Ayodhya prepares for Ram Mandir Pran Pratishtha amid tight security

Ayodhya Ram Mandir

Ayodhya: The Pran Pratishtha of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya is a historic and auspicious event for millions of Hindus across the world. The Ram Mandir is a temple dedicated to Lord Ram, the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu and the hero of the epic Ramayana. The temple is being built at the site where Hindus believe Lord Ram was born and where a 16th-century mosque, known as the Babri Masjid, once stood. The mosque was demolished by Hindu activists in 1992, sparking communal riots and a long legal battle. In 2019, the Supreme Court of India ruled in favor of the Hindus and paved the way for the construction of the Ram Mandir.

The Pran Pratishtha of the Ram Mandir is expected to be completed by 2024, but the first phase of the ritual began on January 16, 2024, and will last till January 23, 2024. The ritual involves the installation of the idols of Lord Ram, Sita, Lakshman, and Hanuman in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. The idols are made of marble and were carved by artisans in Rajasthan. The ritual also involves the chanting of Vedic hymns, the performance of yajnas (fire sacrifices), and the offering of prasad (sacred food) to the deities and the devotees.

Who are the guests and dignitaries attending the ritual?

The Pran Pratishtha of the Ram Mandir is a grand and elaborate affair that has attracted the attention and participation of many prominent personalities from various fields. The most notable guest is Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will visit Ayodhya on January 22, 2024, to attend the ritual and offer prayers to the idols. He will also address the gathering and inaugurate a museum and a cultural center at the temple complex. The Prime Minister is expected to stay in Ayodhya for four hours, during which he will also meet the chief priest and the trustees of the temple.

Other guests and dignitaries who have been invited for the Pran Pratishtha include President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and several other ministers, MPs, and MLAs. Apart from the political leaders, Pran Pratishtha will also witness the presence of about 8,000 celebrities from various fields, such as Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan, industrialists Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, and spiritual leaders like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Sadhguru. The guests will be given special passes to enter the temple premises and will be provided with accommodation and transportation facilities by the temple authorities.

How is Ayodhya coping with the security and logistical challenges?

The Pran Pratishtha of the Ram Mandir is not only a religious and cultural event but also a security and logistical challenge for the authorities and the administration. The event has drawn a large number of saints, devotees, and tourists from different parts of the country and the world, who have flocked to Ayodhya to witness the historic occasion. The authorities have taken several measures to ensure the safety and smooth conduct of the event, as well as to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The borders of Ayodhya were sealed from 8 pm on January 20, 2024, and will remain so till January 23, 2024. Only the guests and the residents of Ayodhya will be allowed to enter the city by showing their passes and identity cards. The entry of outsiders and vehicles has been banned in the city and the local people have been appealed not to go out. The routes to the temple have been diverted and barricaded to regulate the traffic and the crowd. The authorities have also set up checkposts, metal detectors, CCTV cameras, and sniffer dogs at various points in the city.

The security arrangements in Ayodhya are unprecedented and involve more than 20,000 officers and personnel from central and state security and police agencies. Multiple agencies, such as the Special Protection Group (SPG), the National Security Guard (NSG), the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) para commandos, the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), and the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) are involved in the security operations. The authorities have also installed an anti-drone system to counter aerial threats during the event. The security forces have been deployed at every entry point, nook corner, and rooftop in the city, especially at the main venue of the temple.

The authorities have also taken steps to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed more than 4 lakh lives in India so far. The guests and the devotees have been asked to follow the COVID-19 protocols, such as wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, and using sanitizers. The authorities have also arranged for thermal screening, rapid antigen testing, and isolation facilities for the visitors. The temple premises have been sanitized and disinfected regularly. The authorities have also urged the people to avoid large gatherings and to watch the event online or on television.

What is Pran Pratishtha and why is it important?

Pran Pratishtha is a Hindu ritual that involves the installation and consecration of an idol or a murti in a temple. It is believed that the ritual infuses life and divine energy into the idol, making it an embodiment of the deity. Pran Pratishtha is usually performed by priests and involves various ceremonies, rituals, and offerings.