NEW DELHI: Ayodhya now finds itself on a list of cities drawn up by the ministry of tourism that will be spruced up with a plush hotel, a high-tech railway station and a state-of-the-art campus to woo tourists.
Two months after Yogi Adityanath took over the mantle of Uttar Pradesh, Ayodhya finds itself being inundated with sops from the Centre.
The long delayed land for the Rs 225-crore Ramayana museum was cleared days after Adityanath was sworn in as the state chief minister.
Ayodhya -- where the epic Ramayana states the Hindu deity Ram was born -- also became the focal point of the much publicised Ramayana Circuit organised by the ministry.
Now it is on the list of ten cities to be developed as an end-to-end tourism destination.
"We want to build a tourist campus in these cities. A tourist should want to stay there and not make it a day trip. The idea is to promote local trade and industry," a senior ministry official told PTI.
The other cities on the list are Gaya, Mathura, Varanasi, Sarnath, Gorakhpur, Agra, Amritsar, Kanyakumari and Guwahati.
The destinations will all get a five star hotel, an airport, if needed, a railway station with WiFi and other such facilities and a smooth network of roads and communication lines that will together lure a tourist to spend a night or two there.
"The idea is to build a whole new experience around the present site. For example, if a tourist goes to Agra, he should not come back to Delhi at the end of the day," the official said.
The cities, ministry sources said, were chosen because these are existing tourist areas. Now the effort would be to develop the regions around the main tourist site to increase footfall.
"We are going to develop tourist spots in and around the city to keep tourists engaged. This plan is to be followed in each city," the official said.
The tourism ministry has formed a committee of senior officials to draw up blueprints for each city along with cost estimates.