Madhya Pradesh government’s initiative near Nuwara-Eliya; estimated to cost Rs. 2 crore

The Madhya Pradesh government is all set to start building a Sita temple, designed in the South Indian architectural style, at Divurumpola in Sri Lanka. Sita is believed to have undergone her agni pareeksha (test by fire) at this spot. The design has been finalised.

Divurumpola is near Nuwara-Eliya, in the central part of the country.

The State government has been pursuing the proposal with Sri Lanka since 2012. Early this year, it commissioned a Bangalore-based firm of architects to do the design, and assigned the State Tourism Department to coordinate the project.

The architects concerned, who did not want to be identified, told The Hindu they had chosen the Vijayanagara style. The proposed complex would comprise three shrines, a tank and an ornate pillared hall.

Madhya Pradesh Tourism officials said the estimated cost is about Rs. 2 crore. Tenders would be invited shortly.

Since 2007, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority has been promoting sites associated with the Ramayana. It had identified about 50 such sites and proposed plans to develop them to attract Indian tourists.

However, a few Sri Lankan historians had objected to this project because they thought it distorted archaeological evidence and alleged that these sites were mere inventions.

The Sri Lankan press had earlier reported that Ravana Balaya, a Sinhalese Buddhist organisation, had demanded that a statue for Ravana, the mythical Lankan king associated with the Ramayana tale, should be built before constructing a Sita temple.

They explained that they are not opposed to the construction the temple, but wanted the government to honour Ravana first.