New Delhi: The idol of Ram Lalla will be shifted to a new location in the once-disputed Ayodhya site, at 4 am Wednesday, paving the way for the construction of the Ram Mandir. The mandir is to be built around the makeshift temple, which has been housing the Ram Lalla since 1992 when the Babri Masjid was demolished.
Once the construction is completed, the Ram Lalla will be moved back and will form the inner sanctum of the temple.
According to Champat Rai, the Vishva Hindu Parishad’s vice-president, puja had been held throughout Monday and early Tuesday ahead of Ram Lalla being moved.
“Ram Lalla will be shifted from the tent to a new place, within the 67-acre complex, at 4 am on 25 March. This is the auspicious time and we will ensure only a few people are part of the ceremony,” he told ThePrint.
Keeping the coronavirus pandemic in mind, the ceremony will see only 15 Vedic priests from Delhi, Prayagraj, Varanasi and Ayodhya, who will participate in the rituals, said Rai, who is also the general secretary of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust, which has been appointed by the Modi government to oversee the construction of the temple. Members of the trust will also take part in the ceremony.
The Ram Lalla had been placed in the inner courtyard of the Babri Masjid in 1949, following which the entire structure was seized by authorities. After the demolition of the mosque in 1992, the idol was shifted out and kept at a makeshift temple.
Idol to be placed near Manas Bhawan
The Ram Lalla will now be placed on a silver throne at a new site near the Manas Bhawan.
“The erstwhile royal of Ayodhya, Bimlendra Mohan Mishra, has donated a silver throne for Ram Lalla. The 9.5-kg throne has been made in Jaipur and is 25-inch long and 15-inch wide. The height of the throne is 30 inches. There is a Surya insignia on the back of the throne and both the sides have peacocks carved on it,” said Alok Kumar, international working president of the Vishva Hindu Parishad.
The entire route, which the idol will cover from the makeshift temple to the new site near Manas Bhawan, will undergo purification (shuddhikaran).
The development comes ahead of Ram Navami, which marks the birth of Lord Ram, and which falls on 2 April.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) has already curtailed the Sri Ram Mahotsav celebrations. A sant from Ayodhya also said that due to the epidemic, a decision on a bhoomi pujan will be taken in a meeting of the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust on 4 April.
“Keeping the coronavirus scare in mind, we will decide on whether the bhoomi pujan for the Ram Mandir will take place or not in the meeting,” the sant said.