The long-awaited Ram Mandir consecration ceremony was held today, January 22nd 2024 in Ayodhya, marking a historic and emotional moment for Hindus across India. The event saw the coming together of celebrities, politicians, religious leaders and devotees to celebrate the occasion.
PM Modi and Prominent Figures In Attendance
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the most anticipated attendee at the event. His arrival sparked cheers from the gathered crowd as he took to the stage to address the gathering.
Other prominent figures in attendance included:
- Amitabh Bachchan and son Abhishek Bachchan
- Chiranjeevi and son Ram Charan
- Sachin Tendulkar
- Lata Mangeshkar (via video conference)
- Top cricketers such as Virender Sehwag and Venkatesh Prasad
- Bollywood stars Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor, Vicky Kaushal and Katrina Kaif
RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat and senior BJP leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi were also present along with major religious figures. The VIP attendance reflected the significance of this long-awaited moment.
Emotional Scenes as First Prayers Held
The atmosphere was emotional and excitement palpable as the first prayers were held in the sanctum sanctorum of the Ram Mandir by chief priest Acharya Satyendra Das. Chants of “Jai Shree Ram” resonated through the gathering.
PM Modi was visibly emotional during the ceremonies, as were other attendees like actor Rajinikanth. For many Hindus, this day carried enormous symbolic weight after decades of campaigning to build a temple on the site believed to be Lord Ram’s birthplace.
Celebrities Turn Up in Traditional Attire
The celebrities in attendance embraced the traditional mood, turning up in ethnic Indian wear.
Alia Bhatt made headlines with her yellow saree adorned with prints depicting scenes from the Ramayana epic. Husband Ranbir Kapoor complemented her look in a matching yellow kurta.
Others like Vicky Kaushal and Katrina Kaif color coordinated their outfits, while the Bachchans and Rajinikanth also wore traditional Indian attire. Their clothing choices added to the cultural significance of the event.
Clockwise from top left: Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Ram Charan and Chiranjeevi
Tight Security in Place
With so many high-profile figures in attendance, security was expectedly tight in Ayodhya. Initial reports stated that some celebrities were even asked to provide documentation and invites before entering the area.
Over 5000 security personnel were stationed in Ayodhya including police units, Rapid Action Forces and the National Security Guard. Section 144 had also been imposed, banning public gatherings. Commandos and sniffer dogs were also on patrol.
The strict security ensured the historic event went off smoothly with no untoward incidents. Attendees praised the excellent arrangements.
Modi and Bachchan Share a Light Moment
Amidst the heavy security and formal ceremonies, there was also room for some lighthearted moments.
As PM Modi went down the line greeting attendees, he had an exchange with Amitabh Bachchan who sported a bandaged right hand. When Modi enquired about his injury, Bachchan quipped, “Woicket khelne chala tha, chot lag gayi” (Went to play cricket and got injured). His son Abhishek was also present during the interaction.
Bachchan’s trademark wit drew smiles during an otherwise solemn ceremony. Modi also greeted other celebrities warmly as a gesture of gratitude for their attendance.
Celebrities Arrive Together in Shared Vehicles
While most celebrities brought their own transport, a few arrived together in shared vehicles perhaps symbolic of the theme of communal harmony.
Social media exploded with amused reactions upon seeing ex-couple Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif sharing an e-rickshaw ride into the city. Their current partners Alia Bhatt and Vicky Kaushal sat alongside them.
Fans online had fun with lighthearted jokes about this encounter, relieved to see old flames Ranbir and Katrina maintaining civility despite crossing paths with their new partners. Some even quipped it reflected the “family atmosphere” between current and former couples.
All in all it was a good-natured moment that briefly distracted from the formalities of the main event.
Strong Social Media Buzz and Viewership
As expected for an event of this magnitude, social media was abuzz with anticipation in the lead up as well as during and after the ceremonies.
The hashtags #RamMandir and #RamMandirAyodhya trended heavily on platforms like Twitter and Facebook right from morning as devotees awaited proceedings.
Celebrity selfies and photos from the event also went viral instantly. Live streams of the event saw record viewership numbers across news channels and YouTube with estimates of over 10 million watching online.
The widespread social media visibility demonstrated the deep public significance of this landmark day.
Cricketers Sachin, Kumble Share Messages
Among the sports personalities attending was cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar who later shared his perspective on the event:
The dream of entire India has been fulfilled. This is a historic day for all of us. We have been seeing and reading about this for many years and I feel extremely happy. I consider myself very lucky to be witnessing this.
Former Indian cricketer and coach Anil Kumble also tweeted:
The sun that rose this morning is not just any other morning. Today history was made in Ayodhya. Jai Shree Ram.
Their messages highlighted the cultural importance of the Ram Mandir extending beyond just the Hindu religion, into almost legendary status as a symbol of India.
What Happens Next for the Ram Mandir?
With construction now complete and the first rituals concluded, devotees will soon be allowed into the sanctum for worship once arrangements are complete.
The current timings for public visitation are still being worked out. However officials have stated online registration may be required initially to control crowds when entry for devotees opens, possibly within the next 2-3 months.
Later on, further consecration ceremonies will also be conducted every year around this time on the festival day of Makar Sankranti which carries religious significance in the Hindu calendar.
So while January 22, 2024 marked the official handover, the celebrations are only beginning for this sacred site. Its legacy will continue captivating future generations as devotees flock for blessings from Lord Ram.
The story of Ram Mandir now enters an exciting new chapter.
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