Chief Minister Shri Bhupesh Baghel in presence of Tamradhwaj Sahu, Minister of Tourism, Home Affairs, Public Works Department and other dignitaries inaugurated the beautifully renovated Mata Kaushalya Temple as part the new tourism circuit
By Suman Bajpai
The parental home of Mata Kaushalya, Chandkhuri, 25 km from Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh, suddenly came into limelight, when on October 7th on the auspicious occasion of Navaratri with spectacular celebrations at the ancient Mata Kaushalya Temple and Police Academy Parade Ground in Chandkhuri. Chief Minister Shri Bhupesh Baghel in presence of Tamradhwaj Sahu, Minister of Tourism, Home Affairs, Public Works Department and other dignitaries inaugurated the beautifully renovated Mata Kaushalya Temple as part the new tourism circuit which is based on Lord Ram’s path travelled by Lord Ram in the region of Chhattisgarh during his 14-year exile from Ayodhya-The Ram Van Gaman Path.
Chhattisgarh is a state where the Ram is worshiped in the form of ‘Bhanja’ (Nephew), Chandkhuri being his ‘Nanihal’ (Grandmother’s place). It is a state that echoes the stories of Ram, Laxman and Sita living in exile in the forests of Chhattisgarh.
A spectacular evening
“Baat Hai Abhiman Ki, Chhattisgarh Ke Swabhiman Ki”. Ram Van Gaman Tourism Circuit, an initiative of the Chhattisgarh Tourism Board under the new development plans of the Government of Chhattisgarh witnessed a grand launch. Artists like Ashish Vidyarthi, Shanker Mahadevan, Kabir Café, etc, created a memorable and spectacular evening with their performances, which included Ram Bhajan’s also.
Delhi based famous folk rock band Indian Ocean who in collaboration with Kabir Café sang one of their most famous songs Maa Rewa. Indian Ocean also performed a special theme song composed for Ram Van Gaman Tourism Circuit and Chhattisgarh.
Following this was an audio-visual presentation in 3D depicting the story of Lord Ram and his stay in Chhattisgarh during his exile. Voiced by well-known Hindi film actor Sharad Kelkar, the presentation was an immersive experience of storytelling.
Nine spots identified
Through this tourism circuit, devotees would be able to experience the spiritual mementos related to Lord Ram from Harchouka in Sitamarhi in the Koriya district to Ramaram in Sukma. In the first phase of this project, the plan is to develop the nine spots that fall on the forested route that Shri Ram traversed. These sites include: Sitamarhi- Harchowka, Ramgarh, Shivrinarayan, Turturiya, Chandkhuri, Rajim, Sihawa, Jagdalpur and Ramaram. Devotees would get ‘darshan’ of Lord Ram at every step of the Ram Van Gaman tourism circuit.
During the exile period, Lord Ram had entered Chhattisgarh from Korea district and Sitamadi-Harchauka in Janakpur of Bharatpur Tehsil is believed to be his first stop in Chhattisgarh. There are 17 chambers in the caves of Sitamadi-Harchauka near the bank of the Mawai river. The place is also known as ‘Sita Ki Rasoi’ and a ‘shilakhand’ there is believed to be the footprint of Lord Ram.
The main priority of Chhattisgarh Tourism is to develop the identified sites of the Ram Van Gaman Path into prime tourist spots. Keeping in mind the ongoing pandemic, special efforts are being made to motivate tourists towards domestic tourism and the Ram Van Gaman Path will be an immersive experience for tourists.
51 feet high statue
Ram is deep rooted in the culture and that’s why the main attraction of this event was unveiling the 51-feet-tall statue of Lord Ram in the backdrop of a light and fire show at the ancient Mata Kaushalya temple of Chandkhuri. The 51-feet-tall statue has been established in the temple premise; along with the grand gate in the premises, beautification of the pond around the temple, construction of attractive pathways, and plantations. The temple is surrounded by beautiful gardens, in the middle of the pond there is an attractive statue of Goddess Lakshmi pressing the feet of Lord Vishnu on the Sheshnag bed, and the sculpture depicting ‘Samudra Manthan’ are the main centres of attraction for the devotees.
(The author is a well-known travel writer. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)