Ayodhya creates global buzz

The tourism surge in Ayodhya, which has rich historical and cultural significance, is not just driven by religious sentiment but also by curiosity, says Prateek Hira, Chairman, IATO–UP Chapter.

Janice Alyosius

Ayodhya, the holy city situated on the banks of Sarayu river in Uttar Pradesh, is experiencing an unprecedented surge in tourism, fuelled by the hype created surrounding the Ayodhya Temple. Sharing insights into the remarkable influx of visitors and evolving landscape of tourism infrastructure in Ayodhya, Prateek Hira, Chairman, IATO UP Chapter, says, “A lot of queries are coming. We have not ever faced such kind of influx of queries that we are having every day. With approximately 90 per cent of email queries being Ayodhya-centric, the demand for travel to the city is undeniable. Visitors are eager not only to witness the temple but also to explore its surroundings and partake in special darshans.”

The tourism surge isn’t limited to domestic visitors. International tourists are also captivated by the Ayodhya’s charm. “A lot of visitors are coming from outside,” Hira says.

The IATO UP Chapter Chairman gives credit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for the unprecedented love for the holy city. Calling them the “biggest brand ambassadors,” Hira says their visits to the temple created a buzz and enhanced Ayodhya’s appeal.

However, the surge in tourism poses challenges for local infrastructure and residents in Ayodhya. “It has become overly crowded. The locals are finding it challenging to manage their daily lives,” he pointed out, emphasizing on the need for responsible travel practices amid the growing crowds.

Hira highlights, ‘Despite infrastructure limitations, Ayodhya is witnessing the development of new hotels and accommodations, such as Park Inn by Radisson and Taj Hotel, to accommodate the rising number of visitors.” He also underscores the increase in Ayodhya’s connectivity with other destinations. “Currently, there are eight SpiceJet flights operating from various locations, along with services from IndiGo and Air India. Additionally, airlines are increasing both flight and seat capacity to accommodate the growing demand, not only in terms of connections but also by adding more flights,” he informs. The rush for Ayodhya is likely to benefit surrounding destinations. “The tourism boom in Ayodhya also benefits neighbouring cities like Lucknow, which serve as gateways to the sacred destination. The convenient two-hour travel distance between Lucknow and Ayodhya further amplifies tourism potential in the region.”

The temple has been attracting a lot of visitors, not only for spiritual tourism but also for those who want to come and experience the hype that has been created. “Spiritual tourism is playing a significant role, not solely driven by religion or spirituality, but by curiosity. Despite the numerous challenges faced, there’s a curiosity to witness what has been created,” Hira concludes.

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