Ram Mandir in Ayodhya

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The Ram Mandir is a Hindu temple that is under construction in AyodhyaUttar Pradesh, India. It is located at the site of Ram Janmabhoomi, the hypothesized birthplace of Rama, a principal deity of Hinduism.[5][6] The site is the former location of the Babri Masjid. In 2019, the Supreme Court of India delivered a unanimous verdict to give the disputed land to Hindus for a temple. The court referenced a report from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as evidence suggesting the presence of a structure beneath the demolished Babri mosque that was deemed to be non-Islamic.[7]

A ceremony, celebrating the commencement of the construction of Ram Mandir, was performed on the 5th of August 2020, by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.[8] The temple, currently undergoing construction, is being supervised by the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra trust. The pran pratishtha (transl. consecration ceremony) is scheduled for 22nd January 2024.[9]

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HISTORY

Ancient and Medieval

Rama, an incarnation of Vishnu, is a Hindu deity. According to the ancient Indian epic, Ramayana, Rama was born in Ayodhya. In the 16th century, the temple was attacked and destroyed by Babur in his series of temple raids across northern India.[10] Later, the Mughals constructed a mosque, the Babri Masjid, which is believed to be the site of the Ram Janmabhoomi, the birthplace of Rama.[11] The first instance of religious violence was documented 230 years after the erection of the Babri Masjid in 1853.[12]

Modern

In the 1980s, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), belonging to the Hindu nationalist family Sangh Parivar, launched a new movement to reclaim the site for Hindus and to erect a temple dedicated to the infant Rama (Ram Lalla) at this spot. The VHP began to collect funds and bricks with “Jai Shree Ram” written on them. Later, the Rajiv Gandhi government gave the VHP permission for Shilanyas (transl. the foundation stone ceremony ) to proceed, with the then-Home MinisterButa Singh formally conveying the permission to the VHP leader Ashok Singhal. Initially, the federal and state governments had agreed that the Shilanyas would be conducted outside of the disputed site. However, on the 9th of November 1989, a group of VHP leaders and Sadhus laid the foundation stone by digging a 200-litre (7-cubic-foot) pit adjacent to the disputed land. The singhdwar (transl. main entrance) of the sanctum was constructed there.[13] The VHP then laid the foundations of a temple on land adjacent to the disputed mosque. On the 6th of December 1992, the VHP and the Bharatiya Janata Party organised a rally at the site involving 150,000 volunteers, known as kar sevaks. The rally turned violent, and the crowd overwhelmed the security forces and tore down the mosque.[14][15]

Architecture

The original design for the Ram temple was devised in 1988 by the Sompura family of Ahmedabad.[2] The Sompuras have contributed to the design of over 100 temples worldwide for at least 15 generations, including the Somnath temple.[23] The chief architect of the temple was Chandrakant Sompura, and he was assisted by his two sons Nikhil Sompura and Ashish Sompura, who are also architects.[24]

A new design, with some changes from the original, was prepared by the Sompuras in 2020,[24] in accordance with the Hindu texts the vastu shastra and the Shilpa Shastras.[25] The temple will be 235 feet (72 m) wide, 360 feet (110 m) long and 161 feet (49 m) high, and once complete, the temple complex will be the world’s third largest Hindu shrine.[24] It is designed in the Gujara-Chaulukya style of Northern Indian temple architecture.[23] A model of the proposed temple was showcased during the Prayag Kumbh Mela in 2019.[26]

The main structure of the temple will be built on a raised platform and will have three storeys. It will have five mandapas in the middle of the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) and on the entryway. Three mandapas on one side shall be of Kudu, Nritya, and Rang, and the two mandapas on the other side will be of Kirtan and Prarthana. In Nagara style, the mandapas are to be decorated with shikhara.[27][28]

The building will have a total of 366 columns. The columns will have 16 idols each to include the incarnations of Shiva, the 10 Dashavataras, the 64 Chausath Yoginis, and the 12 incarnations of the goddess Saraswati. The width of the stairs will be 16 feet (4.9 m). In accordance with scriptures dedicated to the design of temples dedicated to Vishnu, the sanctum sanctorum will be octagonal.[25] The temple will be built in 10 acres (0.040 km2), and 57 acres (0.23 km2) of land will be developed into a complex with a prayer hall, a lecture hall, an educational facility and other facilities including a museum and a cafeteria.[13] According to the temple committee, over 70,000 people will be able to visit the site.[29] Larsen & Toubro offered to oversee the design and construction of the temple free of cost and became the contractor of the project.[30][31] The Central Building Research InstituteNational Geophysical Research Institute and the Bombay, Guwahati and Madras Indian Institutes of Technology are assisting in areas such as soil testing, concrete and design.

