Uttarakhand is looking to develop a ‘Ramayana Circuit’, comprising all holy sites linked with Ramayana in the state, to boost religious tourism. According to the news reports, Uttarakhand tourism minister, Satpal Maharaj, shared the news with the press in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya during the Bhoomi Pujan ceremony recently.
Under the initiative, officials are keen to bring holy sites associated with Ramayana and build them for tourists to visit and learn about. “We have some holy sites and temples in the state which are linked with Ramayana. We will develop all of them and bring it under our initiative of Ramayana circuit to boost religious tourism in the state,” Satpal Maharaj said.
He further said that Rishikesh has Bharat and Shatrughan temples in Rishikesh where it is believed that the two had met Lord Rama. There is also Raghunath temple in Devprayag which was also visited by Lord Rama. By putting these temples in the Ramayana circuit, people will also get to know about the importance of Uttarakhand in Ramayana.
Reportedly, Satpal Maharaj has held talks with the Union minister of tourism Prahlad Singh Patel to discuss the possibility of making circuits across those states that are connected with the episodes of Ramayana. “I urged him to assess the possibility of developing similar circuits in all those states which have some connection with Ramayana. I also requested him to get a study done on the significance of Ramayana on some of the Southeast Asian countries where it is a part of their culture,” Maharaj added.
Uttarakhand Tourism Department is also working towards developing the Mahabharat circuit and Sita circuit to boost religious tourism. In 2019, Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Trivendra Singh Rawat had talked about developing a Sita Mata circuit in Pauri Garhwal district. Legend has it that it was in the Phalswari village of Pauri Garhwal where Sita Devi went back to the earth. The village is located 15 km away from Pauri town where Sita Mata Mela is held in May every year for three days.