A significant milestone of Ayodhya’s transformation is set to unfold on January 22nd, 2024 with the inauguration of the Ram Temple, with the number of pilgrims expected to jump to 100-150,000 per day in the religious city, a report by investment banking major Jefferies says.

The Ram Temple has been built at the cost of ₹1,800 crore, with the cost being funded through contributions and donations. The main pilgrimage site, spread over nearly 70 acres, is aimed to host about a million devotees together.

In terms of Ayodhya's impact as India's new tourist spot, it is estimated that it could attract 50 million tourists per year, says the report. "A US$10bn makeover (new airport, revamped railway station, township, improved road connectivity, etc) will likely drive a multiplier effect with new hotels & other economic activities. It can also set a template for infra-driven growth for tourism."

After the inauguration of the temple, the city of Ayodhya is seen as a “template” for India’s tourism boost. "Rs850bn ($10bn) makeover is now set to transform the ancient city from a sleepy town to a global religious and spiritual tourist hotspot. The new Ram temple comes up at the cost of US$225m (Rs18bn). Tourism is projected to surge and increased economic and religious migration to Ayodhya, multiple sectors stand to benefit including hotels, airlines, hospitality, FMCG, travel ancillaries, cement etc," says Jefferies.

Both the Centre and the state governments have initiated significant infra upgrades to facilitate tourism in Ayodhya. "Phase 1 of a new airport at Ayodhya has become operational at the cost of US$175m and can handle 1m passengers. Additional domestic capacity and an international terminal are expected by 2025, with a capacity to handle 6m passengers," says the report.

Also, the government data shows the railway station in Ayodhya city has been upgraded to double the capacity to 60,000 passengers per day. Phase I was built at a cost of ₹240 crore, which has increased the airport's capacity from 30,000 passengers to 60,000.

Among other infrastructure projects, the three key roads – Ram Path (13km), Ram Janmabhoomi Path (2km), and Bhakti Path (750m) – have been revamped, which feature grand gates at the entry and exit points of the city.

To enthuse investors interested in buying properties, the government has also launched a 1,200-acre greenfield township, built at an estimated cost of ₹2,200 crore. The Jefferies report says it will “cater to the potential interest of senior citizens and families seeking a second home on account of sacred significance”.

The grand opening of the Ram temple at Ayodhya will be held today. It is seen as a big religious event, with millions of people across the country celebrating the occasion by worshipping, doing social work and lighting candles. The grand opening of the Ram Temple is also seen hugely in favour of the BJP since it's happening right before the Lok Sabha elections of 2024.

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