THE UTTAR Pradesh Information Department on Tuesday put out a detailed itinerary for the bhoomi pujan ceremony for the Ram temple at Ayodhya, starting with prayers being offered to Lord Ganesha at 12.30 pm by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This will be followed by worship of the main shila made of silver, the worship of the land on which the temple will be built, and prayers to other eight smaller shilas, including the koormshila or shila of a turtle. The last will be right under where the idol of Ram Lalla will be kept at the temple. Between “exactly” 12.44 pm and 12.45 pm, a lotus flower made of “five elements” and decorated with nine stones will be kept on the koormshila — marking the “pratishthapayami (installation)”.
Modi is scheduled to arrive at Lucknow airport at 10.35 am and fly down to the Saket Degree College helipad in Ayodhya at 11.30 am. His first stop will be the Hanuman Garhi temple where, after a seven-odd-minute stay, he will reach Ram Janmabhoomi area by noon and offer prayers at the makeshift Ram Lalla temple.
He will then move on for the bhoomi pujan. After the event, he would address the gathering before leaving for the helipad. Ayodhya DIG Deepak Kumar said the city was under tight security and protocols both of SPG security and Covid pandemic will be followed. All roads leading to Ayodhya are blocked, with entry allowed only after proper checking.
On Tuesday, prayers were offered to the nishan (flag) of Lord Hanuman, revered as the protector of the city. Prakash Sharma, former national convener of the Bajrang Dal and one of the organisers, said prayers were also offered at Ram Lalla. Starting Tuesday, all local temples started a continuous Akhand Ramayan recitation with temples and homes being lit as in Diwali. The same will continue August 5 night.
On Monday, Champat Rai, the general secretary of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust set up to build and run the temple, said 175 people would attend the bhoomi pujan, including 135 saints.
Among the invitees are BJP, RSS and VHP leaders, Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and Trust president Mahant Nritya Gopal Das. The PM, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, Patel, Adityanath and Das will be the only ones on the main dais.
Rai said due to the coronavirus pandemic, they had to restrict both the invitee list as well as not allow anyone above 90 years of age. “It might cause pain to some and we have personally called them and asked for forgiveness. We have also given attention to the age factor. How can someone more than 90 years of age come? How can K Parasaranji (the advocate who fought the Ayodhya case for the Hindu side) come from Chennai? How can Advaniji come?”
Rai said soil from more than 1,500 holy places and water from more than 2,000 such sites, including rivers, has reached Ayodhya. These places, according to the Trust, include Haldighati and Chittor Fort (linked to Maharana Pratap), Golden Temple in Amritsar, Vaishno Devi in Jammu, the Satti Chaura ghat in Kanpur and the fort of Nana Saheb nearby (both sites of the 1857 mutiny), Ravidas Temple in Varanasi and all the ‘Jyotirlings’.
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