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Boost in businesses: Lord Ram helping us lead better life, say Ayodhya residents

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Ayodhya (UP): Deepak Pandey, a daily wager in Ayodhya, was planning to move to another city searching for a job a few years ago. He now plans to buy land in this Uttar Pradesh district and build a new home.

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Pandey lauds Lord Ram for the change in his financial situation which has been boosted further following the consecration ceremony of the Ram temple here last month.

The 48-year-old lives in a three-room house in one of the alleys leading up to Ram Path, the main route for the devotees visiting the temple.

"I used to rent out one of the rooms for Rs 3,000 per month. Since the consecration ceremony, I have been renting it out for the same amount per day," Pandey said, adding that he has hosted a new guest almost every day this month.

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Since the consecration ceremony on January 22, almost one lakh devotees have been visiting this Hindu holy town in Uttar Pradesh on a daily basis, according to the local administration. A huge number of these devotees come from outside the state.

Like Pandey, the owners of almost every house in the alley have refurbished at least one room in their houses to offer to tourists as a homestay facility.

Pramesh Pandey stands at the entrance of an alley, asking devotees if they need a room to stay. "I have six rooms in three different buildings. I offer a room for Rs 1,400 to Rs 3,000 per day, depending on the rush of visitors," he said.

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Most of the residents of the alley do odd jobs or sell items that the devotees offer at the temple.

"Lord Ram is showering his blessings on us. The god comes here in the form of devotees and helps us lead a better life," said Jaswant Sharma, a resident of another alley who runs a shop selling pictures of Ram and other souvenirs.

"The number of people visiting the town has gone up substantially since the new temple was opened. This has helped my business," she said.

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Many shop owners are expanding their shops by adding a new floor above the existing structures.

Prabhat Gupta, who runs a food joint, is busy handing out plates of hot dosas to people. He says "Jai Shri Ram" every time he hands over a plate to a customer. "The construction work for another floor has already started. If Lord Ram wishes, we will be able to host more customers once the construction is complete," he says.

Apart from eateries and shops selling puja items, offices of travel agencies and shops selling clothes, mobile phone accessories and gift items have started coming up on Ram Path.

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Local tour agencies have received a boost in their business. Umesh Singh, who owns one such agency, said, "We have been witnessing a spike in bookings for the last month. I hope this continues." Singh said he has hired two full-time drivers and placed an order for a new luxury tourist van.

Nand Kumar Gupta, an office-bearer of the Ayodhya traders' union, said, "The rise in the number of devotees has certainly helped the businesses here. However, it is too early to assess the impact on businesses." Large buildings are being constructed along the road from Faizabad town towards Ayodhya. These include hotels, guesthouses, multi-level car parking facilities and restaurants.

Abhay Pratap Shahi, a partner in a Lucknow-based construction firm developing projects in Ayodhya, said, "We are working on two hotels and a shopping mall. The projects began in 2021 and are expected to be completed by 2027." Considering the ongoing development work, the local administration is also assisting the traders.

"We are ensuring that the required clearances for construction work are provided in time. The work developing assisting infrastructure, such as wider roads, multi-level parking facilities and other amenities for devotees, are also underway," Ayodhya Commissioner Gaurav Dayal told PTI.

"We are hopeful that every devotee coming to Ayodhya, be it by road, rail or air, will get the best-in-class facilities. Most of the work towards achieving this has already been done and the remaining work will be completed in the coming months," Dayal said.

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