TODAY -

Riots to a shrine - Ram Mandir of Ayodhya

Lukhendro Keisham *

 Ram Mandir of Ayodhya
Ram Mandir of Ayodhya



We were at the recently inaugurated Ram Mandir of Ayodhya on 25th March, 2024. Public transports like low floor buses and electric powered rickshaws were easily available from the highway. Though there were multiple parking spots for private vehicles, we chose the one on the bank of Sarayu River under the rail bridge.

We took a rickshaw till Ram Path, the road that leads to the main entry point of Ram Mandir. It's a two way street decorated with ornamental street lamps inspired from Lord Rama's Sharanga. The road remained crowded the whole time we were around. There were plenty of small worship houses and shops selling religious souvenirs on both sides of the road and Ayodhya as a whole.

No electronic gadgets including smart watches are allowed inside the temple. One has to deposit their foot wears and any other belongings in a locker hub located inside the campus. Separate queues for male and female visitors, wheelchairs for senior citizens and the special ones are facilitated. Dozens of uniformed personnel were deployed on all corners to assist the visitors and obvious security.

All visitors are made to pass through metal dictators with simultaneous manual frisking. As we moved forward we came across the Singh Dwar which opens up to the main structure of the temple. After a height of thirty-two steps we finally landed on the sanctum floor where the newly sculpted Ram Lalla idol was installed and consecrated.

While some chanted “Jai Shri Ram” many would touch and feel the heavily sculpted pillars and walls of the temple. Admiring, wondering and flabbergasted as we pass through the gold plated doors inching closer and closer to the sanctum sanctorum. One could easily differentiate the dark shades on the walls and pillars greased from the constant touching by thousands of devotees daily. It was mesmerizing.

Then came the 51 inch tall all black five - year - old envisaged figurine of His holiness, Lord Shri Ram Lalla draped in religiously unrivalled attire standing tall on a raised platform. Sculpted out of a single Krishna Shila stone quarried from Bujjegoudanapura Village of Karnataka it was truly transcendental.

If luck permits you may get a tiny slice of prasad distributed randomly in front of the Ram Lalla itself. And compulsory for all, a small packet of mimosa sugar balls (prasad dana) sealed in a white colored paper pouch was handed to each individual as we exited down from the temple.

Though consecrated on 22nd January, 2024 and later open for public construction of Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir is still due leaving aside the landscaping work which should follow after the main structures were accomplished.

The temple is open to visitors from 6:30 AM to 9:30 PM. One may also participate in an Aarti should he/she gets a pass from Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust on producing a valid personal identification proof. Only 30 participants are allowed in such Aarti. All services and facilities of any forms at the premises are free. If anyone promises anything for money then it's a scam, says the temple trust.

It was around 1990-91 my old man showed us an exclusive video documentary on Ram Janmabhoomi and the riots brewing during the time. A policeman even took to the streets with his service revolver in broad daylight supporting the cause.

Though we had very little knowledge we would watch it time and again on our Akai VCR player. Those were the days the idea of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya was seeded to many of us. It was indeed a dream come true.

Shaping up through riots and legal battles the spirit of Lord Rama finally resides in the form of Ram Lalla at His Janmabhoomi.

We were among the very few from Manipur blessed to have witnessed this spiritually important monument in such a short notice since its inception.


* Lukhendro Keisham wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at lukhendrokeisham(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on 19 May 2024

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