Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday laid the foundation stone for a grand temple at the site believed to be the birthplace of Lord Ram in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya. The groundbreaking ceremony marks the formal launch of the temple’s construction promised by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party nearly three decades earlier.
PM Modi used silver bricks during the rituals. But for the foundation stone, bricks donated by devouts from across the world in 1989 would be used. “There are 275,000 such bricks out of which 100 bricks with ‘Jai Shri Ram’ engraving have been taken,” the priest said as the vedic rituals, which have continued for three days, were coming to an end.
Dressed in the traditional kurta and dhoti, PM Modi offered prayers at the Hanuman Garhi temple soon after landing in the riverside town of Ayodhya from Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow. Anil Mishra, member of Sri Ram Janmabhoomi Tirth Kshetra Trust, said this puja was performed to “seek Lord Hanuman’s permission to start construction work of Ram Mandir”.
PM Modi next headed straight to the temple for the ceremony. Security has been tight for the event, particularly in light of the coronavirus pandemic and the need to adhere to social distancing.
Only 175 guests have been invited. Among them are Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of the ruling BJP’s ideological fountainhead Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.