Old idol of Ram Lalla to be placed in front of new idol

₹1,100 crore has so far been spent in constructing the Ram Temple and another ₹300 crore might be needed to complete the work, says Ram temple trust's treasurer

Updated - January 22, 2024 06:53 am IST

Published - January 21, 2024 08:17 pm IST - Ayodhya

The old idol of Ram Lalla, kept in a makeshift shrine, will be placed in front of the new idol that will be consecrated at the temple here on January 22, Govind Dev Giri, the treasurer of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, said.

He also said that more than ₹1,100 crore has so far been spent in constructing the Ram Temple and another ₹300 crore might be needed to complete the work. “One storey is completed and we are going to build one more storey,” Mr. Giri said.

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A 51-inch Ram Lalla idol was placed in the sanctum sanctorum of the Ram temple last week. Three idols of Lord Ram were made, from which the one sculpted by Mysuru-based Arun Yogiraj has been selected for the pran prathistha ceremony.

Ram Lalla Idol at the temporary location as Ram Mandir construction is in full swing on the second anniversary of its bhoomi puja, in Ayodhya.

Ram Lalla Idol at the temporary location as Ram Mandir construction is in full swing on the second anniversary of its bhoomi puja, in Ayodhya. | Photo Credit: SANDEEP SAXENA

When asked what would happen to the other two idols, the treasurer of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust said they would honoured, too. "We shall place them in the temple with all honour and respect. One of the idols will be kept with us since we will need it to measure the clothes and ornaments of Prabhu Shri Ram," Mr. Giri said.

"It [the original idol] will be placed in front of Ram Lalla. The original idol is very important. It is five to six inches in height and cannot be seen from a distance of 25 to 30 feet. That is why we needed a bigger idol," he said.

"It was very difficult for us to choose one idol out of three. All of them are very beautiful, all followed the criteria provided by us," Mr. Giri said of the selection of the Ram Lalla idol sculpted by Mr. Yogiraj.

"The first criterion was that the face should be child-like, with a divine glow. Lord Ram was ajaanbaahu (a person whose arms reach near the knees). So the arms should be of that length," he said. The idol chosen for the consecration ceremony is "stout and had a good personality". The limbs are in the correct proportion, Mr. Giri said.

"The delicate nature of the child was also visible to us while the ornaments were also very nicely and delicately engraved. It increased the beauty of the idol," he said.

"I went to Ayodhya every month and visited the places where the idols were being carved. Those sites were barred from the public. The sculptors took around four to five months to build the idols. After those were finished, we took a look at the idols for a day and took a decision," he said.

After 500 years, a special event is being organised in India, and "we see it as Deepavali", Mr. Giri said.

"We celebrate Diwali each year, but this is a historic one. After so much struggle, Lord Ram will be seated in his original place with love and respect. This is the feeling which is prevailing in the country," Mr. Giri said. He added that the youth were tilting towards spiritualism. "They are intellectuals. They think logically and need scientific proof. Yet they are engrossed in spiritual and nationalistic emotions," he said.

Taking a jibe at those criticising Sanatan Dharma, Mr. Giri said people “must understand what dharma means”.

"It is neither religion nor is it the way of worship. Dharma is the underlying laws that govern nature and faith. You may or may not believe in science but scientific principles exist. In the same way, the principles of dharma are eternal. People who understand and follow them benefit while those who ignore them don't gain any benefit," Mr. Giri said.

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