Around 5,000 years ago, Bhagwan Ram returned home on Kartik Maas Amavasya from 14-year long vanvas (exile), and the people of Ayodhya lit diyas to welcome him. For millions of Hindus, Diwali not only connects them to the roots of Sanatan Dharma but also gives them a chance to connect with family members. While Hindu across the world will be lighting diyas, lights, and firecrackers, people of Ayodhya will experience never-like-before Diwali celebrations with over 5.51 lakh diyas in the city.
As per reports, state rural development department has brought together various self-help groups, many of which have women members, to create employment opportunities by manufacturing diyas. State govt plans to light up as many as 5.51 lakh diyas in Ayodhya during the Deepotsav planned from 11 to 13 November.
Ram Janmabhoomi to see celebrations after 500 years
Around 500 years back, the Bhavya Ram Mandir was replaced with a disputed structure often referred to as Babri Masjid. The people of Ayodhya were waiting since then for the return of Bhagwan Ram to the abode. In November 2019, the Supreme Court of India finally ruled in favour of the Hindus.
In August 2020, the construction of Ram Mandir started after Bhoomi Pujan by PM Narendra Modi. Several years of wait and supreme sacrifice by countless Karsewaks made it possible for every Ram Bhakt to experience the emotional moment of the first Diwali in 500 years at Ram Janmbhoomi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also take part in the festivities virtually.
A portal to virtually lighting Diyas in Ayodhya
Uttar Pradesh government is developing a web portal for the Ram Bhakts to facilitate virtual lighting of diyas on Diwali in Ayodhya. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, millions of Ram Bhakts will not be able to attend the first Diwali in 500 years in Ayodhya.
इस दीवाली राम दरबार में वर्चुअल हाजिरी— Yogi Adityanath Office (@myogioffice) November 9, 2020
आदरणीय PM श्री @narendramodi जी भी करेंगे वर्चुअल सहभागिता
अयोध्या के 300 से ज्यादा धार्मिक स्थलों पर जलाए जाएंगे 5.50 लाख से ज्यादा दीये
CM श्री @myogiadityanath जी ने 3 दिवसीय दीपोत्सव में रोजाना अलग-अलग कार्यक्रमों के निर्देश दिए हैं pic.twitter.com/GMQAXBoN5T
To make sure no Ram Bhakt feels left out, a web portal will provide the facility to virtually light up a lamp in Ayodhya. Before lighting the diya, the devotee will be able to choose earthen, brass, or copper diya and type of oil to light it. CM Yogi Adityanath is personally overseeing the preparations to ensure everything is on schedule.
5.51 lakh Diyas will lit up Ayodhya like never before
Since Yogi Adityanath took over charge as CM in Uttar Pradesh, Ayodhya breaks records of lighting diyas every year. This year, the city will experience the emotional rollercoaster ride with 5.51 lakhs diyas scheduled to be lit across the city. There are 10,000 volunteers working day and night to complete the preparations. Last year, 4,26,000 diyas were lit, which was a record in itself. In 2017, 1.17 lakh diyas were lit on Diwali in Ayodhya. 24 ghats have been marked for the celebrations.
An opportunity to the righteous path for women hooch peddlers
Women hooch peddlers of Barabanki took a giant leap of faith in Bhagwan Ram and adopted the righteous path this Diwali. It was an initiative of Barabanki police under which they reformed women hooch sellers of Chayanpurva under Ramnagar police station. The region is infamous for the production and sale of hooch that is a deadly concoction mostly brewed by women.
Arvind Chaturvedi, superintendent Barabanki police, said the initiative was started two months back as they began to encourage women to shift to alternative jobs like beekeeping and to produce wax candles. They trained women before the festive season to mold earthen diyas. Every woman will get Rs.5.50 per diya that they make deposited directly in their bank account.
Kanchan had been making the poisonous potion even after losing her husband to hooch to keep her kitchen running. She happily shifted to diya molding under the initiative. For Kanchan, it was no less than a miracle. Times of India quoted her saying, “A miracle is happening. Just two months ago, I was selling hooch and was a criminal in the eyes of law. Today, I am doing a pious job and my diyas will hail the homecoming of Lord Ram from exile.”
50-year old Sundara also left the illegal production of hooch and shifted to diya molding. She said, “My husband was disabled after consuming illicit hooch, but I continued to be in the liquor business to bear expenses of my two grandchildren, who study in Lucknow. Now, there’s a huge turnaround in our lives. I don’t have to go to jail or suffer police raids.”
Diyas made of cow dung
The government-run gaushalas are preparing special diyas made out of cow dung. These diyas will be used in the celebrations, especially in the Ram Mandir campus. The Rashtriya Kamdenu Aayog, a government enterprise, started the national-wide project to develop cow-dung based products in view of Diwali in October. 33 crore cow-dung diyas were to be made under the project. At that time, it was announced that 3 lakh of these diyas would be used in Ayodhya.