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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Ayodhya: The neglected shrines of India’s grand temple town

India’s Uttar Pradesh state is voting for a new government – and a massive temple under construction in the holy city of Ayodhya is a key election issue.

The governing Bharatiya Janata Party – which is also in power in Uttar Pradesh – has long campaigned for the shrine to be built on the site where a medieval mosque was torn down by Hindu mobs in 1992. They believe it was built on the ruins of a temple dedicated to Lord Ram, and that Ayodhya is his birthplace.

As money and attention flows to the new Ram temple, thousands of locals whose livelihoods depend on the city’s numerous other shrines are wary.

They fear that their jobs could disappear as older, decrepit shrines are demolished or sidelined as part of the government’s ambitious plan to turn Ayodhya into a tourist hub.

Video by Nitin Srivastava and Neha Sharma

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