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The Modi government's plan to set up a Ramayana Museum in Ayodhya in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh has gathered steam with a 25 acre plot having been identified for it some 15 km away from the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid complex. Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma is expected to visit Ayodhya on October 18 to inspect the proposed site where the government plans to build the museum, which would be part of Ramayana Circuit, a government source said. Sharma is also expected to hold a meeting with Ramayana Circuit Advisory Board during the visit.
The meeting would discuss routes for connecting Ramayana-related sites in Nepal and Sri Lanka with the proposed museum. Besides, the minister is likely to hold meetings with religious leaders on building the museum which would portray the epic journey of Lord Rama. Sharma would also deliberate on plans for an International Ramayana Conclave, which would be held either in Ayodhya or Chitrakoot district. The conference is likely to be attended by delegates from about 12 countries, sources said. Though the BJP has been insisting that Ram temple will not be an electoral plank in the UP elections to be held early next year, the proposed Ramayana museum and related activities are being seen as an attempt to keep pro-Hindutva elements in good humour. On Dusshera, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had, in a departure from tradition, participated in the festivities in Lucknow where he started and concluded his speech with chants of "Jai Shri Ram, Jai Jai Shri Ram".
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