PROJECT BY: Shivam Pandey ( [email protected] )
COLLEGE: Faculty of Architecture , Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University Lucknow
YEAR OF STUDYING : Practicing Architect
CATEGORY : Urban Design
PROJECT TYPE: Studio Design Sheets
PUBLISHED BY: Archipedia
Ayodhya exhibits a perfect blend of religion and culture within a colourful framework. The town is a settlement along the river and the spaces on its streets reflect the characteristics of its age and charisma. The streets flow with devotees from all over the world. The sound of bells and the aroma of the flowers create a divine experience, where overhead light filters through colourful cloth canopies. The sound of aartis in the evening, along with the fragrance of incense enrich the narrow streets. The area surrounded by the ghats of river Saryu is known as “Ram ki Paidi” which is flanked by a visually appealing and architecturally impressive stretch of buildings. This urban space defines the image of the city with protruding domes and shikharas on one side, with steps leading down to the holy river on the other side. The streets and ghats are the prime centre of activities, where one can see the engagement of residents in the interfaith rituals and events. Muslim men carving statues and stitching clothes for the Hindu deities, Hindu and Muslim children participating in the Ramleela (religious theatre based on the life of Ram,) people offering prayers and taking care of the maintenance of each other’s religious places, are the scenes that define the lifeblood of the city.
But what would this holy land be known for? What will the coming generations reminisce about this place and the history associated with it. The political and religious debates regarding the demolition of the Babri Masjid gain all the attention and concern, despite the city’s strong religious and traditional values. The essential requirements of the city remain undiscussed, and all the attention revolves around the dispute and the proposed structure to be built at the site. One needs to assess factors like the growth of tourism, increase in trade development, induced economic escalation, facilitation of the tourists, and revenue generation to take suitable measures for the betterment of social order in the city. Unfortunately current proposals like colossal statues seem opportunistic and inspired by ideas which carry an uncertain message. The future growth and development will in such cases not be based on the execution of value based ideas but on a manifestation of hypocrisy and force.
Developments that drastically affect and change the experience of the place, have a significant impact on the relationship of place with its people. Not only has the dominance of the dispute helped to fade the image of Ayodhya as a city with immense brotherhood and unity among its residents, but it has also deviated from the path that should be followed, to bring the city on the right track of development. There is a need for places where people who believe in different sources of power can come and experience this feeling of unity, and can believe that all the powers guide them to be together to help others, inspiring a society not divided but united by their respective beliefs.
It would be better to promote Ayodhya as a renowned place for the evolution of an enlightened mankind, which believes in living together and promoting the principles of brotherhood and togetherness. Ayodhya is a site suitable for a place of healing where value based education is imparted, a place where multiple religions exist with their shared spirituality and ideas. If the architectural brief for development in Ayodhya were promoted as a competition open to Indian architects, planners, and designers, better ideas to promote the essence of the city for tourism would perhaps emerge. An idea going beyond historic events becoming a symbol of togetherness for the future, can be a better form of development in the city.
Humanity’s Healing Centre would be a place where the best moral education lectures, health related lectures , etc, would be research across the spectrum of multiple religions, and the most efficient methodology to deliver it to the youth be put to practice.
A place of healing where value based education is imparted, a place where multiple religions converge along their shared spirituality and where ideas are unbounded by the shackles of the division and where creativity is unleashed for the national transformation.