May 18, 2017

India: Ministry of Tourism and Culture coming out with a blueprint of a multi million dollar Ram museum in Ayodhya

The Hindu

₹225-crore Ram museum in Ayodhya
Nistula Hebbar

NEW DELHI, May 18, 2017 00:17 IST

Lord’s abode : The museum by the Sarayu will have the outward appearance of a temple.
Concept note speaks of prayers at yagyashala and hall for religious discourses

Plans to build a temple dedicated to Lord Ram on the banks of the Sarayu river in Ayodhya continue afoot, with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture coming out with a blueprint that includes a yagyashala where oblations will take place twice a day, and live performances of the Ramayana in various languages would be a daily feature.

According to senior officials in the ministry, the plans have been drawn up by about five museologists from India for the proposed campus, set in 25 acres in Ayodhya, not very far from the disputed site of Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has accorded in principle approval for grant of land for the purpose of a grand Ram museum in Ayodhya.

The concept note, available with The Hindu, shows that the museum will have the outward appearance of a temple. Upon entering, there would be a pictorial representation of a Ram Durbar, with the walls covered with various prasangas (episodes) from Lord Ram’s life. “The outward appearance will be that of a temple. Certain elements of the Ramayana museum from Mauritius to be incorporated,” said a source. These would include a yagyashala for prayers twice a day, and a hall for religious discourses.

The concept note goes on to state that an exhibition of various artefacts unearthed by Dr. B.B. Lal of the Benaras Hindu University (BHU), and representations of what was unearthed in the excavations carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) under orders of the Allahabad High Court in the Ram Temple case, will be displayed in one part of the museum. “Scientific findings on Ram, Ramayana and Ram Setu will also be displayed in a separate hall,” said the note. A research library on the various version of the epic will be set up with provisions for scholars to stay on campus.

“We have also set out to acquire rare editions of the Ramayana and versions of it in all languages from across the country,” said the source. “Initially, the budget provision is for ₹ 225 crore, but we expect more funds once the project gets off the ground,” he added.

The Ministry of Culture will be setting up a committee of “eminent experts”, including museologists, historians and cultural figures, who will give finishing touches to the museum. While a dispute over the Ram Janmabhoomi rages on politically and in the law courts, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government appears ready take its chances with a museum at least.