Chief Minister Kamal Nath-led Congress government of Madhya Pradesh is taking a closer look at the announcement made by the Ex Cheif Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s BJP government to build a temple in Sri Lanka and might consider taking the project further to reality. Earlier, an announcement was made in 2010 by the then Chief Minister from the BJP about the construction of a temple at Ramayana site in Sri Lanka. Though the then BJP government had claimed that they have taken the necessary permission from the Sri Lankan government but very little progress was made on the ground over a span of six years.
The temple as announced was to be built at a famous site mentioned in the Ramayana and could be a prime tourist and pilgrimage location for the Indians. The Madhya Pradesh government is now considering the previous BJP government’s plan to construct a temple at Divurumpola in Sri Lanka which is believed to be the site of Sita’s Agneepariksha. In 2010, the BJP government spoke about it but fewer efforts were made. Later, the Shivraj government claimed to have sought permission for the same while the then Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa was on a visit to Sanchi in 2013.
It was in 2016 that an official team was sent to the location of the proposed site for inspection. According to the available information, a Bengaluru based firm had prepared a design and the time taken for construction would range from 12 to 18 months claimed the then BJP government. The government also said that the expected cost would be around Rs 12 crore to Rs 14 crore.
The site proposed for the temple is located on Buddhist monastery premises in Divurumpola which is around 15 Km from Nuwara Eliya, a city in the central province of Sri Lanka. It is believed locally that the ornaments that Sita wore are still buried under a raised platform there.
Former principal secretary to Shivraj Singh Chouhan, S K Mishra told The Indian Express that Shivraj government had already sanctioned Rs 1 crore for the temple but the tourism department could not allocate the money and it remained with them. Mishra added that the Sri Lankan authorities booked the priest who was in charge of the monastery for violation of laws related to cutting trees. The priest was ready for the project but was allegedly booked and later the BJP government lost power in the state before it could have revived the project.
According to sources, the current Law minister of Madhya Pradesh, P C Sharma said that it is only after studying all the aspects related to the project and the developments related to it in detail, the current government could think of reviving it. The minister adding to his statement said “We are in power to work not to do ‘nautanki’ by making announcements like the previous government only for the sake of it. The project is under consideration and it is only after a concrete decision that any announcements will be made in this regard.”
Notably, the Sri Lankan mainland is widely related to the Hindu Epic Ramayana and is considered to be the Kingdom of Ravana who abducted Sita and fought a war with Lord Rama’s army in Lanka itself.