Press Trust of India

‘Rammay’ Ayodhya set for consecration ceremony

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Temple town decked up

Ayodhya: The much-awaited consecration event at Ram temple will be held here on Monday in a grand ceremony with Prime Minister Narendra Modi attending the rituals. The shrine will be opened to the public a day later.

The “Pran Pratishtha” ceremony will begin at 12.20 pm and is expected to end by 1 pm. The prime minister will then address a gathering of more than 7,000 people, including seers and prominent personalities, at the venue.

According to the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, Ram Lalla idol was bathed on Sunday with 114 pitchers filled with “aushadhiyukt” (medicated) water and sacred water brought from various pilgrimage sites.

“The idol was kept in ‘Madhyadhivas’ today. ‘Ratri Jagran Adhivas’ will start today itself. The old idol of Ram Lalla is being worshipped in the ‘Yagyashala’. The rituals are being performed with flowers from many places, including Chennai and Pune,” a trust member said.

“Today, temple trust member Anil Mishra along with his family, VHP chief R N Singh and others are performing the rituals. The consecration ritual started from the Saryu river on January 16 and will be completed on Monday afternoon on ‘Abhijeet Muhurta’,” he added.

A few invitees arrived in Ayodhya on Sunday while others are expected to arrive Monday morning. Lakhs of people are expected to watch the event live on TV and online platforms as the Centre has announced a half-day off on January 22 and many others followed suit.

As authorities made final preparations in Ayodhya, considered the birthplace of Lord Ram, temples across the nation and abroad have announced special festivities on the occasion. From Washington DC to Paris to Sydney, these events are either being organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad or Hindu diaspora groups in 60 countries.

Ayodhya is bedecked with flowers as recordings of ‘Ram dhun’ played from loudspeakers on Sunday and townsfolk dressed as Lord Ram, Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman paraded the streets followed by delirious devotees and news camera crew.

Ceremonial gates depicting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ in floral patterns and illumination add to the aura of the city which has undergone a massive infrastructural growth after the 2019 Supreme Court verdict on the Ram temple issue.

The new 51-inch idol of Ram Lalla, sculpted by Mysuru-based Arun Yogiraj, was placed in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple last Thursday. Fourteen couples will be the “yajmaans” for the “Pran Pratishtha”.

Temple Trust’s general secretary Champat Rai said the entry into the temple will be from the east side and exit from the south side. The temple superstructure will eventually be three-storeyed — G+2. Visitors will climb 32 steps from the eastern side to reach the main temple.

The temple complex, built in the traditional Nagara style, will be 380 feet long (east-west direction), 250-feet wide and 161-feet high. Each floor of the temple will be 20-feet-high and have 392 pillars and 44 gates.

The state government is pulling out all stops to prepare for the big day with police personnel deployed across the city as part of a multi-layered security plan. Multiple NDRF teams have also been deployed.

The administration has made arrangements to deal with any health emergency, especially in view of the biting cold. Beds have been reserved at city and district hospitals and the medical college here. Specialists from AIIMS have provided focused emergency response training to doctors.

The Ram temple has been decorated with “rich stocks” of flowers and special lights and the entire city is drenched in religious fervour.

Streetlights on flyovers have been decorated with artworks depicting Lord Ram as well as cutouts of bow and arrow, and ornamental lampposts carry designs themed on the traditional “Ramanandi tilak”.

Ramlilas, Bhagwat Kathas, Bhajan sandhyas and cultural programmes are going on at different places here. The banks of the Saryu River are also decked up where thousands flock every evening for the “aarti”.

On January 22, public sector banks, insurance companies, financial institutions and rural banks across the country will also remain closed for half the day. NSE and BSE have also announced a trading holiday.

While more than 7,000 people are on the list of invitees, the select list features 506 A-listers. Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, business tycoons Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani, and sporting icon Sachin Tendulkar are among the prominent people invited to the event.

Those attending the “Pran Prathishtha” also include people linked to the Ram Janmabhoomi agitation. Almost all opposition leaders invited to the ceremony have declined to be in attendance, with the Congress calling it a “BJP-RSS event”.

But there are others, not on the list, who are heading to Ayodhya in their unique ways — walking, cycling and even skating — covering long distances amid bone-chilling cold.

From Lord Ram image-adorned bangles to 56 varieties of “petha” and from traditional items like a 500-kg iron-copper “nagada” and the “Onavillu” bow to offerings of rice, ladoos and vegetables, a diverse array of gifts have arrived from across the country.

Also featured in the gifts are special perfumes from Kannauj, 500-kg “kumkum” leaves from Amravati, grains collected at a Ram temple in Delhi, flowers from Bhopal and papers with Lord Ram written 4.31 crore times from Madhya Pradesh’s Chhindwara.

Other offerings include a 108-foot incense stick, a 2,100-kg bell, a giant lamp weighing 1,100 kg, gold footwear, a 10-foot-high lock and key and a clock that simultaneously denotes time in eight countries.

More than 3,000 gifts from Goddess Sita’s birthplace in Nepal’s Janakpur have also arrived. A Sri Lankan delegation brought a special gift from Ashok Vatika, a garden mentioned in the Ramayana.

From Nihang Singhs to ISKCON and temple trusts from across the country to locals in Ayodhya, community kitchens are being run here to serve “langar” food to devotees.

Press Trust of India

Press Trust of India is lead news agency of India

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