Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 5 will lay the foundation stone of the Ram Temple that will be built in Ayodhya, sources said on Wednesday (July 22).
Inorder to ensure social distancing at the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Tirtha Kshetra (SRJTK) said there will not be more than 200 people in total, including 150 invitees for the foundation stone-laying ceremony.
The SRJTK is a trust set up by the Centre to oversee the construction of the temple in Ayodhya.
“We have decided that there will not be more than 200 people including 150 invitees at the event,” Hindustan Times quoted Swami Govind Dev Giri, Treasurer of the SRJTK as saying in Pune.
According to Hindustan Times, Mahant Kamal Nayan Das, heir to Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, Chairman of Sri Ram Janmabhoomi Tirath Kshetra Trust had earlier said on Sunday (July 19), “Timings for the foundation stone laying ceremony for the Prime Minister has been decided according to the Hindu calendar and the most auspicious time (12.15 pm) on August 5, has been selected accordingly.”
Meanwhile, preparations are being planned in an elaborate manner for the three-day Vedic rituals at the Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya. The rituals will begin on August 3 and end with a ‘bhumi pujan’ on August 5 before the construction of the temple commences.
A group of 11 priests from Varanasi and Ayodhya will perform the three-day rituals. Priests from Varanasi, which is the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Modi, are expected to hold a prominent role in the rituals.
The ‘bhumi pujan’ rituals will begin with a special puja for Lord Ganesha, in line with the usual Hindu rituals. The priests will perform the ‘Ramacharya Puja’ the following day. On August 5, the last day for rituals, another ‘bhumi pujan’ will be performed, which will be attended by Modi.
The Prime Minister will offer prayers to Lord Ram at the temple and Lord Hanuman at Hanuman Garhi Temple in Ayodhya before laying the foundation stone for the temple’s construction.
Ram Mandir trust spokesperson Nritya Gopal Das said five silver bricks will be placed inside the sanctum sanctorum during the ceremony. The bricks are believed to symbolise five planets as per the Hindu mythology, he said, adding that the design and the architecture of the temple is the same as the one proposed.
The Prime Minister is expected to stay at the temple town for two hours.
All chief ministers from different states will be invited to the programme, Swami Govind Dev Giri said.
According to trust sources, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, Maharashtra Chief Minister Udhav Thackeray, and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar are also on the list of invitees.
Former deputy prime minister L K Advani and other frontline leaders of the Ram Janmabhoomi agitation will also be invited to the ‘bhumi pujan’, according to a Ram Mandir trust member.
Kameshwar Chaupal, a member of the SRJTK, said they will invite former deputy L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, and Vinay Katiyar.
Currently, the BJP leaders are facing a trial in the Babri Masjid demolition case.
The trust has kept it in mind that former deputy prime minister Lal Krishna Advani, along with other leaders, took the Ram Mandir movement to the masses, Chaupal said, adding that the list of invitees is being finalised.
On the other hand, Santosh Dubey, an accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case, said the present generation of BJP leaders was not active in the Ram Mandir movement, which mobilised the Hindu masses to vote for the party. But the senior leaders who started the Ram Mandir movement and mobilised the community are now in political exile, Dubey said.
The Supreme Court in November last year ruled in favour of the construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site where the Babri Masjid once stood.
The Babri Masjid was demolished in December 1992 by “kar sevaks” who claimed that the mosque in Ayodhya was built on the site of an ancient Ram temple.