- PM Modi to reach Ayodhya after 29 years
- PM Modi will visit Hanumangarhi before paying a visit to the Ram Mandir site
- PM Modi will also lay a silver brick which weighs 40 kgs at Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is returning to Ayodhya after 29 long years and for a historical moment of “Bhoomi Pujan” or the groundbreaking ceremony for the Ram Mandir at the site which was disputed for decades until the Supreme Court of India handed the ownership to Hindus in 2019.
PM Modi, in a gold kurta and white dhoti, left by special aircraft for the ceremony where he will lay a 40-kg silver brick later today to mark the symbolic beginning of the grand temple at what scholars believe is the birthplace of Lord Ram.
This historic event showcases the triumph of one of India’s longest movements, one which found resonance with crores of people in the country and abroad. The Ayodhya town in Uttar Pradesh is a riot of colours for the event which has now met a decades-long promise, core to the ruling BJP’s ideology.
PM Modi had reached Lucknow, from where he left to take a chopper to Ayodhya. And after offering prayers at the Hanumangarhi temple – a shrine to Lord Hanuman – he continued to the Ramjanmabhoomi or the birthplace of Lord Ram to pray at the shrine to “Ram Lalla”, the infant Lord Ram.
Every spot is decked with flowers and highlights different forms of art.
PM Modi was, in 1990, one of the organizers of the nationwide campaign for a Ram Temple at the site where the 16th-century Babri mosque once stood, will now lay a silver brick which will weigh 40 kgs as part of the groundbreaking ceremony.
This temple campaign marked the emergence of the BJP as a national electoral force.
It is being said that the temple will boast a grand three-storey stone structure with multiple turrets, pillars and domes. The temple will be 161 feet tall.
Apart from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 50 VIPs including the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath and Mohan Bhagwat who is the Chief of the BJP’s ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will attend the ceremony. Iqbal Ansari, a litigant in the temple-mosque dispute, was the first person to be invited.
Veterans of BJP L K Advani who led the Ram temple movement in 1990 will not attend the ceremony in-person but rather via video conferencing because of the precaution takes due to the novel Coronavirus and his old age.
The Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust, tasked with building the temple, issued a last-minute invite to him and another prominent face of the movement, Murli Manohar Joshi.
The movement for Ram temple took centre stage in the 1990s when L K Advani held the rath yatras to pitch for a Ram Temple at the site where the 16th century Babri Masjid (Mosque) stood. On the 6th of December 1992, the mosque was razed by activists who believed it was built on the ruins of an ancient temple that marked the spot where Lord Ram was born.
More than 2,000 people died in the riots that followed.
L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh were among the BJP leaders who were accused of conspiracy and inflammatory speeches leading to the mosque-razing.
The CBI claims the leaders had made incendiary speeches from a podium which was close to the mosque. However, the leaders denied all the charges.
In 2019, after decades of failed efforts of mediation, the Supreme Court of India delivered a landmark verdict as it handed over the 2.77 acre land for the Ram Temple. The court also ordered a five-acre plot at a different site in Ayodhya for a mosque.
The festivities which has begun today are being held at an auspicious time which was recommended by astrologers but is being curtailed give the surge in cases of the novel coronavirus.
The Union Home Minister Amit Shah has been hospitalized with the virus. Also, a priest and 14 policemen on duty near the temple site have also tested positive. Some 175 spiritual leaders will also attend the ceremony to be beamed onto large screens around the country and even on the huge displays at Times Square in New York. Soil from almost 2,000 holy sites around India and water of around 100 holy rivers will be used in the foundations.