Nepal temple prepares to gift 350-tonne stones to build Ram statue in Ayodhya

While the stones from the Kali Gandaki river are set to arrive by the end of the month, the Ayodhya temple trust has not yet decided on using them to build the idol

Updated - January 09, 2024 11:09 am IST

Published - January 17, 2023 09:47 pm IST - New Delhi

The two stones, weighing around, 350 tonnes, will be sent from Nepal’s Kali Gandaki to Ayodhya.

The two stones, weighing around, 350 tonnes, will be sent from Nepal’s Kali Gandaki to Ayodhya. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Two shilas (stones), around seven feet long and weighing over 350 tonnes, from Nepal’s Kali Gandaki river are set to arrive at Ayodhya, where they will be used to carve the idol of Lord Ram, said the priests from Janaki temple (Janakpur), Nepal. Interestingly, in Ayodhya, there is still no clarity if the stones from Nepal will be used to build the idol, according to an official from the temple trust.

A group of priests, local leaders and residents of Beni Municipality, gathered on the banks of Kali Gandaki river in Myagdi district in Nepal on Sunday to perform a pooja for the giant Himalayan stones. The ceremony was attended by Bimalendra Nidhi, Central Committee Member, Nepali Congress; Prithvi Man Gurung, Chief of the Gandaki Province; and, Rajendra Singh Pankaj, a senior Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader (VHP), among others.

Also read: Ram Temple to be ready for inauguration on January 1, 2024: Amit Shah

Mahant Ramtapeshwar Das, chief of Janaki temple, told The Hindu that the huge pieces of stones were identified by a team of experts, including geologists and technicians, after spending weeks on the ground. “The shortlisted stones, [weighing] around 350 tonnes, will be taken to Ayodhya as a gift. The stones would reach before month end,” he said.

The religious leader maintained that the shila will last for thousands of years and not get damaged by earthquakes.

The ‘pious’ Kali Gandaki, popularly known as Narayani, is the only source of the shaligram shila (a variety of stone collected from the river bed and worshipped as Lord Vishnu). Lord Ram is believed to be the incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Mr. Nidhi said that the exchange of Himalayan stones will strengthen the religious ties between Nepal and India. It was his idea that the people of Janakpur also gift a metallic Shiv Dhanush to be displayed in the temple complex.

Champat Rai, general secretary of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra, refused to speak on the issue. His office, however, said that the trust has no idea about the stones being sent to Ayodhya.

It was Mr. Rai, who in November 2022, sent a letter to the Janaki Temple, welcoming the idea of getting stones from Kali Gandaki river to build the statue of Lord Ram.

A senior member of Kshetra told The Hindu that the idea was discussed in one of the meetings of the trust, in November last year. “We are still not sure whether to build the idol from rock from Nepal or from Makrana marble, which is commonly used in India to build idols of gods and goddesses in big temples,” the member added.

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