Devotees queue up in droves as Ram temple in Ayodhya opens doors for public

Devotees gathered near the main gateway of the Ram temple in Ayodhya from Jan. 22 night to enter the new temple

January 23, 2024 10:25 am | Updated 11:57 am IST - Ayodhya

Huge crowd of devotees gather near the main gateway leading to the Ram temple, in Ayodhya on Jan. 23, 2024.

Huge crowd of devotees gather near the main gateway leading to the Ram temple, in Ayodhya on Jan. 23, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

The doors of the Ram temple in Ayodhya opened to the general public for the first time on January 23, a day after the consecration of the new Ram Lalla idol.

A large number of devotees, both locals and visitors from other States, gathered near the main gateway along the Ram Path leading to the temple complex late on Jan. 22 night, seeking an early entry to the premises the following morning. Police told the devotees that they would only be allowed to enter the temple the following morning when it opens for the public.

Carrying flags bearing the visages of Lord Ram and chanting Jai Shri Ram, the devotees waited for hours in the biting cold on Jan. 23 before the doors of the grand temple opened.

Devotees celebrate in Ayodhya

“Felt so delighted, my life’s aim has been fulfilled. Our ancestors struggled for this and it has been brought to fruition. The arrangement should continue like this and the name of Lord Ram should reign for ages,” said Manish Verma, a devotee from Punjab.

Editorial | From fear to hope: On Ram temple consecration

Many devotees have been camping in Ayodhya since before the consecration ceremony, having made long and difficult journeys to reach the temple town.

Nitish Kumar, a resident of Bihar’s Madhepura district, cycled more than 600 kilometres to reach Ayodhya. “There is a massive rush but I am hopeful I will get a chance to have darshan today. I will start my journey back once my wish is fulfilled. Though I couldn’t go to the temple on Monday, what a day it was to be in Ayodhya,” he told PTI.

Anurag Sharma from Rajasthan’s Sikar was seen walking around with a model of the temple on the day of the consecration ceremony. “I brought this model with me from my hometown. I arrived on the inaugural flight to Ayodhya and I have been here since then. I will go back only after having a darshan of Ram Lalla,” he told PTI.

Groups of people could also be seen marching towards the temple, passing through the decked up Ram Path. “Ram Lalla gave us the strength to walk all the way from Chhattisgarh and now He only will get us through this crowd so we can take His blessings,” said Sunil Madho, part of an eight-member group that undertook a padyatra to Ayodhya.

Maharashtra native Gopal Krishna, who arrived in Ayodhya a few days ago, also jostled in the thick crowd as it moved towards the security check. “We came here a few days ago as Lord Ram called us. People were telling us to not travel as police would impose restrictions on travel and rooms would not be available in hotels. We are staying at an ashram and this is the day we waited for,” he told PTI. He was accompanied by a few friends with whom he travelled in a four-wheeler to Ayodhya from Akola district.

The gates of the temple, decorated with flowers and lights, turned into selfie spots for the devotees as they gathered to join the queues.

AYODHYA, INDIA - JANUARY 22: Devotees distribute sweets after the consecration ceremony of the Ram Mandir on January 22, 2024, in Ayodhya, India.

AYODHYA, INDIA - JANUARY 22: Devotees distribute sweets after the consecration ceremony of the Ram Mandir on January 22, 2024, in Ayodhya, India. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

The devotees chanted “Jai Shri Ram” as they walked in and out of the temple complex. Inside the main temple, the chants reverberated in its grand halls.

Lakhs of people watched the 'pran pratishtha (consecration)' ceremony on television in their homes and neighbourhood temples, savouring the historic moment on Jan. 22.

Artistes performed folk dances, a 'palki yatra' was conducted by a religious troupe from Bhopal and scores of devotees from Ayodhya and other cities chanted "Jai Shri Ram" in the streets of Ayodhya as the ceremony unfolded.

Advent of a new era, says Modi

An idol of the new Ram Lalla was consecrated at the Ayodhya temple on Jan. 22, a landmark event led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who also gave a clarion call to go beyond the grand mandir's construction to build the foundation of a "strong, capable and divine" India of the next 1,000 years.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi leads the rituals during the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ ceremony in the sanctum sanctorum of the Ram Janmabhoomi Temple, in Ayodhya on Jan. 22. Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwant also present.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi leads the rituals during the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ ceremony in the sanctum sanctorum of the Ram Janmabhoomi Temple, in Ayodhya on Jan. 22. Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwant also present. | Photo Credit: ANI

"January 22, 2024, is not merely a date in the calendar but heralds the advent of a new era," Mr. Modi said after he performed a series of rituals in the garbha griha (sanctum sanctorum) with the consecration taking place during an 84-second Abhijeet muhurta starting at 12.29 pm. He also prostrated himself before the 51-inch idol that depicts the child Ram.

"Today, our Ram has arrived. After a long wait for ages, our Ram has arrived. Our Ram Lalla will no longer live in a tent. Our Ram Lalla will stay in a magnificent temple," Mr. Modi said in his address to the invitees, which included seers, leading figures from different fields and those part of the decades-long Ram Janmabhoomi movement for building the temple.

A large number of the invitees, including seers, later had a darshan of the deity soon after the consecration ceremony ended.

For the general public, the doors of the temple opened on Tuesday morning.

People gather in large numbers at the Ram Janmabhoomi Temple in Ayodhya on the occasion of the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ ceremony on Monday.

People gather in large numbers at the Ram Janmabhoomi Temple in Ayodhya on the occasion of the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ ceremony on Monday. | Photo Credit: ANI

Despite restrictions on vehicular and pedestrian movement on Jan. 22, a large number of devotees, including those from other cities, lined a section of the Ram Path on both sides and milled around at Lata Mangeshkar Chowk, eager to enter the temple complex.

The temple complex, built in the traditional Nagara style, is 380 feet long from the east to the west, 250 feet wide and will eventually rise to 161 feet at the 'shikhar'. It is supported by 392 pillars and has 44 doors.

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