NEW DELHI, Dec 16: The Ram Mandir in Ayodhya is getting ready for the Pran-Pratishtha ceremony on January 22, but the authorities have advised devotees not to visit the Uttar Pradesh town on that day to avoid overcrowding.
The authorities said the Ram Mandir was almost ready and the town was going through an infrastructure overhaul as lakhs of pilgrims were expected to visit Ayodhya to witness the idol of Lord Ram being placed in the sanctum sanctorum.
Champat Rai, the Ram Mandir Trust Secretary, who is also the international vice-president of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, said on Saturday that the ceremony would take place at 12 noon on January 22. The sanctum sanctorum was ready and so was the idol though it might take about another two years before the construction of the entire temple could be completed, he said.
“A lot of work (on the temple) still remains. Construction could go on for another two years,” Mr Rai, said.
People from various states have started making plans to visit Ayodhya for the opening, but Mr Rai had a different message for the pilgrims. To avoid overcrowding in the town, he urged people to celebrate ‘Anand Mahotsav’ on January 22 at their nearest temple instead of reaching Ayodhya. “Don’t come to Ayodhya on January 22. Assemble at the temple nearest to you, irrespective of whether it’s small or big. Go to the temple which is feasible for you, even if it belongs to a different god or goddess,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the inauguration of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya on January 22. Vedic rituals for the Pran-Pratishtha ceremony will begin on January 16, a week before the main ceremony. The main rituals at the consecration ceremony will be performed by Lakshmi Kant Dixit.
Several tent cities are being erected within Ayodhya to accommodate thousands of devotees expected to arrive in the temple town for the grand opening of the Ram Temple. Local authorities are also gearing up for the anticipated surge in visitors around the January 22 ceremony, implementing enhanced security measures, and making logistical arrangements for all attendees, official sources said.