New Delhi: For a temple that is being touted as one of India’s biggest, and is expected to cost “several hundred crores”, the Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra, the trust set up by the Centre to oversee the construction of the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya, has currently just over Rs 15 crore in its corpus.
No official estimates for the Ram Mandir construction have been made public yet.
While about Rs 10 crore was transferred to the new trust from the erstwhile Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, which had been collecting donations since 1989 for the temple, the trust set up in February has collected over Rs 5 crore through donations so far, Swami Govind Dev Giri, the trust’s treasurer, told ThePrint.
“The trust has currently over Rs 15 crore in its account. Our fund collection drive was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic,” Giri said. “We will resume it after the bhoomi pujan ceremony on 5 August. There will be no dearth of funds for building Ram Mandir. Everybody will contribute for the cause.”
Asked about the estimate for building the temple, Giri said it has not been finalised as yet. “But the cost of building a temple of this scale will easily run into several hundred crores,” he said.
The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), which spearheaded the Ram Mandir movement, has planned a massive nationwide fund collection drive for the temple construction after the bhoomi pujan (ground-breaking) ceremony.
ThePrint had reported on 25 July that VHP volunteers have set a target of reaching 10 crore families in 5 lakh villages across India and appeal to people to contribute Rs 100 for temple construction.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be participating in the bhoomi pujan.
‘Ram Mandir will be one of the largest in India’
Ashish Sompura, son of Chandrakant Sompura, the architect who designed the Ram Mandir 30 years ago, told ThePrint that though the design of the temple will remain the same, it’s size has been expanded to accommodate more people.
“The height of the temple has now been increased from 141 feet to 161 feet while its carpet area has been increased from over 16,000 square feet to 28,000 square feet. It will be one of the largest temples in India built so far,” said Sompura, who along with his brother Nikhil is now overseeing the temple construction.
Sompura said though his father has restricted movement because of age, he has finalised the revised plan. Sompura had presented the revised plan before the trust members.
According to the revised plan, the Ram Mandir will have ground plus two floors. In the original plan, the temple was designed till the first floor. “While the ground and first floor will be open to the public, the second floor would be restricted to temple staff,” Sompura said.
The temple will be constructed with pink sandstone called ‘Bansi Paharpur’, which will be transported to Ayodhya from Bharatpur in Rajasthan, Sompura added.
Sompura, who has been invited for the bhoomi pujan ceremony and will reach Ayodhya on 4 August, said it is early to give an estimate for constructing the temple. “Lot of detailing needs to be done before an estimate is worked out,” he said. “Because of the pandemic, we could not spend too much time at the temple site. We will work out the details after the bhoomi pujan ceremony is over.”