Ayodhya Ram Mandir is a sacred Hindu temple located in the city of Ayodhya, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India. It is dedicated to Lord Rama and is being built at the exact site where Lord Ram was born. After a long-standing dispute, the Indian Supreme Court finally granted permission to construct the temple in November 2019.
Ayodhya Nagari in Ramayana
King Dasharatha, the king of Ayodhya, was a wise king who ruled his kingdom with great care and devotion. He was a descendant of the Ikshvaku dynasty and was considered one of the most illustrious kings of his time. He was known for his love and devotion toward his sons and was often described as a doting father.
Dasharatha was also known for his martial prowess and his ability to lead his army into battle. He was a skilled archer and was renowned for his bravery and valor. Dasharatha was also a great patron of the arts and was known for his love of music, dance, and poetry.
In Balkanda, it is clearly mentioned that King Dasharatha’s wife Queen Kausalya gave birth to Lord Rama.
tatō yajñē samāptē tu ṛtūnāṅ ṣaṭsamatyayu:.
tataśca dvādaśē māsē caitrē nāvamikē tithau৷৷1.18.8৷৷
nakṣatrē.ditidaivatyē svōccasaṅsthēṣu pañcasu.
grahēṣu karkaṭē lagnē vākpatāvindunā saha৷৷1.18.9৷৷
prōdyamānē jagannāthaṅ sarvalōkanamaskṛtam.
viṣṇōrardhaṅ mahābhāgaṅ putramaikṣvākuvardhanam.Bala Kanda, Valmiki Ramayana
It states that the birth occurred on the ninth day of the bright fortnight of the twelfth month of Chaitra. Aditi, a Hindu goddess, was the presiding deity during the birth, and the star Punarvasu was in the ascendant. At the time of birth, the five planets, Sun, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus, were exalted in their own houses in Karkata Lagna. Brihaspati, the planet Jupiter, was in conjunction with the Moon.
The sloka describes Lord Rama as a facet of Vishnu, the Lord of the entire universe. It states that he was adorned with all auspicious signs and received obeisance from all over the world. Lord Rama is also described as the venerable one who would perpetuate the Ikshvaku race. The Ikshvaku dynasty was believed to be the ruling dynasty of ancient India, and Lord Rama was considered one of its most important kings.
Later when Lord Rama defeated Ravana, he came back to Ayodhya and ruled the Ayodhya Kingdom. Lord Rama’s rule, also known as “Ram Rajya,” is often idealized in Hindu culture as a model of a just and prosperous kingdom. Lord Rama’s rule was marked by peace, prosperity, and a focus on the well-being of his subjects.
The Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid Dispute
The temple’s significance dates back to the 16th century when the first Mughal emperor, Babur, built a mosque known as the Babri Masjid at the site. The mosque remained there for several centuries until the early 1990s when a political movement was launched to demolish it and construct a temple dedicated to Lord Ram.
The Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute refers to the longstanding conflict between Hindus and Muslims over the ownership of the land on which the Babri Masjid was built. Hindus believe that the mosque was constructed at the birthplace of Lord Ram, whereas Muslims claim that the mosque was built by Babur after demolishing a pre-existing temple.
In the 16th century, the Mughals constructed a mosque, the Babri Masjid, at the disputed site. This led to a long-standing dispute between Hindus and Muslims, with both communities claiming the land as their own.
The conflict came to a head in the 1980s when the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), belonging to the Hindu nationalist family Sangh Parivar, launched a new movement to reclaim the site for Hindus and to erect a temple dedicated to the infant Rama (Ram Lalla) at this spot.
In November 1989, the VHP laid the foundations of a temple on land adjacent to the disputed mosque. On 6 December 1992, the VHP and the Bharatiya Janata Party organized a rally at the site involving 150,000 volunteers, known as Kar Sevaks. The rally turned violent, and the crowd overwhelmed the security forces and tore down the mosque.
The demolition resulted in several months of intercommunal rioting between India’s Hindu and Muslim communities, causing the death of at least 2,000 people, and triggering riots all over the Indian subcontinent. The aftermath of the demolition was not limited to India alone. Over 30 Hindu temples across Pakistan were attacked, some set on fire, and one demolished. Hindu temples in Bangladesh were also attacked. (Source)
On 5 July 2005, five terrorists attacked the makeshift Ram temple at the site of the destroyed Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, India. All five were shot dead in the ensuing gunfight with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), while one civilian died in the grenade attack that the attackers launched to breach the cordoned wall. The CRPF suffered three casualties, two of whom were seriously injured with multiple gunshot wounds.
