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Rediff.com  » News » A Temple Fit For The Prince Of Ayodhya

A Temple Fit For The Prince Of Ayodhya

By RAJESH KARKERA, SAISURESH SIVASWAMY
January 23, 2024 10:06 IST
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The temple, you realise, is true to hype and is stunning in its beauty.
A marvel in white, it's simply eye-catching, and every inch a temple for the new India, notes Saisuresh Sivaswamy/Rediff.com after a visit to the new shrine.
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com
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The Ram Lalla Idol in Ayodhya

There hasn't been so much interest in a temple or deity as there has been over the freshly-minted Ram temple in Ayodhya and its presiding deity.

That's because of the veil of secrecy -- at least near secrecy -- over both.

Some leaks have managed to find their way to the media, but there has been little information on the shrine till Monday, day of the pran pratishtha.

On Monday, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi consecrated the idol in the new temple, the Uttar Pradesh government decided to take a media party for a dekko before the temple opened its doors for public darshan from Tuesday onwards.

By the time the decision reached the implementation level and journalists could be ferried to the temple it was almost 8 pm.

Ayodhya Ram Temple

 

Ayodhya

 

Ayodhya Shree Ram Temple

Ayodhya

The temple, you realise, is true to hype and is stunning in its beauty.

A marvel in white, it's simply eye-catching, and every inch a temple for the new India.

Information about the temple has been in the public domain for a while now. It is well known the temple complex spans 70 acres, the building is a ground plus two storeys tall, no iron or steel has been used in its construction, is built in the traditional Nagara style of architecture, etc.

Still, to see the structure before you, is a sensory experience. As you enter the temple complex, you are walking on marble floor that is cool on the feet -- especially in winter. But your mind goes back to numerous temples where one's feet face an agonising time in the summer heat.

Temples, you realise, are loath to provide for a cool carpet underfoot, or aerate the floor constantly so that the feet don't suffer during circumambulation.

Ayodhya

 

Ayodhya

 

Ayodhya temple

 

Ayodhya Ram Temple

Monday, when we visited, was only for the media and special invitees (not the VIPs from the morning ceremony), and the beautifully designed temple was simply overrun -- there is no other way to put it -- as television camera crews jostled for space with what seemed like local leaders, political workers and such.

Even policemen on bandobast duty were not immune to the mobile camera craze that mandates recording everything for posterity. The main circular area of the temple ahead of the sanctum is designed in such a way that the crowds that have come for darshan will all wait there -- patiently, it is expected -- as the garb-griha's door opens, aarti is performed, etc.

But Indians are not known for their composure in temples. Most temples have overcome this problem by restricting the number of people who can have darshan at one time, and using barricades, etc. How exactly the Ram temple plans to regulate the crowds at the last step is unknown.

On Monday evening there was no crowd management when the media was taken there; one hopes the temple management has a plan in mind that doesn't rob the devotee of his divine experience while at the same time ensuring the place doesn't resemble a rugby scrimmage.

Since the Ram temple hopes to bring in devotees by the thousands every day, some of the best practices can be adopted from other popular temples. The hugely popular Tirupati, for instance, uses the e-darshan system effectively to manage crowds -- and fails once in a while when the intake of devotees is beyond what the system can handle.

Crowd management is very crucial, as when the doors open to the sanctum sanctorum and Ram Lalla comes into view, is a moment of magic, one that could turn atheists into believers. Such a powerful moment should not be marred by poor devotee experience.

Ayodhya temple

 

Ayodhya temple 

 

Ayodhya temple

 

Ayodhya temple

Sculptor Arun Yogiraj has fully captured the innocence of the child Ram so wonderfully with his idol, something one was sceptical about given the statue's size of 51 inches. Some minor portions of the temple are still to be completed, and it's not just the first and second floors. The flooring at a few places is still being done, you realise, as you hop on makeshift layers to make it in.

Was there a toilet in the complex? If so, one missed it, as one missed any provision for the wheelchair-bound. Perhaps because it was day one and things were yet to be finalised, visitors' shoes were seen kept haphazardly and anywhere, spoiling the beauty of the temple. Hopefully by the temple opens for public darshan, there is a system in place to ensure shoes are kept neat, and safe.

At least one person complained of someone walking away with his expensive pair of shoes!

A laser light and sound show came on in the evening, lending the temple an ethereal feel. Overall, the Ram temple lives up to the hype over it, and you come out feeling very impressed.

The prince of Ayodhya has returned from exile to a spanking new palace.

 

Ayodhya Temple

 

Ayodhya temple 

 

Ayodhya temple 

 

Ayodhya temple

 

Ayodhya temple

 

Ayodhya temple

 

Ayodhya temple

 

Ayodhya temple

 

Ayodhya temple

 

Ayodhya temple

 

Ayodhya temple

 

Ayodhya temple

 

Ayodhya temple

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RAJESH KARKERA, SAISURESH SIVASWAMY
 
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