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SEE: Face of Ram Lalla idol at Ayodhya temple revealed

By Arunav Sinha
Last updated on: January 19, 2024 20:46 IST
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The first image of the new Ram Lalla idol became public on Friday as anticipation built up for the consecration ceremony at the Ayodhya temple on January 22.

The statue, carved in black stone sourced from Karnataka, has its eyes covered with a piece of yellow cloth and is adorned with a garland of roses, going by the picture released by the Vishva Hindu Parishad. Ram Lalla, the child Ram, is in the standing posture.

The new 51-inch idol, carved by Mysuru-based sculptor Arun Yogiraj, was placed in the sanctum sanctorum of the Ram Janmabhoomi temple on Thursday afternoon, brought there on a truck the previous night.

On Friday, rituals at the temple began at 8.30 am and went on till 3.30 pm, Vishva Hindu Parishad spokesperson Vinod Bansal said.

Another VHP office bearer said already established deities like Lord Ganesh too were worshipped, and there was recitation from the Vedas.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the January 22 pran pratishtha -- the ceremony to consecrate the idol. The temple is expected to open to the public the next day.

The consecration ceremony will begin at 12.20 pm and is expected to end at 1 pm.

Modi will then address a gathering of over 7,000 people at the venue -- and lakhs are expected to watch the event live on television.

More states announced time off on January 22 to let government employees witness the consecration on television or take part in local religious events.


Haryana and Rajasthan declared a half-day off for its employees, and the day was declared a public holiday in Maharashtra, Puducherry and Chandigarh.

Apart from seers and those linked to the agitation for a Ram Mandir at the Janmabhoomi, the guest list for Monday's event includes politicians, sports personalities, industrialists and actors. Superstar Amitabh Bachchan will arrive on a chartered aircraft.

But there are others, not on the list, who are heading to Ayodhya in their unique ways -- walking, cycling and even skating.

Nitish Kumar, a resident of Bihar's Madhepura district, cycled more than 600 kilometres to reach Ayodhya.

"It took me seven days to cover 615 kilometres from Bihar to Ayodhya. I have reached today. I was carrying a sleeping bag and some essentials with me on my cycle only to help me take some breaks on the way. I had decided to do this when the Supreme Court verdict came, I was still in school then," the 21-year-old told PTI.

Aiming to spread the message of Hindu-Muslim unity, Shabnam Shaikh is walking from Mumbai to Ayodhya.

"The total journey is over 1,400 kilometres. I walk around 60 kilometres a day and take multiple breaks. Being a girl, it is an obvious concern to look for a safe space to take breaks during the journey but wherever I go I am welcomed by people," she said.

In Maharashtra's Solapur, Prime Minister Modi on Friday invoked the principles of governance inspired by Ram.

"Lord Ram did the work that made his people happy. My government is dedicated to the welfare and empowerment of the poor. We launched schemes to mitigate their hardships," he said at a public meeting.

He urged people to light the Ram Jyoti on January 22, a symbolic act that he said would serve as an inspiration to eradicate poverty.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath made another visit to Ayodhya to take stock of the preparations for Monday's event.

Multiple NDRF teams trained to tackle chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks, drowning incidents and disasters like earthquakes have been deployed in Ayodhya.

National Disaster Response Force director general Atul Karwal told PTI that the teams are conducting familiarisation exercises and drills in the temple town to respond to any contingency.

In Ayodhya, a large number of people have changed their caller tunes or ring tones to 'Ram Dhun'.

"Entire Ayodhya -- from temples to buses, and from streets to mobile phones -- is getting immersed in the spirit of Lord Ram," said Ajitesh Shukla, who works at a guesthouse.

He has changed his caller tune to Hari Anant Hari Katha from the film Aadipurush.

And e-buses plying between Ayodhya city and old Faizabad town, play the popular song Ram Aayenge.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah asked if Lord Ram belonged only to the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

"Is Lord Ram residing only in one temple? Doesn't Ram have any other home," he told reporters. Ram does not belong to one sect and it is wrong to portray him only as 'Hindu', he said.

The consecration ceremony is being held after the first phase of the temple's construction, made possible by a historic Supreme Court judgment in 2019 on the temple-mosque dispute. The Hindu litigants argued that the Babri Mosque was constructed at the site of a temple marking the birthplace of Lord Ram.

In 1992, the 16th century mosque was demolished by kar sevaks.


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Arunav Sinha
Source: PTI© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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