Narada Rishi says, 'Teerthi Kurvanthi Teerthani,' meaning, when Sages visit Teertha Kshetras, their sheer presence makes these spaces more spiritually potent.
Teerth Yatras has been our tradition from time immemorial. There is a mention of a Teertha Yatra in the Ramayana. When Sitaji conceived, Prabhu Rama sent this news to his mother, Kaushalya, who was on a teertha yatra.
In the Mahabharata, too, we find a reference to teertha yatra that describes Balaram traveling across the Saraswati River and camping in all holy kshetras.
In Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga, and Kali Yuga, we have seen sages regularly visiting Teertha Kshetras. In Kaliyuga, one of the foremost persons to bring back to life almost every prominent Teertha Kshetra was Adi Shankara. He traversed the entire length and breadth of the country four times, guiding temple authorities to adopt proper puja vidhi at all the famous temples he visited. Shankara also inspired the kings to refurbish the dilapidated temples, and he penned beautiful slokas on these Teertha Kshetras.
Teertha Yatras teach a spiritual seeker how to deal with uncertainties through an unknown journey, and through this experience, he gains spiritual strength to handle uncertainties in life.
The most significant contribution of teertha kshetras is that they have kept Bharat together. The people down South can identify with Amarnath, Badrinath, Kedarnath, and the like. Similarly, people living in the North can connect deeply with Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, and Thiruvananthapuram. Travelling across the land bearing a common goal of spiritual edification helps the Yatris realise that they are all descendants of this one Bharat Varsha. Every state humbly wombs within it a spiritually rich and culturally vibrant teertha kshetra, unifying us as Akhanda Bharat.
In Bharat, we divinise everything. For example, here, we revere a hot water spring as a Teertha Kshetra, and the same in other countries would be considered a mere sulphur tank. The very act of travelling through Bharat renders one a Teerth Yatri.
Many kings like Cholas, Pandyas, Guptas Marathas, Peshwas and queens like Ahalya bai, and others renovated not only old but also built new temples on the advice and guidance of saints and sages.
In this modern century, we are fortunate to have a Raja-Rishi (ruler-saint) in Yogi Adityanath. He has taken up this exalted work of developing the largest state Uttar Pradesh as a thorough amalgamation of technology and tradition. Here are some peeks into his grand vision of the development of Ayodhya, Kashi, and Mathura.
● Construction of Grand Shri Ram Mandir.
● Construction of the Maryada Purushottam Shriram International Airport.
● Established the Rajarshi Dashrath Autonomous State Medical College in 2019
● Beautification of the Pancha Koshi Parikrama route.
● Decision to plant 27000 saplings of trees mentioned in the Ramayana to create a 'Ramayan Van' (forest) at multiple locations.
● Development of a museum of international standards and of the riverfront.
● Development of International Ram Leela Kendra and Cultural/Sanskrutik Manch.
● Establishment of a sewage treatment plant for treating the water from the drains that empty into the Sarayu River
● Connecting all the teertha kshetras related to Shri Ram's life with Ayodhya.
● Refurbishment and aesthetic enhancement of all temples and widening of the approach roads.
● ₹ 9000 crores allocated for the development of Parikrama Marg.
● ₹ 6,100 crores allocated for the construction of the Mathura-Vrindavan bypass.
● The Parikrama Marg in Braj will have excellent infrastructure.
● ₹16,000 crores allocated for the renovation and development of Braj.
● Redevelopment of the railway line connecting Mathura with Dwarka. Estimated budget: ₹ 850 crores.
● Development of the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir corridor.
● Restoration and refurbishment of the Kashi temple into Vishwanath Dham.
● Development of 5.5 lakh square feet area of Manikarnika ghat and Lalita ghat.
● Development of a walkway all around the Kalabhairav temple.
● Building a Town Hall near the Kalabhairav temple.
● Cleaning of the streets and footpaths of Kashi.
● Multi-tier parking facility at multiple locations.
● Construction of a fly-over from the airport to Vishwanath Dham.
● ₹ 186 crores allocated for the construction of Rudraksha Convention Centre with a seating capacity of over 1500 people at a time.
● Construction of Bharat Adhyayan Kendra in Banaras Hindu University (BHU).
● Construction of Vedic Vigyan Kendra (Centre for Vedic Science) at BHU.
● Construction of Banke Bihari Corridor.
● Between 2018 and 2022, the UP Government has approved nearly 95 schemes, of which 75 have been implemented.
These initiatives will connect Bharat and other parts of the world to Kashi, Mathura and Ayodhya, a genuinely inspiring seva by the government of Uttar Pradesh under Yogi Adityanath’s leadership.
Bharat is replete with region-specific deities like Lord Ayyappan, prevalent in the South, Lord Vithala in Maharashtra, Lord Shrinathji in the north and Maa Kamakhya in north-east India. Rama, Krishna, and Shiva are worshipped all over Bharat as primary Gods presiding over the Nation. Reconditioning and upliftment of these mandirs is a celebratory act across Bharat. Under the Modi-Yogi leadership, with world-class facilities in place, they are sure to attract unprecedented numbers of spiritual seekers and devotees from all over the world – bringing to light that Spirituality is Bharat's most extraordinary soft power.
Om Jīrnamandiroddhārakāya Namaḥ