More than 5.5 lakh diyas will be lit in Uttar Pradesh's Ayodhya this "Deepotsava", which is a prelude to the festival of Diwali. Last year, Ayodhya had broken a Guinness World Record by lighting more than three lakh earthen lamps and keeping them lit for at least 45 minutes on the banks of river Saryu for Diwali celebrations.
The announcement comes a day before daily hearings in the Ayodhya dispute case in the Supreme Court are expected to come to an end. The hearings had originally been scheduled to end on October 18 and then later rescheduled for October 17, with the court expected to announce a verdict before Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi demits office on November 17.
The announcement of this grand celebration comes on a day when around 25,000 Home Guards posted across the state lost their jobs. The reason, sources said, is a funds crunch that is the fallout of a hike in the wages of the Home Guards.
Officials have taken stock of all the places where the "Deepotsava" celebrations will take place, Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary RK Tiwari told news agency ANI.
Mr Tiwari also called the celebrations "historic" as it will involve huge public participation.
He also said the state government has made all the preparations for the third ''Deepotsava'' event this year. Out of 5.50 lakh lamps, around 4 lakh will be lit at Ram Paidi, while others will be lit at other religious places in the city, he added.
This year, Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Union Minister Pralhad Joshi among others will attend the ''Deepotsava'' event. In two-three days, a list for foreign dignitaries will be announced as well.
Top officials of the state will visit Ayodhya in the run-up to the preparations for the festivities.