The first consignment of teakwood from Chandrapur and Gadchiroli forests in Maharashtra is ready to be dispatched to Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh for use in the Ram temple.
Maharashtra Forest and Environment Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar told The Hindu that a grand rally would be held on Wednesday to mark the dispatch of the consignment from the Ballarpur depot to Ayodhya. Deputy Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis, a few Ministers in the Uttar Pradesh government, several MPs, MLAs, and MLCs from Chandrapur and neighbouring districts were set to participate in the event, the Minister said. The star cast of the epic television serial ‘Ramayana’ (1987) – Arun Govil (Lord Rama), Dipika Chikhlia Topiwala (Sita) and Sunil Lahiri (Lakshmana) and other celebrities — would also take part. Bollywood playback singer Kailash Kher would render bhajans of Lord Rama.
Mr. Mungantiwar, who hails from Chandrapur, said that the teakwood would be used to make the main doors of the temple, the entrance to the sanctum sanctorum, inside doors, and other requirements for the temple complex.
The premium quality wood, which is being provided through the Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra Limited, will be sent in several consignments between March and May.
“When we came to know that the committee overseeing the construction of the temple was looking for teakwood for doors and other works, we sent a proposal, which was in turn sent to the Forest Research Institute in Dehradun for a review. After conducting several tests, the institute came to the conclusion that Chandrapur’s teak is the most durable and suitable for the construction of the mega temple. It is termite-resistant wood and has a life of over 1,000 years,” the Minister said.
While the sandstone used for the construction of the temple was sourced from Rajasthan, the shaligram stones expected to be used for carving out the idols of Lord Ram and Goddess Janaki were brought from Galeshwar Dham in Janakpur, 100 km from Pokhara in Nepal. The “wood is being sent from the land of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj who had grown up listening to the Ramayana and the Mahabharata,” Mr. Mungantiwar said.
“It is a matter of pride for the people of Maharashtra, and especially the Vidarbha region as Lord Rama’s grandmother, Indumati, was the princess of Vidarbha,” he added.