Krishna temple towns will soon be given a facelift -- with cow shelters, yoga centres 10,000- seat theatres and red sand streets on which devotees can prostrate themselves with ease.
The tourism ministry plans to revamp 12 destinations spread across five states as part of its Krishna Circuit, ministry sources said. Among them are cities such as Mathura, Vrindavan and Kurukshetra.
Jaipur-based architect Anup Bartaria, who gave a new look to Amritsar last year, would overhaul the temple centres, they added.
The sources said during a meeting with Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma yesterday, Bartaria made a presentation and showed an aerial view of the new-look Govardhan in Mathura.
"He will do the facelift for govardhan first as a pilot project and then the model will be replicated in all the cities in the circuit. The idea is to keep the religious and spiritual essence of the city intact, but give it a brand new look," the chairman of the Krishna Circuit, Satya Prakash Mangal, said.
Among the other temple towns are Dwarka, Gokul and Barsana, believed to be Radha's village.
Mangal added the design incorporated the National Green Tribunal's orders of 2015 -- a set of directives on afforestation, sewage treatment plants, water harvesting systems etc.
"We have made sure that we preserve the heritage of the city," he said.
The design for Govardhan includes a 35-km long four-lane and a six-lane ring road joining highways linking Mathura.
There will be six grand entries, with Krishna Leela -- the story of Krishna -- etched on each of them.
The design proposes that only trams and e-rickshaws be allowed in the 25-km 'Parikrama Marg', the area adjoining the temple. It will also be made accessible to people on wheelchairs.
There will be a vedic university, a yoga centre and a 10,000-seat theatre to showcase the arts of the region.
Lanes and bylanes are proposed to be adorned by murals of Krishna. Roads leading to the temples will be covered with red sand so that devotees can prostrate themselves before the deity without getting hurt, the sources said.
As part of the plan, cowshed owners will be trained, and public health centres built, apart from "sant kutirs' (ascetics' huts), souvenir shops and public toilets.
The minister, who will be in Mathura tomorrow for an official event, will share the plans with local politicians, priests and civil society groups.
A deadline of October 2018 has been set for the pilot project to be replicated across the circuit.
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