AS Lord Ram’s birthplace Ayodhya awaits the consecration ceremony of the grand Ram Temple on January 22 next year, the organisers are busy with preparations to celebrate the occasion all over the country, and abroad, with unprecedented aplomb.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the Chief Guest at the ceremony, where nearly 4,000 religious leaders and 2,500 eminent persons have been invited. “Since everyone can’t come to Ayodhya where the new grand Ram temple is coming up, we want to imbue every nook and corner where the followers of Lord Ram live with the spirit of Ayodhya,” said an official of the Sri Ram Janmabhoomi Tirath Kshetra Trust.
Akshat Pujan at site
The ‘Pran Pratishtha’ (consecration) ceremony of the Ram Temple started on November 5 with akshat pujan (homage to propitious rice grain mixed with turmeric and ghee).
The akshat pujan was performed at the temple site with over 500 kilos of whole rice mixed with turmeric and desi ghee, the Trust said.
According to organisers, 101 kalash ( brass urns), each carrying five kilos of akshat, were dispatched from the Ram Temple site for distribution in over five lakh villages across the country, between January 1 and January 15.
These propitious gains will be used by the people spread all over India to celebrate the occasion at their nearest temple on January 22.
“Over 10 crore people from across the country will receive this akshat, which is an invite… The day Ram Lalla will be brought to the new temple, our plan is to make it a Maha Utsav (a grand ceremony) across the country with every household taking part,” said a spokesperson of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, an international organisation that spearheaded the demand for the Ram temple construction.
End of the first phase
The consecration ceremony would mark the end of the first phase of the Ram temple construction. Two Ram Lalla idols will be placed in the temple. The existing idol will be placed in the sanctum and the second will show Ram Lalla as a five-year-old boy.
The temple will be opened for public on January 23. According to the temple committee, over 70,000 devotees will be able to do darshan per day, which will later be increased to over one lakh per day. When the entire complex is completed by 2025, the pilgrim footprint in expected to increase to 2.5 lakh.
The Supreme Court, On November 9, 2019, had paved the way for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya on the site where the Babri Masjid once stood. It also ruled that five acres be set aside for the construction of a mosque within the district of Ayodhya.