Ayodhya: Nepal’s Janaki temple priest Ram Tapeshwar Das won’t be able to attend the bhoomi pujan (ground-breaking ceremony) of the Ram temple in Ayodhya as he was stopped at Matihani on the Nepal-India border Monday evening, VHP officials told ThePrint.
There was no official confirmation, however, on why Das was stopped at the border.
“He will not be able to attend bhoomi pujan programme now. He was not allowed to cross the border due to coronavirus,” said a senior VHP functionary who didn’t wish to be named.
On Monday, the Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust general secretary Champat Rai had said an invitation was being sent to the mahant of the Janaki temple in Janakpur, Nepal, for the ceremony in Ayodhya Wednesday.
The Nepal factor
The invitation to the Janaki temple mahant assumed significance since Nepalese Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli stoked a controversy last month by claiming that the real birthplace of Lord Ram was not Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, but Thori, west of Birgunj, in Nepal.
The Nepalese foreign ministry was forced to issue a clarification on Oli’s statement, saying there was “no intention at all to hurt the feeling and sentiment of anyone”.
The Janaki Temple is dedicated to Lord Ram’s wife, Sita, who is said to have hailed from that region and is also called Janaki in a derivative of her father Janak’s name.
“Saints from Nepal will also attend the event. Janakpur has a special relationship with Bihar, UP and Ayodhya. The mahant of the Janaki temple will come,” Champat Rai had said at a press conference Monday.
A total 135 saints representing 36 different spiritual traditions have been invited for the ceremony in Ayodhya Wednesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also set to attend the event, along with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath among others.