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Ram Lalla consecrated at Ayodhya temple, Modi says 'extraordinary moment'

By Gunjan Sharma, Kunal Dutt and Arunav Sinha
Last updated on: January 22, 2024 22:55 IST
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The new Ram Lalla idol was consecrated at the Ayodhya temple on Monday, an event led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who said it marked the advent of a new era.

Lakhs of people watched the 'pran pratishtha' ceremony on television at their homes and in neighbourhood temples, becoming part of the historic event held just months ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Along with the scrapping of Article 370 that gave a special status to Jammu and Kashmir and the implementation of a uniform civil code, building a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya has been on the Bharatiya Janata Party's agenda for decades.


Army helicopters showered flower petals on the newly constructed Janmabhoomi temple as the 'pran pratishtha' ceremony took place.

And celebrations broke out in parts of this Uttar Pradesh temple town with people singing and dancing.

"Today, our Ram has arrived. After a long wait for ages, our Ram has arrived. Our Ram Lalla will no longer live in a tent. Our Ram Lalla will stay in a magnificent temple," Modi said in his address that followed the consecration, which also marked the inauguration of the temple.

He recalled there were times when some people said the country would be on fire if the Temple was built.

"I would urge those people to rethink. Ram is not fire but energy. Ram is not a dispute, but a solution. Ram is not just ours but belongs to everyone. Ram is not just the present, but eternity," he said.

The PM performed a series of rituals in the 'grabhagriha' -- the sanctum sanctorum -- with the 'pran pratishtha' taking place during the 84-second 'Abhijeet muhurta'.

At the end, the PM prostrated himself before the 51-inch idol that depicts the child Ram.

The ceremony took place in the presence of Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat.

Outside, Ayodhya resident Anil Singh called it a 'priceless moment' that he would treasure forever.

"As a resident of Ayodhya, I feel proud that I live in this spiritual city," he said.

Leaving the sanctum sanctorum, Modi moved to another location in the complex to address a gathering of about 8,000, which included sadhus, people linked to the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and celebrities from fields like entertainment, sports and industry.

As soon as the PM left, the temple was thrown open to these invitees. Hundreds rushed in, creating complete chaos in the chamber before the 'garbhagriha'.

The PM also visited Kuber Tila shrine, unveiled a statue of Ramayana figure Jatayu and showered petals on workers who built the temple.

The first phase of the temple built by a trust has so far cost Rs 1,100 crore. It is expected to open Tuesday to the public.

Senior BJP leaders including party chief J P Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah watched the live streaming of the consecration ceremony.

The run-up to the ceremony was marked by much sparring between the ruling BJP and the Opposition.

Top opposition leaders skipped the temple inauguration, calling it an RSS-BJP event.

But Himachal Pradesh minister Vikramaditya Singh, who is the son of state Congress chief Pratibha Singh, arrived at the venue.

Several states declared the day a holiday to allow people to watch the ceremony on tv and also take part in events at local temples.

The new idol depicts Ram at the age of five, and was carved from black stone by Mysuru-based sculptor Arun Yogiraj.

It was draped in a yellow dhoti, and adorned with stone-studded jewellery and flowers in shades of red, yellow and purple.

Fifty traditional musical instruments from across the country were part of a devotional mangal dhwani that resonated during the ceremony.

Orchestrated by Ayodhya's celebrated poet Yatindra Mishra, the rendition was supported by New Delhi's Sangeet Natak Akademi.

Devotees arrived from several parts of the country to the temple town to be part of the occasion, though the main ceremony was only for the invitees.

Ceremonial gates depicting 'Jai Shri Ram' in floral patterns and illumination visible at night added to the aura of the ancient city, which has undergone a massive infrastructural growth in the last couple of years.

A temple-mosque dispute had simmered over the spot where the 16th century Babri mosque stood.

Many Hindus believe that the mosque was constructed after the demolition of a temple that existed on the site of Lord Ram's birthplace.

Kar sevaks demolished it on December 6, 1992.

After a long legal battle, the top court in 2019 ruled in favour of the construction of the temple.

It also ordered allotment of a five-acre plot for building a mosque.

The invitees who arrived early Monday in Ayodhya included Anupam Kher, Kailash Kher, Jubin Nautiyal, Prassoon Joshi, Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Ravishankar Prasad and Anil Ambani.

Hema Malini, Kangana Ranaut, Sri Sri Ravishankar, Morari Bapu, Rajnikanth, Madhur Bhandarkar, Subhash Ghai and Sonu Nigam had reached Sunday.

'Ramdhun' played in the streets from early morning, as security personnel kept a tight vigil across the Ayodhya districts.

The invitees were presented a 'Ram patka' and welcomed with 'tilak'. All invitees were presented a bell which they rang during the 'aarti'.

The Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir has been constructed in the traditional Nagara style.

Its east-west length is 380 feet, width 250 feet and height 161 feet. It is supported by 392 pillars and has 44 doors.

The pillars and walls showcase intricately sculpted depictions of Hindu deities.

The consecration rituals began from the Saryu river banks on January 16 and were completed Monday afternoon.

Temples across the country had announced special festivities.

From Washington, DC and Paris to Sydney, events were planned in various parts of the world as well by the Vishva Hindu Parishad, or the Hindu Diaspora.

Photographs: ANI on X
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Gunjan Sharma, Kunal Dutt and Arunav Sinha
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