Ayodhya’s Karsevakpuram: 50% carving work ‘completed’; number of artisans dwindle

As per the plan, the temple, once built, will be 268 ft long, 140 ft wide and 128 ft high, from the ground to the apex point (Shikhar) and a total of 212 pillars will be used

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Ayodhya: The pace of work at a Ram Janmabhomi Nyas-run workshop in Ayodhya’s Karsevakpuram has turned sluggish due to lack of funds and dwindling number of artisans and craftsmen, according to the in-charge of the workshop that has been running since 1990 to build a ‘temple’.

At the Karsevakpuram’s sprawling Karyashala, which also houses a wooden model of a ‘proposed Ram Temple’ in a glass encasement, many devotees stream in from various parts of India, some out of curiosity, other led by local tour guides.

Annu Bhai Sompura, in-charge of the workshop, points out to rows and rows of huge, ornately carved stones stacked up on the ground in the open in its premises, which he said are “ready-to-move blocks that can be easily assembled”.

“50% of carving work of stones has been completed, which means the first floor is ready. We are hopeful of getting a favourable judgement from the Supreme Court in the Ayodhya title suit, and once we get the green signal, the work on laying foundation would begin,” he said.

As per the plan, the temple, once built, will be 268 ft long, 140 ft wide and 128 ft high, from the ground to the apex point (Shikhar) and a total of 212 pillars will be used.

“Each floor would have 106 pillars, and each pillar would have 16 statues. So, artisans have completed carving work on these,” he said.

The work for prefabrication of a temple is currently being funded through “voluntary donations” from devotees, Sompura said, adding, “funds are not coming much now, as they were earlier.”

Asked, how many artisans are currently working at Karsewakpuram’s Karyashala, he said, “About two craftsmen and a couple of labourers.”

“Their numbers have come down, some of them have left for other work. They used to be about 150 in 1990,” the in-charge said.

Chorus has grown within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Sangh Parivar, seeking construction of a temple at the Ramjanmabhoomi through an ordinance.

At the workshop, some of the pink sandstones which were carved intricately in the early 90s have darkened over the decades but these will be cleaned up once the time comes for their use, Sompura said, as he points towards lintels, and columns and ceiling blocks, bearing beautiful floral motifs.

The workshop which operates from 7 AM to 5 PM, has turned into a museum of sorts for devotees and inquisitive people alike, and over 1,000 people visit the ‘karyashala’ every day, he said, adding, many make it their next stop after visiting the heavily-fortified Ramjanmabhoomi site.