The wait for the establishment of the Ram Mandir on the grounds of Ayodhya has finally confronted culmination. This was ensured following an event of Bhoomi Pujan that was held on Wednesday, i.e., 5th August 2020. Approximately, 175 guests, including 135 seers were invited for the ceremony. Iqbal Ansari, Champat Rai, Zufar Ahmed Faruqi, Purnima Kothari, Mohan Bhagwat, Yogi Adityanath, Anandiben Patel and PM Narendra Modi were among the many guests invited to attend the ceremony. The foundation stone of the much-awaited Ram Mandir had been laid by PM Narendra Modi in Ayodhya on that day.
A pinch of history
Ayodhya, a city in Uttar Pradesh, has forever been the core site of political controversies and conflicts among the Hindu and Muslim communities. Among Hindus, Ayodhya is taken into account jointly among the seven sacred cities that are thought to be the birthplace of Lord Rama, commonly referred to as “Ram Janmabhoomi”. It is believed that there once existed a temple of Lord Rama at Ram Janmabhoomi that was destroyed by the foreign (particularly Turkish and European) invaders in the early 16th Century. Subsequently, a mosque named “Babri Masjid”, also called “Mosque of Babur”, was built on these premises, allegedly by Mir Baqi, under the commandment of Mughal emperor Babur in the year 935 of the Islamic calendar. These invaders were pagans by origin but somehow were assumed to be Muslims. These assumptions further led to the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute that lit the fire among the two associated communities. The dispute is regarding an area of land measuring 2.77 acres in the city of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, which houses the Babri mosque and Ram Janmabhoomi.
Ayodhya verdict since the beginning
Multiple decisions on the case of Babri Masjid have been made to-date, beginning from the 1850s. The case was brought to the court for the first time in 1885. The matters were somehow then settled until the events that took place on the night of December 22nd, 1949 where an idol of the Hindu God, Ram was laid under the central dome of the Babri Masjid. Abhiram Das, a Hindu priest, claimed that he had a recurring dream of Lord Rama making an appearance under the main dome of the Masjid. Hence, many Hindus believed that it was a miracle, but then Faizabad DM, KK Nayar, early on December 23rd had informed that a group of Hindus entered the site and placed the idol. Later, an FIR was filed and the gates were decided to be kept closed for all religious fanatics until further notice.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had cashed this issue that stood as a key plank to their political demonstration in the 1980s, sparking riots and deaths around the country. However, the issue faded away from public vision, until an intentionally triggered twist on January 25th, 1986, when the case was moved by a stranger through an application in the court of the civil judge for opening the locks. The civil judge refused but the district judge countermanded the order on appeal on February 1st, 1986. Within half an hour, the locks on the gates of the Babri Masjid were unlatched at around 5.00 pm. Around this period, only Hindus were allowed to do pujas and darshan while the Muslims were prohibited from doing Namaz, although every party had admitted that the mosque had stood there for about 300 years.
Demolition of the Babri Masjid
The conflict paved its way to the uprising of the “karsevaks”, inspired by the calls of the BJP. The Temple Movement crossed limits to its peak on December 6th, 1992, when thousands of ‘karsevaks’ came together to Ayodhya and knocked down the Babri Masjid, which led to communal riots across the country. The violence that sparked across the country left almost 2,000 people dead. Just ten days after the incident, on 16th December 1992, the government established the Liberhan Commission of India (LCI) to investigate the case of demolition of the Babri Masjid and was asked to submit the reports within three months.
The matter was back at the courts and yet another legal battle began in April 2002. The Allahabad High Court, with a three-judge bench, was hearing to determine the ownership of the disputed land. The High Court commanded the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to excavate the site and determine if it was a temple earlier. In 2003, on excavation, the ASI found evidence of the presence of a temple under the mosque. In 2010, the High Court considered the pieces of evidence and findings and decided to divide the disputed land into three parts — one third to Ram Lalla Virajman, represented by the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha; one-third to the Sunni Waqf Board; and the remaining to the Nirmohi Akhara, but neither of the leading parties were satisfied with the order.
Finally, on November 9th, 2019, a five-judge Supreme Court bench led by Ranjan Gogoi concluded in favor of Ram Lalla and gave a verdict that the entire disputed land, spread over 2.77 acres will be handed over to a trust formed by the government, which will monitor the construction of the Ram Temple at the site and as a compensation to this, a separate plot of 5 acres would be given to Muslims in Ayodhya for the construction of a Mosque.
10 intriguing facts about Ayodhya Ram Mandir
Apart from its vast and intimidating history, the Ram Mandir also holds some intriguing facts:
- According to the proposed model of Ram Mandir, the temple’s height will peak to 161 feet with its length measuring 270 meters and width 140 meters.
- The temple will mount on 221 pillars with marble floors and 5 main entrances. Each pillar will be carved with 12 sculptures of Gods and Goddesses.
- Around 10,000 devotees will be able to visit and have darshan simultaneously, in the temple building.
- Although Uttar Pradesh falls under sensitive zone-4 in terms of Earthquake, Ayodhya falls under zone-3 which makes it less prone and hazardous. The temple will be built strong enough to bear Earthquakes ranging over 8-10 on the Richter scale.
- All the expenses for construction of the Ram Mandir will be arranged by Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, which was set up in February this year to initiate temple construction and look after other related issues. Devotees are openly welcomed to donate for the same.
- The model of the Ram Mandir was designed by Chandrakant Bhai Sompura, a well-known architect, in 1987. The temple will be built in Nagara style, following the principles of Vastu Shastra.
- A time capsule will be placed 200 feet deep under the temple building. Although this is stated to be a rumor, some believe it to be true.
- Every guest invited for the ‘Bhumi Pujan’ ceremony for the grand Ram temple, were gifted a silver coin as ‘prasad’. The silver coin, on one side, has the image of Ram Darbar which includes Lord Ram, Sita, Laxman, and Hanuman and on the other side is the emblem of trust.
- Sudarsan Pattnaik, a renowned Indian sand artist and Padma Awardee had sculpted a 5ft tall replica of Ram Mandir with Lord Ram on the sand at the Puri beach before ‘Bhoomi Pujan’ in Ayodhya.
- The Ayodhya Railway Station will be renovated to be an exact lookalike of the actual Ram Temple. So, people will already get a glance of the Ram Mandir even before visiting it.
While some ardent followers are looking forward to the completion of the construction of Ram Mandir within 2-3 years, other opposing or secular citizens call it an act of “National Shame”. Shame or not, it will remain to be a place attracting thousands of tourists that will surely contribute to India’s economy and neighbouring tribes based on the tourism business.
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