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Special Content


Issue no 31, 29 October - 4 November 2022

Mahakal Lok Project Another Milestone In India's Religious Tourism

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, on 11th October 2022, dedicated Phase I of the Mahakal Lok Project to the nation at Shri Mahakal Lok in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. Apart from decongesting the entire area, the project is aimed at enriching the experience of the pilgrims visiting the temple by providing them world-class facilities. The Government of India has taken several crucial steps in recent years to develop and promote religious tourism in the country. And the newlyinaugurated Mahakal Lok Project is a part of this initiative. Before delving into the aspect of religious tourism in the country, let us first know some facts about the newly-inaugurated Mahakal corridor.

What is Mahakal Lok Project?

Phase I of the Mahakal Lok Project aims to decongest the entire area and also put special emphasis on the conservation and restoration of heritage structures. Under the project, the temple precinct will be expanded by nearly seven times. The total cost of the entire project is around Rs 850 crores. The existing footfall of the temple, which is currently around 1.5 crore per annum, is expected to be doubled. The development of the project has been planned under two phases.

Features of the Mahakal Corridor: The Mahakal Corridor, also called the Mahakal Path, contains 108 stambhs (pillars) which depict Anand Tandav Swaroop (dance form) of Lord Shiva. Many religious sculptures depicting the life of Lord Shiva are installed along the Mahakal Path. The mural wall along the path is based on stories about the act of creation, the birth of Ganesha, story of Sati and Daksha among others from the Shiva Purana. The area of plaza is spread over 2.5 hectares and is surrounded by a lotus pond which contains the statue of Shiva along with water fountains. The entire premise will be monitored 24x7 by Integrated Command and Control Centre with the help of artificial intelligence and surveillance cameras. The area also has world-class amenities to facilitate the pilgrims on their visit. While on his visit, the Prime Minister entered the Mahakaal Lok from Nandi Dwar- the holy statue of Nandi. He then visited the Mahakal Lok temple complex and viewed the Saptarishi Mandal, the Mandapam, Tripurasura Vadh and Navgraha. Significance of Mahakal, Ujjain

 

Significance of Mahakal, Ujjain

Ujjain is one of the sacred and oldest cities that exist in India. It is believed Lord Shiva still resides and showers his blessing on this place. The rich culture and heritage of Ujjain attract a large number of tourists every year. This city has many religious pilgrimages. 'Mahakaleshwar Temple', popularly referred to as Mahakal Temple, is a famous shrine that comprises one of the twelve major Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. The glorious temple of Mahakaleshwar has been mentioned in several Hindu scriptures. According to these texts, the temple had been very magnificent and magnanimous. Its foundation and platform were built of stones. The temple rested on the wooden pillars. There had been no sikharas in the temples prior to the Gupta period. The roofs of temples had mostly been flat. It has been described as a unique example of the then art and architecture. The temple of Mahakaleshwar is recognized as 'Dakshinamurti', since the image of the Lord faces the southern direction. Mahashivratri is the major festival that is observed in the temple with full gusto and fervour

 

Religious Tourism in India India has centers of pilgrimage for various faiths that attracts tourists from across the country and the world. The Government has recognised religious tourism as one of the crucial pillars of the tourism sector and has initiated schemes and is developing circuits to attract tourists and to also spur employment opportunities for the local communities. These initiatives promote India's rich heritage by developing world class infrastructure with all modern amenities. These efforts are not just making pilgrimages more comfortable for the people but also attract tourists from around the world leading to employment generation for the locals. It is imperative that we take all possible steps to maintain cleanliness in these places. The National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD) focuses on developing and identifying pilgrimage sites across India to enrich the religious tourism experience. It aims to integrate pilgrimage destinations in a prioritised, planned and sustainable manner to provide a complete religious tourism experience. Fifteen thematic circuits have been identified for development under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme. Some of these circuits are the Ramayana Circuit, Buddha Circuit, Sufi circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Tirthankar Circuit, Sikh circuit, and Christian Circuit.

 

Source: PIB/MP Tourism/ 'Mann ki Baat' booklet

Compiled by: Annesha Banerjee & Anuja Bhardwajan