The construction work will be accomplished with 600 thousand cubic feet of sandstone from Bansi pahadpur village mountain in Rajasthan.There will be no use of iron in the construction of the temple, and the fusing of the stone blocks will require ten thousand copper plates.[35] In a culturally significant move, Thailand is symbolically contributing to the inauguration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya by sending soil to the Ram Janmabhoomi, building on their prior gesture of sending water from two rivers in Thailand to honor the temple.

Construction

The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra trust began the first phase of construction of the Ram Temple in March of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in India caused a temporary suspension of the construction. On the 25th of March 2020, Ram’s idol was moved to a temporary location in the presence of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. In preparation for the temple’s construction, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad organised a ‘Vijay Mahamantra Jaap Anushthan ‘, in which individuals would gather at different places to chant the Vijay Mahamantra – Shri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram, on the 6th of April 2020. This was said to ensure “victory over hurdles” in the construction of the temple.

It has been officially announced that January 22, 2024, is the scheduled date for the installation of the Lord Ram idol in the garbhagriha (consecration) by Champat Rai, the General Secretary of the Sri Ram Janmbhoomi Kshetra Trust. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on October 25, 2023, was extended a formal invitation to attend the ceremony.

Bhoomi Poojan ceremony

The temple construction officially started again after a Bhumi pujan ceremony on the 5th of August 2020. Three-day long Vedic rituals were held ahead of the ground-breaking ceremony, which revolved around the installation of a 40 kg (88 pounds) silver brick as the foundation stone by the Prime Minister of IndiaNarendra Modi.[2] On the 4th of August, the Ramarchan Puja (transl. Puja of Shri Ram’s feet) was performed, in order to invite all the major deities into the temple.

On the occasion of the Bhoomi-Pooja, soil and holy water were collected from several religious places across India, such as the Triveni Sangam of the rivers GangaYamuna, and Saraswati at Prayagraj, as well as the Kaveri river at Talakaveri, and the Kamakhya Temple in Assam.[48][49][50] Soil was also sent from various Hindu templesGurudwaras and Jain Temples across the nation to bless the temple.[51][52] Soil was also sent from the four pilgrimage locations of Char Dham.

On 5 August, Prime Minister Modi offered prayers at Hanumangarhi to seek blessings of Hanuman for the day’s events.[54][55]The ground breaking and foundation stone laying ceremony of Ram Mandir took place following this.[54] Yogi AdityanathMohan BhagwatNritya Gopal Das and Narendra Modi gave speeches.[54] Modi started his speech with Jai Siya Ram, and he went on to urge those in attendance to also chant Jai Siya Ram

Donations

The temple trust decided to launch a nationwide “mass contact and contribution campaign” aimed at reaching 55-600 million people.[33] Voluntary donations of ₹10 (13¢ US) and higher were accepted.[75] On the 15th of January 2021, President of India Ram Nath Kovind made the first contribution towards the construction of the Ram Mandir by donating ₹501,000 (US$6,300).[76] This was followed by several leaders and notable personalities across the nation. By April of 2021, around ₹5,000 crore (US$630 million) was collected from donations across India.[77][78] Nearly 150,000 VHP activists participated in collecting donations. The temple trust also received donations from the members of the Muslim and Christian communities.[79]

A few individuals including former Karnataka Chief Ministers HD Kumaraswamy and Siddaramaiah strongly questioned the way in which the funds were collected.[80][81] After failing to raise, the headmistress of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh school experienced bullying, and was subsequently suspended. A similar case occurred in Ballia district.[82][83] Following allegations of corruption, Tata Consultancy Services was brought in to digitize the accounts.

Opening of Ram Mandir

Ayodhya Ram Mandir is almost ready for the tourists and they can visit it on the inauguration day on 24 January 2024. The Mandala Utsava at Ayodhya will take place from January 23 to March 10. The day following Lord Sri Rama’s Prana Pratistha

Slogans

Mandir wahi banayenge (transl. The temple will be built exactly there) is an expression in Hindi, and has become one of the most popular slogans in relation to the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and Ram Mandir. It has been used as early as 1985–86, was popularised in the 1990s, and has a number of variations.

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