Ayodhya all decked up for Ram temple opening, who’s who arrive

Ayodhya, Jan 21 (UNI) As the countdown begins for the Ram temple consecration ceremony on Monday, this holy city of Uttar Pradesh is all decked up with lights. Adding to the religious fervour, Hindu religious gurus have started arriving for the grand event.

Celebrities, cine stars and senior leaders of the ruling BJP have also been landing to make the occasion grander. Nearly 8,000 guests have been invited for the grand opening of the temple.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will grace the consecration ceremony and later perform rituals at the Ram temple. The campaign around the Ram temple has been building for weeks and is set to culminate into a spectacular event on January 22.

The central government has declared half-day closing of offices on January 22 on the occasion of Ram Lalla Pran Pratishtha (consecration ceremony). Many BJP-ruled states have also followed suit.

The temple event ahead of the Lok Sabha election is widely seen as BJP’s strategy to woo voters, especially in the Hindi heartland states. Main opposition Congress has dubbed the temple opening ceremony as a BJP-RSS event, with its senior leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Sonia Gandhi declining to attend the ceremony.

Many other opposition leaders have also decided to give the ceremony a miss stating they will visit the Ram temple after January 22 or once the temple construction is complete.

BJP on the other hand has launched a massive outreach programme to involve the general public with the grand ceremony. The saffron party had been in the forefront of the Ram temple movement.

Meanwhile, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in an article posted on the organisation’s website has said that the occasion of construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya marks the re-awakening of national pride.

“This also signifies the acceptance of the vision of life behind the character of Shri Ram by the modern Bharatiya society. Lord Shri Ram is to be worshiped in the temple with the rituals of ‘Patram Pushpam Phalam Toyam’ (leaves, flowers, fruits and water) and at the same time, by establishing the image of Shri Ram in our minds, in the light of the same inculcating the ideal conduct we have to worship Shri Ram,” he wrote.

Among the notable people who have arrived in Ayodhya are Bageshwar Dham’s Dhirendra Shastri, actor Rajinikanth and Art of Living’s Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

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