This new year, 2024, will be significant as Ram Lalla will be seated in the sanctum sanctorum of the Ram temple in Ayodhya and the general elections will be held, and both will be ‘shubh‘ (propitious), Ram temple’s chief priest Acharya Satyendra Das said here on Monday.
Speaking to PTI at his residence in the Ramghat area of the city, the octogenarian praised the development work happening in Ayodhya.
“Not just peace, ‘Ram Rajya’ is coming. Ram Lalla will be seated in the sanctum sanctorum,” he said and quoted a couplet — “Ram Raj baithe trialoka, harshit bhai, gaye sab shoka“.
“Grief, pain, tension, will cease to exist and everyone will be happy,” he said.
‘Ram Rajya’ is a term used to refer to an ideal governance where everyone is happy.
“My greetings and blessings to all countrymen on New Year. Ram Lalla will be offered ‘Chhapan Bhog’, and ‘prasad’ will be offered,” he said, shortly before heading for the Ramjanmabhoomi temple site to perform the ‘aarti’.
As per the customs, ‘Bhog aarti’ is performed at noon. A ‘Chappan Bhog’ is offered to Ram Lalla on special occasions such as Holi, Ramnavmi, Basant Panchami, New Year, and Independence and Republic Day, his side said.
“So, the new year will be very good,” said the Ram temple’s chief priest.
The ‘Chhappan Bhog’ offered to Ram Lalla on Monday had come in a specially made box bearing a design that depicted Lord Ram and the upcoming temple, from a very old shop in Lucknow, his aide said, adding, it has been coming from the very same place for the last few years.
“This New Year is very significant, and it is significant because in this month on January 22, Ram Lalla will be seated in the sanctum sanctorum (of the under-construction temple)…and this will be very beneficial for the people of the country,” Acharya Das said.
Meanwhile in Ayodhya, organisers began distributing worshipped ‘akshat’ — rice grains mixed with turmeric and ghee — on New Year’s Day and this will continue up to January 15, a week before the consecration ceremony at the Ram temple.
Ayodhya rang in the New Year on December 31 night, amid chants of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ as many residents and others had gathered at the iconic Lata Mangeshkar Chowk near Naya Ghat.
A large number of people took holy dip in the Saryu river on the New Year while others visited the Ramjanmabhoomi temple to have a ‘darshan’ of Ram Lalla, as well as Hanumangarhi temple to seek blessings of Lord Hanuman.
Asked about the further construction of the Ram temple, this year, Das said, “A lot of work is to be done in 2024. One is that Ram Lalla will be seated in the sanctum sanctorum. And, Lok Sabha elections also will take place in this year, 2024, and all these will be ‘shubh’ (propitious) and good.” The consecration ceremony will take place few months ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the temple town on December 30 during which he held a roadshow, inaugurated the redeveloped Ayodhya railway station and the newly-bult airport, and laid foundation stone for a slew of other projects.
On August 5, 2020, he had performed the ‘bhoomipujan’ ceremony in Ayodhya for the upcoming temple.
Settling a fractious issue that goes back more than a century, the Supreme Court in a historic verdict in 2019 backed the construction of a Ram temple by a trust at the disputed site in Ayodhya, and ruled that an alternative five-acre plot must be found for a mosque in the Hindu holy town.
On December 6, 1992, a frenzied mob of kar sewaks gathered in the holy town from from different parts of the country, had demolished the mosque, triggering communal violence in many parts of the country.
While much has changed in Ayodhya since the landmark verdict, the Ram temple issue and the history of the dispute continues to weigh on minds of many people.
Asked if lasting peace will return to Ayodhya after the construction of the Ram temple, Das, the Ram temple’s chief priest, said, He also shared that many development projects have materialised in the temple town and more are in the offing.
“Development is happening in Ayodhya. Airport has come up, new railway station (building) got built, and Ram Path has been developed. Many such roads are proposed, and through these projects, Ayodhya will be seen in a grand form. People will come and have ‘darshan’. It is a very auspicious month (January) and it may bode well for everyone is my blessing,” he added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)