A model of the grand Ram temple under construction in Ayodhya, moving down Rajpath as part of the Republic Day parade, raised many among the spectators, including ministers, on their feet out of sheer reverence this morning.
The Ayodhya tableau in the Republic Day parade provided snapshots of Deepotsav and various stories from the Ramayana. It sported a giant statue of sage Valmiki. This was a part of the Uttar Pradesh tableau where Deepotsav of Ayodhya was depicted with earthen lamps.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last August performed the foundation-laying ritual for the launch of construction of the temple after the Supreme Court in 2019 handed over the site claimed for decades by both Hindus and Muslims for a Ram temple and ordered that Muslims be given an alternative site for a mosque.
The Ram Temple is to be completed in 2023.
In the morning of 26 January, an afforestation drive and the hoisting of the national flag marked the start of the building of a mosque at the new site in Ayodhya.
“Ayodhya is our holy place and the Ram temple issue has been an emotive one for the faithful. Our tableau showcased the ancient heritage of the temple town, revered by countless people across the country,” Press Trust of India quoted an official of the Uttar Pradesh government as saying.
This Republic Day showcased tableaux from 17 states and union territories in the Republic Day celebrations but the show was severely subdued this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ayodhya’s Deepotsav celebrations, which made it to the Guinness Book of Records, was depicted on a side of the tableau with earthen lamps. Other murals showed embracing of the Nishad king by Sri Rama and eating of Shabri’s berry by him, salvation of Ahilya, bringing of Sanjeevani by Lord Hanuman, Jatayu-Rama dialogue, Ashok Vatika and other scenes.
On 9 November 2019, the Supreme Court had settled the fractious Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue, going back more than a century. It backed the construction of a Ram temple by a trust at the disputed site. It also ruled further that an alternative five-acre plot must be found for a mosque in the Hindu holy town.