Ayodhya: The temple town has a new selfie hotspot and it is interesting to both locals and tourists alike - the Lata Mangeshkar Chowk. The iconic roundabout is in the heart of Ayodhya and is named after a legendary singer who passed away in 2022. A giant ornate veena sculpture weighing 14 tonnes, sitting at its centre, is also interesting for both music lovers and tourists who want to capture the essence of the spot.
The Lata Mangeshkar Chowk marks the intersection of Ram Path and Dharm Path, both beautifully bedecked with ornamental lamp posts ahead of the consecration ceremony of the upcoming Ram temple in the holy city. Many locals attribute this sudden rise in popularity of this public spot to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent Ayodhya roadshow when he had even stopped by at Lata Mangeshkar Chowk and obliged photographers.
A day before Modi visited the holy city, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had taken a selfie at the Chowk, creating a buzz among residents and on social media. Located near the Naya Ghat and constructed by the Uttar Pradesh government to honour the late melody queen on her 93rd birth anniversary, the chowk was inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi virtually on September 28, 2022. The sculpture, 40 ft long and 12 m high, was made by noted sculptor Ram Sutar. The roundabout has been developed at an estimated cost of Rs 7.9 crore, officials had earlier said. A mural of Mangeshkar graces the wall of a round cabin located near the chowk that was earlier called by locals Naya Ghat Chouraha.
A tribute to the singer
Born on September 28, 1929, Mangeshkar died on February 6, 2022, and the landmark was built as a tribute to the singer, whose silver voice, earned her the sobriquet - Nightingale of India. Plaques carrying a brief description of her legacy, courtesy of Yatindra Mishra, who wrote her biography, have been put up inside the roundabout's periphery in three languages - English, Hindi and Marathi.
"This memorial symbolises Lata Mangeshkar's devotion to Shri Ram. The bronze Saraswati veena amidst the pond with 92 'lotus' represents her music and devotion along with her fruitful life of ninety-two years. The main artefact is surrounded by a circular path with representatives of the seven musical notes," reads the plaque in English. The encircled fence is punctuated with seven ornate sandstone pillars adding to the charm of the landmark.