The idol of Lord Ram in Ayodhya, which has waited for close to 500 hundred years, will be returning to its rightful abode in January 2024, media reports say.
According to the reports, the construction of the new Ram Mandir will be completed by December 2023, and Lord Ram is expected to be seated in the Garbhagriha around the Makar Sankranthi festival in January 2024, months before the 2024 general elections.
Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, the body that is looking after the construction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, took the decision during a meeting held at the Faizabad Circuit House. As per sources, the construction of the sanctum sanctorum and one floor of the Ram Temple will be completed by December 2023. In the meeting, the Trust also decided to construct seven more temples within the temple premises. These smaller temples will be dedicated to various seers and rishis from the Ramayana such as Devi Shabri.
“The construction of the temple is expected to be completed by December 2023 and Lord Ram is expected to be seated in the sanctum sanctorum by the Makar Sankranti festival in January 2024,” general secretary of the trust, Champat Rai, said.
“The trust has also decided to make space for idols of prominent Hindu seers and the main characters from the Ramayana period in the temple complex,” Rai further added.
It is also reported that 40 per cent of the construction work has been completed so far, and the trust has estimated that the construction cost of the Ram Temple will be about Rs 1800 crore.
The date of installation is also in accordance with the announcement made by VHP earlier this year, when it said that the foundation stone of the sanctum sanctorum would be laid on June 1, and the deity would be installed in January 2024.
The temple is to be built in such a way that the first rays of Sun would fall on Ram idol.
It is worth noting that the construction of the Ram Temple began on 5 August 2020, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi laying the foundation stone.
Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra (SRJBTK), the authority in charge of Ram Mandir’s operations, is supervising the temple’s construction. Former IAS Nripendra Mishra is the chairman of the construction committee.
Larsen & Toubro is the main contractor for the construction of the temple and the ramparts, while Tata Consulting Engineers has been hired as the project management consultant, while four other engineers four engineers Jagdish Aphale (IIT- Mumbai), Girish Sahastrabhujani (IIT-Mumbai), Jagannathji (from Aurangabad), and Avinash Sangamnerkar (from Nagpur) are also working voluntarily on behalf of the Trust.
The entire project is projected to cost between 900 and 1,000 crores to build and will be spread over 110 acres of land. The temple complex will also include a museum, a research centre, and an archival centre. By December 2023, the temple’s lower floor, which will house the sanctum sanctorum and a Ram Lalla idol, would be ready for worship.
Meanwhile, Acharya Satyendra Das, the head priest of the Ram temple, had said that the temple was being constructed in such a way that the first rays of the Sun fell on the idol of Lord Ram.
“The devotees are expecting a huge and beautiful temple. The temple is being constructed in such a way that when there is a sunrise, the first rays should fall on Lord Ram,” he said in May 2022. “The sanctum sanctorum is being made of red stone. The Chief Minister will visit here to place that stone. The prayers will go on for nine days. The red stones are being installed to give people peace.”