Once a narrow road, 13-km Ram Path blossoms into a divine promenade - Hindustan Times
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Once a narrow road, 13-km Ram Path blossoms into a divine promenade

Jan 12, 2024 10:51 PM IST

Lamp posts on the divider and Surya Stambhs on both sides of the footpath add to the magnificence of the Ram Path while big showrooms of multinational brands have also come up on the road

LUCKNOW As the countdown to the Pran Pratishtha ceremony of Ram Lalla begins, Ayodhya’s new lifeline - 13-km-long Ram Path connecting Ayodhya (erstwhile Faizabad) with Ayodhya Dham - nears completion to welcome visitors.

When you step on the 13-km Ram Path, whose starting point is Sahadatganj, the changing face of Ayodhya is clearly visible. (Deepak Gupta/HT Photo)
When you step on the 13-km Ram Path, whose starting point is Sahadatganj, the changing face of Ayodhya is clearly visible. (Deepak Gupta/HT Photo)

The change in this erstwhile sleepy town is clearly visible as one enters Sahadatganj from Lucknow-Ayodhya bypass, the first entry point in Ayodhya from the state capital.

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Those who visited Ayodhya a long time ago remember the Sahadatganj road as a narrow one-lane stretch. Now, a life-size statue of Lord Ram welcomes visitors at the tri-section.

As you move ahead, you are left awestruck. When you step on the 13-km Ram Path, whose starting point is Sahadatganj, the changing face of Ayodhya is clearly visible.

From a narrow single-lane road meandering towards the city, it is now a four-lane road with broad footpaths on both sides.

Lamp posts on the divider and Surya Stambhs on both sides of the footpath add to the magnificence of the Ram Path while big showrooms of multinational brands have also come up on both sides of the road up to the district hospital crossing.

From this crossing, when you turn left for Ayodhya Dham, another significant change is visible. Here, the Ayodhya Development Authority has implemented the building code.

All buildings, commercial and residential, have been painted in light ochre colour. Some shops are still in the repair stage.

Commercial establishments and residences on both sides of the Ram Path were demolished last year for the Ram Path project.

At one point of this road, labourers are working and heavy machines are rolling to complete pending work for the Ram Path.

At Udaya crossing, Ayodhya (old Faizabad) ends and Ayodhya Dham begins. All this falls on Ram Path.

From this point, one can reach straight to the Hanuman Garhi, Lata Mangeshkar Chowk and Ram Ki Paidi. In between, lies the Bhakti Path, a road that leads to Ram Mandir.

Shops on both sides of the road have been painted in ochre colour to give a uniform look . Almost all shops here are selling saffon dhwaj (flag) of Lord Hanuman.

The bustling life of Ayodhya is also evident by the heavy vehicular movement on Ram Path.

As the sun sets, Ayodhya Dham, which was earlier reminiscent of sadhus with tilak smeared on the forehead and dark pitched nights, bounces back to life on Ram Path.

Big and small shops on both sides of Ram Path in the vicinity of Hanuman Garhi right up to Lata Mangeshkar Chowk are lit up.

At 9pm, Ayodhya Dham is swarmed by people.

Sunita Gupta and her husband Om Prakash are arranging their coffee machine on the footpath just in front of their shop.

The couple is excited as it is their maiden tryst with a coffee machine. Their 18-feet-shop has been reduced to four feet for the Ram Path road project.

What used to be a medical store is now just a small grocery store with an addition of a coffee machine, and that too on the footpath. However, the duo is happy.

“For this change in Ayodhya, all of us here have to sacrifice. I am not an exception whose shop has been reduced to one-fourth of its original size,” said Om Prakash.

Sunita, standing next to her husband, agrees by nodding her head.

“I am happy Ayodhya is changing. I am also hopeful that business will increase manifold in days to come,” said Om Prakash.

A group of teenagers standing next to Om Prakash’s shop is excited as cops have just announced the arrival of chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s cavalcade.

The CM was in Ayodhya on Tuesday (January 9) to oversee preparations for the Pran Pratishtha ceremony on January 22.

Just behind Om Prakash’s shop is Digambar Akhada whose head Mahant Suresh Das is not well.

When in Ayodhya, the chief minister makes it a point to visit Digambar Akhada to meet Mahant Suresh Das.

“Ram Path has now become the lifeline of Ayodhya. It connects Ayodhya (earlier Faizabad) with Ayodhya Dham. Now, the city’s life revolves on this 13-km stretch of the road,” said Raju Das, priest of Hanuman Garhi temple.

“Ayodhya used to go to sleep after 8pm. But this is new Ayodhya,” says Das pointing towards busy shopkeepers attending customers on Ram Path near Hanuman Garhi on a chilly winter night at 9.30pm.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Pawan Dixit has been a journalist for over a decade. He has extensively covered eastern UP for around five years, covered 2012 UP assembly polls, 2014 Lok Sabha polls while being stationed in Varanasi. Now, in Lucknow, he covers outstation political assignments, reports special cases from district court, high court and state information commission

  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Anupam Srivastava is a Special Correspondent with Hindustan Times, Lucknow. Has produced exclusive stories in medical, civil aviation, civic, political and other issues for over 20 years.

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