Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Thursday sought sanction from the Centre for Chhattisgarh’s proposal to develop a ‘Ram Van Gaman’ tourism circuit, focussing on places which Lord Rama visited in present day Chhattisgarh during his banishment in the forest.

Baghel made the request in a letter to Union Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge) Prahlad Singh Patel. The ‘Ram Van Gaman’ tourism circuit is a Swadesh Darshan Scheme.

The Chief Minister said the Chhattisgarh Tourism Board has selected nine sites and prepared a concept plan at a cost of Rs 137.47 crore.

Under the Centre’s ‘Swadesh Darshan Scheme’, there is a provision to develop world-class infrastructure for the convenience of tourists in select projects of tourism.

Highlighting the ancient history of Chhattisgarh, Baghel stated that it was     earlier known as ‘Dakshin Kosala’ and Dandakaranya. In Valmiki’s Ramayana, there is a mention of Lord Ram’s journey during his exile in Dandakaranya.

According to information received from researchers, research articles and books, more than 10 of the 14 years of his exile period of Lord Ram were spent in Chhattisgarh and the state’s folk songs also confirm this.

Baghel wrote that Lord Ram entered Chhattisgarh from north India after spending ‘Chamasa’ at various places and entered south India. Hence, Chhattisgarh is called ‘Dakshin Path’.

Lord Ram entered Chhattisgarh from a place called ‘Sitamarhi Harchaika’ via the Gawai river in Koriya district and entered south India from ‘Ramaram’ in Sukma district. During the entire route he visited in all 75 sites.

Of these, 51 are places where Lord Ram stayed for some time. This is confirmed by various researchers in their articles.

He said the Chhattisgarh government is working to develop plans for ‘Ram Van Gaman Path’ from the point of view of tourism, with an aim to provide information to tourists, visitors as well as people of the country.

The Chief Minister said that for developing ‘Ram Van Gaman tourism circuit’, nine sites in the state have been selected in the first phase.

These sites include Sitamarhi-Harchaika (Koriya), Ramgarh (Ambikapur), Shivrinarayan (Janjgir-Champa), Turturiya (Baloda bazar), Chandkhuri (Raipur), Rajim (Gariaband), Sihawa-Saptarishi Ashram (Dhamtari), Jagdalpur (Bastar) and Ramaram (Sukma).

A concept plan has been prepared by the Tourism Department which costs Rs 137.45 crore. For the Ram Van Gaman tourism circuit, the state government made a provision of Rs 5 crore last year (2019-20) and Rs 10 crore this year (2020-21) in the budget.