Lord Rama’s infant idol arrives in Ayodhya

New Delhi: Frenzied preparations are underway in the holy city of Ayodhya to mark the opening of a grand temple for Lord Ram, Hinduism’s most revered deity. 

The Ram Mandir’s opening Monday would fulfill a decades-long Hindu pledge that is also expected to resonate with voters during the upcoming national election later this year.

Several sprawling tent cities were being erected nearby to accommodate tens of thousands of devotees who are expected to attend. Dozens of private jets will fly India’s powerful elite, including top industrialists, movie stars and celebrities, to Ayodhya to see the ceremony. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has planned live screenings across the country, as well as at some Indian embassies across the world.

PM Modi will be in attendance, alongside several seers and priests, for the consecration ceremony in which a statue of Shri Ram is to be placed in the temple’s inner sanctum.

Ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has long campaigned for the temple to replace the 16th-century mosque that was demolished by mobs in 1992. The decades-long dispute ended in 2019 when India’s Supreme Court granted the site to Hindus and gave a different plot of land to Muslims for a mosque.

The temple, a three-story structure clad in pink sandstone, stretches across 2.9 hectares in a 28-hectare complex. It will have a 1.3-meter idol of Lord Rama, whom Hindus believe was born at the exact site where the razed mosque once stood.

Image courtesy of X

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