20,000 temples get fresh paint. Ram dhun reverberates as Ayodhya decks up for the big day

Ayodhya, around 135 km from Uttar Pradesh’s capital of Lucknow, is getting ready for the bhumi pujan or foundation laying ceremony for the Ram temple on August 5. A cleanliness and sanitisation drive is under way in Ayodhya ahead of the event.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to lay the foundation stone of the Ram temple in a grand ceremony, which will be attended by several dignitaries, on Wednesday.

The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra, the organiser of the event, is leaving nothing to chance. The temple town situated on the banks of Saryu river is being decked up for the ceremony.

All roads leading to Ram Janmabhoomi, the main venue for the bhumi pujan, are sparkling clean.

Every nook and corner of the town, including its lanes and by-lanes, are being spruced up with nearly 500 sanitation workers deployed round the clock. Graffiti and images depicting scenes from the Ramayan have come up on main streets of the town. Buildings on main streets across the temple town are being painted yellow.

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“Yellow is an auspicious colour. In Hindu tradition, yellow is used in all ceremonies. It symbolises purity and light,” said Mahant Kamal Nayan Das, successor-designate to Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, chairman of the trust.

The majestic Naya Ghat on the banks of the Saryu is shimmering in colourful lights.

The Hanuman Garhi temple, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to offer prayers, is being spruced up as well. The majestic 76 steps of Hanuman Garhi have been cleaned.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to offer prayers at Hanuman Garhi (on August 5). The entire temple is being spruced up,” said Raju Das, a priest at Hanuman Garhi.

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Around 3,000 sound systems are playing ‘Ram Dhun’ across Ayodhya. These sound systems will also play Vedic hymns during the bhumi pujan.

“Ram Dhun is being played all across Ayodhya to create a divine atmosphere,” added Rishikesh Upadhyay, mayor of Ayodhya.

This sound system will also be used by the Ayodhya administration to issue directives to the public in case of any emergency situation.

More than a lakh diyas (earthen lamps) will sparkle in Ayodhya for two days from August 4, a day before bhumi pujan. Around 20,000 temples across the pilgrim town have been given a new look for the ceremony. Vedic rituals will be performed in all temples on the bhumi pujan day. Earthen lamps will illuminate all temples.

“We have requested everyone to decorate their houses with rangoli, diyas (earthen lamps) and lights to mark bhumi pujan for construction of the Ram temple,” said Ved Prakash Gupta, BJP MLA from Ayodhya.

The Mani Ram Das Chhavni Peeth, where trust chairman Mahant Nritya Gopal Das resides, and Karsevakpuram, the nerve centre of the Ram temple movement in the 1990s, are buzzing with activity in Ayodhya ahead of the big day. Both these centres have been spruced up for the bhumi pujan.

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