Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of the Uttar Pradesh government outlines plans for a Disneyland-like theme park in Mathura.
Mathura is a sacred city, renowned as the birthplace of Lord Krishna. The Uttar Pradesh state government aims to start construction of “Krishna Land” later this year. It has instructed UP tourism officials to come up with a blueprint model of the park.
Krishna Land is one of a number of projects proposed by the Yogi Adityanath government, intended to make the state a religious tourism centre. It will be funded by World Bank.
“We plan to reconstruct the entire stages of Krishna’s life,” said an official for the government. “There will be a jail where Devki and Vasudev were imprisoned. We will also create an artificial river like Yamuna that is linked to several aspects of Krishna’s life.”
The theme park is not motivated by financial gain but rather by religious and cultural reasons. Apparently the Taj Mahal was the major impetus for the decision by the Uttar Pradesh government. They felt that the UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the seven wonders of the modern world, was not Indian enough. In their eyes it did not adequately represent Indian Culture. Underlining this feeling, the Taj Mahal was not included in the recently announced Uttar Pradesh Budget. The government has even withdrawn the replicas of the palace that were gifted to foreign dignitaries in the past. They now receive a copy of the Gita, a 700-verse scripture in Sanskrit that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata.
Krishna (Kṛṣṇa in Sanskrit) is a vastly popular Hindu divinity, one of the most widely revered in India. He is worshipped as an avatar of the god Vishnu and also as a supreme god in his own right. Krishna was the son of Vasudev and Devki (the sister of Kamsa, the wicked king of Mathura). Kamsa tried to slay Devki’s children but Krishna was smuggled across the Yamuna River where he was raised by cowherds. He is known as the god of compassion, tenderness, and love and is most commonly depicted as the divine lover, shown playing the flute.