing destinations which could certainly lead to the growth of tourism in the future. It has created a niche for itself on the tourist map of India. “Tourism in a general is an industry where primary entrepreneur really needs to take it forward. The government role is to create a viable environment, infrastructure, a sense of security and law and order. The state government is taking initiatives to improve and enhance tourism in Chhattisgarh as it is a major contributor to the state’s economy. Various developmental plans, like improving infrastructure and encouraging investors, are being undertaken by the authorities to attract domestic and foreign tourists to the state. Chhattisgarh tourism policy was drafted to promote tourism actively in the state. The main objective of the policy is to promote tourism, strengthen the quality and expertise; encourage and promote private sector participation, promote new trends of tourism and increase the contribution of the tourism department in the economic growth of Chhattisgarh state”, stated secretary tourism of the state, Shri Anbalagan P.

‘“Baat Hai Abhiman Ki, Chhattisgarh Ke Swabhiman Ki’, this is our slogan for ventures like Ram Van Gaman Path. This project is a part of our policy to develop tourism in the state. And we are sure with such initiatives; footfall of tourists would increase on domestic as well as international level. We want to create a friendly environment for tourists and are determined to provide them basic facilities, as tourists who visit our state want to be in the lap of nature. We just don’t want to create infrastructures, but want to make them a comfortable place for tourists of any country,” said Shri Tamradhwaj Sahu, Minister of Tourism.

Creating a unique image

The state has taken a conscious decision to do away with past legacies to adapt to tourism Development. The tourism policy is focused on creating a unique image for the state and to position it as an attractive destination for both domestic as well as foreign tourists. The state will play the role of catalyst and facilitator to promote tourism and invite private players. It will ensure inter-government and intra-government coordination, rationalized taxation policies; regulate sustainable growth and provide tourist’s safety.  Shri Tamradhwaj Sahu, Minister of Tourism added, “Tourism as a product requires constant updating and modernization. We must strive to make the destination for tourist to visit again and again and hence look beyond the destinations available within the states.  Domestic tourism should not be overlooked and be promoted very seriously for proper and continuous utilization of the tourism infrastructure.”



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