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May 22, 2024

Grand Opening of Ram Temple in Ayodhya by PM Modi

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Jan 21, 2024

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the grand Ram Temple in Ayodhya today in a historic ceremony attended by over 200,000 people. The opening of the temple marks the culmination of a decades-long campaign by Hindu nationalist groups to build a temple on the site of a 16th century mosque demolished by Hindu crowds in 1992.

Lead Up to the Temple Opening

The Ram temple has been at the center of the communal tensions between Hindus and Muslims in India for over a century. The Babri Masjid mosque was built on the site in Ayodhya in 1528 under the orders of the first Mughal emperor Babur.

Hindus believe the site is the birthplace of the Hindu deity Lord Ram and that a temple once stood there before the mosque was built. The two religious groups have fought over ownership of the land for over 100 years through legal battles and protests.

In 1992, Hindu nationalist groups organized a rally that ended with the destruction of the Babri Masjid by over 100,000 Hindu activists. The demolition sparked communal riots across India that killed over 2,000 people.

Timeline of Key Events

Year Event
2010 Allahabad High Court ruled that the site should be divided – 2/3 for Hindus, 1/3 for Muslims
2019 Supreme Court awarded entire site to Hindus based on balance of probabilities favoring Hindu claims
2020 Ram temple trust formed by government to oversee construction
2024 Construction completed and temple opened

The Supreme Court decision in 2019 that the entire site belongs to Hindus paved the way for accelerated construction of the temple.

Temple Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremony today was attended by Prime Minister Modi along with senior leaders of the ruling BJP party and leaders of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Hindu groups that spearheaded the temple movement.

PM Modi performed special prayers and rituals alongside the chief priest to consecrate the main deity statutes installed in the temple’s inner sanctum. The ceremonies concluded with PM Modi declaring the temple formally open by unveiling a plaque and lighting a lamp.

In his address, PM Modi said the opening of the temple “marks the end of an exile” for Lord Ram. He said a “new golden chapter” is beginning for India and highlighted that the temple conveys a message of unity that will inspire future generations.

Temple Architecture and Features

The temple has been built in traditional Hindu “Nagara” style of architecture using carved pink sandstone and white marble. It features numerous pillars, domes and arches across three stories and spreads over 5 acres.

Key features include:

  • 50 feet tall main deity idol of Lord Ram
  • 5 main “mandapas” (prayer halls)
  • Capacity for 10,000 worshippers
  • Modern amenities like escalators and fire safety systems

The temple trustees have emphasized sustainable features like rainwater harvesting and solar power and aim to apply for zero-carbon emissions certifications.

Community Reactions

The extravagant opening ceremony and PM Modi’s high profile role have attracted some criticism as an excessive display of Hindu nationalism. However, the general mood in Ayodhya and across India is largely celebratory.

Hindus see the opening as historic redressal for the destruction of a temple on the site centuries ago. Groups of pilgrims have been streaming into Ayodhya from across India over the past week and shops are filled with commemorative memorabilia like coins, keychains and photos of Lord Ram.

Muslims have had a more muted response, wary of the growing influence of Hindu nationalism under PM Modi. While appealing for peace, Muslim leaders have expressed disappointment at the Supreme Court decision and the contrast with lack of progress on rebuilding demolished mosques like the Babri Masjid.

What Comes Next

With elections coming up next year, PM Modi is likely to continue tapping into Hindu nationalist sentiment around the temple. He may announce additional facilities and development projects in Ayodhya to consolidate the BJP’s standing with its Hindu support base.

However, some economists have warned that excessive focus on religion risks exacerbating tensions with minorities and distracting from economic reforms needed to sustain India’s growth trajectory. It remains to be seen whether PM Modi will achieve the lofty vision of unity he evoked in his speech or simply preside over further division along religious lines.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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