Rajat Sharma


rajat-sirThe sanctum sanctorum of Lord Ram Temple in Ayodhya is almost ready. In the next 72 hours, one out of the three idols of Ram Lala, made by sculptors, will be selected for installation. All the five mandaps of Ram Temple have been built, while work on the first floor is almost complete. Installation of exquisite statuettes and carving of temple wall is complete. At present, work is going on for gold plating the doors of the sanctum sanctorum and the throne on which the idol will be installed. The temple’s structure can now be seen from the sky and the contours of the temple are fast taking a final shape. Work is going on 21 acres out of a total of 70 acres of the vast temple complex, with more than two-third area kept reserved for greenery. The temple has been built on only 2.7 acres of land. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will perform the ‘Pran Prathistha’ (statue installation) pooja on January 22 in the presence of a big gathering of sadhus and other personalities. Devotees can enter the temple from the South Gate after ascending 32 steps of staircase. There are three main gates of the temple – Lion Gate, Elephant Gate and Hanuman Gate. Devotees can rease the basement by passing through these gates. Five mandaps – Nritya Mandap, Rang Mandap, Prarthana Mandap , Sabha Mandap and Kirtan Mandap – have been built for devotees to sit and worship. The walls of these mandaps have been beautifully carved, with statuettes of Hindu gods and goddesses set in the walls. The sanctum sanctorum (Garbha griha) of the temple is square shaped with each side 20 feet long and the height is 161 feet. The sanctum sanctorum’s floor has been laid with white Makrana marble brought from Rajasthan. The temple structure has been erected in such a manner that it will remain strong for nearly a thousand years. Nripendra Mishra, retired bureaucrat and the chairman of Ram Mandir Nirman Samiti said, the earlier plan prepared before the Supreme Court verdict was to build a small Ram temple, but after the apex court allowed the construction, the original design was changed. The Ram Lala statue presently being worshipped at the makeshift temple, will be installed in the ’garbha griha’, but it is too small, and devotees may find it difficult to watch it from a distance. In its place, a 51 inch tall new idol of Ram Lala will be installed. The idol is of a five-year-old child, matching the description of Lord Ram’s childhood figure, as described in Valmiki’s Ramayana. Three idols, two black and one white, have been sculpted, out of which one idol will be chosen on December 29 by the committee. The announcement about the selected idol will be made in the first week of January by Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust. The selected idol will be installed on a throne, 3 feet high and eight feet wide. The idol will be placed in such a manner so that the rays of the Sun will touch its forehead every year on Ram Navami (birthday of Lord Rama). The 140 sq. ft. throne is presently being readied with copper wires which will be gold plated. The sanctum sanctorum will be surrounded from four directions with idols of the Sun God, Lord Shiva, Devi Bhagwati and Ganpati (Lord Ganesh). The Ram temple will have a total of 118 doors, all being made in Secunderabad, Telangana, by a private timber company, which specializes in using teak wood for this purpose. More than 100 carpenters and artisans from Tamil Nadu are busy making the temple doors, which will not have a single nut-bolt. The main doors of sanctum sanctorum will be 8 feet high and 12 feet wide. The doors will be five inch thick and will be gold plated. After the idol installation of Ram Lala idol on January 22, the temple will be thrown open to general public the next day. Entry will be from Singh Dwar (Lion Gate) on the eastern side. A huge statue of Jatayu, the demi-god in the form of an eagle, who vainly tried to save Sita from being abducted by the demon king Ravana, will be erected in the temple premises. With hardly 25 days left, round-the-clock work is going on, in three shifts daily, by nearly 4,000 workers. Building the Ram temple was not easy, said Nripendra Mishra. At the very first meeting of the Trust, it was found that the ground on which the temple was supposed to be built was not hard, because, the Saryu river used to flow on that land and the base was not solid. Millions of devotees of Lord Ram are eagerly waiting to visit the temple and watch the beautiful and magnificent temple with their own eyes. It will be the nerve centre of faith for millions of devotees of Lord Ram. It will reflect the centuries-old rich traditions of Sanatan Dharma. Already, gifts from faraway countries like Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Surinam, Nepal and Bhutan have started pouring in. The people of Janakpur in Nepal, considered the birthplace of Goddess Sita, have sent clothes, ornaments, dry fruits and water from 30 holy rivers for bathing the idol of Ram Lala. The chief priest of Ram Janaki temple said, the Nepalese town of Janakpur will celebrate the idol installation on January 22 by lighting earthen lamps. Donors have sent desi ghee from Jodhpur, and turmeric from Cambodia for the ‘yagya’ that will take place during idol installation in Ayodhya. Women from Pune are busy making beautiful clothes embroidered with golden thread for Ram Lala. I remember, in 1992, when Kar Seva began, people started sending bricks called ‘Ram Sheela’ (Ram bricks) from across the country for erecting the shrine. I find the same enthusiasm and involvement of devotees this time too. But there has been a sea change in the environment, then and now. In 1992, it marked the beginning of a movement, there was uncertainty, the atmosphere was hot with hate and enmity. Millions of devotees were angry at that point of time. Today it is the culmination of that movement. A time for charting a new beginning, without hate or rancour, with the air filled with devotion, peace and mutual understanding. This is the main difference between the situation, then an now. People at that time were also filled with devotion, as they are now. People in the South making teakwood doors, artisans and architect from Gujarat, sculptors from the East and West, marble from Rajasthan. It looks as if the entire nation wants to contribute its mite in building the temple. Even Muslim brothers have donated for the temple. This is evidence of the universality of Lord Ram. The Ram temple in Ayodhya will be a shining example of national unity. I expect politicians and thinkers from all hues to view it in this spirit. Sadly, there are still some people who are yet to imbibe this spirit. One of them is Sam Pitroda, chief of Indian Overseas Congress, the overseas wing of Congress party. Pitroda is unhappy over why Prime Minister Modi is spending more time on temples and less on “national agenda” like unemployment, inflation and development. During the late Eighties, Sam Pitroda used to be a close associate of Late Rajiv Gandhi. Today he seems to be the mentor and adviser to Rahul Gandhi. Pitroda arranges Rahul’s foreign trips to Europe and the US. Actually, for Pitroda, the problem is not Ram temple. His main problem is why Narendra Modi is cornering all the credit for building Ram temple. Sam Pitroda has probably forgotten that it was Rajiv Gandhi who had ordered the opening of locks at Ram Janmasthan in 1984 and he had got the credit for this. Now, with Modi’s effort, the holy town of Ayodhya is getting a grand Ram temple, and it is bound to reap political dividends for him during the elections. Somebody should ask Sam Pitroda: Will India’s development come to halt by visiting temples? If visiting temples is a sin, then why did Rahul Gandhi wear ‘janeu’(sacred thread) while visiting temples? This is not the first time that Sam created problems for the Congress. In one interview, when he was asked about 1984 anti-Sikh riots, his reply was: “hua so hua” (what happened, happened). The Congress was caught in a bind, and Sam had to apologize. When India carried out air strike on Balakot after Pulwama terror attack, Sam had said, the air strike was not justified and it is not right to hold Pakistan responsible for the Pulwama attack. Sam Pitroda had even given a clean chit to Pakistan for 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. And now, Sam is raising question about Ram temple, and PM’s devotion to Lord Ram. I think, this is nothing but sheer foolishness and imprudence. Sam is unable to feel the pulse of India and the Indian people. He is unable to recognize the power of faith and religious devotion among Indians. This could be the reason why he made such remarks about Lord Ram and the Ram temple. The silence of Congress leaders on his remark can prove costly for the party.

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