Ayodhya's Ram Temple ceremony: PM arrives, event to start shortly
A decked up Ayodhya is ready for the groundbreaking ceremony that will pave the path for the construction of a grand Ram Temple. The shilanyas ceremony, which has caught India's attention, will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The BJP leader reached the Uttar Pradesh town a short while ago. He is expected to install the first brick by 12:30 pm. Here's more.
Ayodhya's Ram Janmabhoomi, where believers say Lord Rama took human form, has been defining the social and political fabric of India for decades. In 1992, the Babri Masjid, which was said to be built on the ruins of a temple, was demolished within hours by right-wing activists. Subsequently, the sensitive matter reached courts, and the Supreme Court ended the dispute just ten months ago.
In November 2019, a constitutional bench, headed by ex-CJI Ranjan Gogoi, declared that a temple must be constructed at the 2.77 acres of land, and also said that 5 acres of land must be given for a mosque. As the historic verdict drew the curtains on the pertinent matter, the trust, tasked with the temple's construction, began preparing for the next steps.
The Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust zeroed in on August 5 for the bhoomi pujan ceremony. The first event was supposed to be attended by hundreds, if not thousands, but the coronavirus pandemic forced the organizers to cut the guest list short to 175. Notably, BJP veterans LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, who drove the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, will attend the event virtually.
Advani, the face of Ram Janmabhoomi movement, said the groundbreaking ceremony was an emotional moment for all Indians. "Destiny made me perform a pivotal duty in the form of Rama Rath Yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya in 1990 which helped galvanise aspirations, energies, and passions of its countless participants," the 92-year-old said. The veteran believed Ram Temple will represent India as a harmonious nation.
As is well known, the construction of the Ram Temple at the disputed site was one of the core promises of BJP. So, when SC pronounced the verdict, in the same year when PM Modi returned to power for a second consecutive time, the saffron party and those associated with it rejoiced. Ahead of today's ceremony, Union Ministers also expressed their happiness through tweets.
Interestingly, this is the first time PM Modi is visiting Ayodhya in 29 years. Neither did he visit the town in 2014, nor in 2019, when he was campaigning for Lok Sabha elections. He will install a silver brick as a symbolic gesture to kickstart the temple's construction. Among other VIPs attending the event are RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat and CM Yogi Adityanath.
Saints from across the nation also turned up at Ayodhya for the event. Swami Avdheshanand Giri said the entire world is looking towards India. "This is a historic day to send out a message of harmony," he told news agency ANI. Yoga Guru Ramdev said it was India's fortune that it was witnessing the event, adding that Patanjali would establish a Gurukul there.
India's biggest fortune that we're witnessing #RamMandir event...To establish 'ram rajya' in this nation, Patanjali Yogpeeth will make a grand 'gurukul' in #Ayodhya. People from all over the world will be able to study Ved, Ayurved here: Yog Guru Ramdev at Ram Janambhoomi site pic.twitter.com/qygs6AlJau— ANI (@ANI) August 5, 2020
For the big event, security has been spruced up in the town. The borders of Ayodhya were sealed and 75 check posts installed to ensure everything is seamless. "Over 300 police personnel, who are younger, fit and healthy as well as tested negative for COVID-19 infection, have already been handpicked for deployment in VVIP security," a person in the know told HT.
Ayodhya was also given a makeover to reflect a festive mood. Countless buildings were repainted with images of Lord Rama, Goddess Sita, Lakshman, and Lord Hanuman; the road PM Modi will travel on was adorned with 5,100 urns, decorated by local artists, and nearly 15,000 lamps were installed. As all eyes are on Ayodhya, District Magistrate Anuj Jha said "everything will be fine."