Despite the conflict, archaeological excavations conducted by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in 1978 and 2003 found evidence indicating that Hindu temple remains had existed on the site. However, this evidence was disputed by some historians.
Over the years, various title and legal disputes also took place, such as the passage of the Acquisition of Certain Areas at Ayodhya Ordinance, 1993. It was only after the 2019 Supreme Court verdict on the Ayodhya dispute that it was decided the disputed land be handed over to a trust formed by the Indian government for the construction of a Ram temple. The trust was eventually formed under the name Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra. Five acres of land were allocated for the mosque 22 km away in the city of Dhannipur.
On 5 February 2020, it was announced in the Parliament that the Narendra Modi government had accepted a plan to construct the temple.
The Ayodhya Ram Mandir remains a controversial issue that has divided people and communities for decades. It is a stark reminder of the deep-rooted religious and political conflicts that continue to plague India. Nevertheless, the construction of the temple has been seen as a significant step towards bridging the divide between the two communities and promoting religious harmony in the country.
Architecture and Construction
The Ram Mandir will be built in a unique architectural style, blending elements of traditional Hindu temple design with modern construction techniques. The temple will be approximately 161 feet tall and will be constructed using pink sandstone, a popular building material in India. The design of the temple is inspired by the ancient Vedic and Hindu architectural traditions of India. The main structure of the temple will be built on a raised platform, with multiple domes and Shikharas (spires) adorning the top.
Inside the temple, there will be three main sanctums, or Garbha Grihas, dedicated to Lord Rama, Goddess Sita, and Lord Hanuman. The deities will be adorned with precious stones, jewels, and intricate carvings. The temple will also have a grand central hall, known as the mandap, which will have beautiful paintings and carvings depicting the life of Lord Rama.
Interior of Ram Mandir
Ayodhya Ram Mandir, designed by chief architect Chandrakant Bhai Sompura, is set to be an architectural marvel with impressive specifications. It will be 360 ft long, 235 feet wide, and 161 ft high – three times the height of the existing structure in the old city. The temple is being built in the Nagara style, with a Gopuram-style entrance on the east, and artworks depicting the life of Lord Ram on the walls. The sanctorum will be octagonal-shaped, with five domes and one tower. Two idols of Lord Ram will be installed, and a 2,100-kg bell will be brought from Etah. (Source)
Bhoom Poojan ceremony
One of the most significant events in the construction of the Ram Mandir was the Bhoomi Poojan ceremony that took place on August 5, 2020. The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who laid the foundation stone for the temple. The ceremony was a grand affair, and people across India celebrated the occasion with great enthusiasm.
The construction of the Ram Mandir is currently underway, and it is expected to be completed in the next few years. The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra trust, which is overseeing the construction, has stated that the temple will be built using the latest construction techniques and will be earthquake-resistant.
Ram Mandir is not just a religious project, but it is also a symbol of India’s unity in diversity. The construction of the temple has brought people from different walks of life together, and it has become a symbol of hope and unity for the entire country.
With the plans of opening the temple by December 2023 or January 2024, the temple will have a life span of 1000 years at least. The opening of the Ram temple in Ayodhya on this Ram Navami is uncertain, as the construction committee chairman, Nripendra Misra, stated that a study of crowd flow and patterns of movement during the festival will be conducted to plan for future mechanisms. (Source)
Misra also mentioned the importance of following traditional forms of visiting Ayodhya and suggested that RITES should consider these factors before suggesting an approach. He believes Ayodhya’s character will change after 2024 and the city needs proper planning to accommodate tourists while noting that there are still very few places to stay and devotees will have different expectations.
But be prepared, the upcoming Ram Navami celebrations will witness the grand celebration, a momentous occasion for devotees and supporters. The nine-day “Mahotsav” will feature cultural events and performances by 200 artists, marking a new era for the city of Ayodhya from March 22 to March 31.
The Ayodhya Ram Mandir holds immense significance for Hindus across the world, who believe that it is the birthplace of Lord Ram. The temple’s construction has been a long-standing demand of the Hindu community, and the Indian Supreme Court’s verdict has finally put an end to the decades-old dispute. The temple is expected to become a symbol of Hindu pride and unity, and it is set to attract millions of devotees from around the world.