The foundation stone ceremony of Ram temple in Ayodhya is likely to be held on the occasion of Ram Navami (April 2). Though a final decision on the issue will be taken at the meeting of the proposed Trust, religious leaders of Ayodhya are of the view that the foundation stone should be laid on Ram Navami.
Several prominent Hindu seers, including chairman of Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, said that Ram Navami is an auspicious day for beginning of the temple’s construction work.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) said that the construction could be started any day between March 25 (when Vikram Samvat starts) and April 8 (Hanuman Jayanti). The start of Vikram Samvat (Hindu new year) also marks the beginning of Navratri. The VHP plans to celebrate ‘Shri Ram Mahotsav’ during that period.
As per the deadline, the process for setting up of the proposed Trust has to be done by February 9, as per the Supreme Court verdict of November 9 last year. Sources said the Centre may issue a notification for setting up of the Trust to take up Ram temple construction before the due date. The VHP had convened a meeting of Kendriya Margdarshak Mandal at Prayagraj on January 20 and it was attended by the Sant Samaj. The meeting deliberated on the various aspects related to temple construction in the wake of the Supreme Court verdict.
“Though we organise ‘Shri Ram Mahotsav’ every year, we are going to do it in a big way this time. We have called upon people to light lamps at their homes in the evening during this period,” VHP spokesperson in Ayodhya Sharad Sharma said.
“During this period, we plan to reach out to 2.75 lakh villages across the country from where consecrated ‘Shri Ram Shilas’ (bricks) were sent to Ayodhya in 1989. We also plan to identify ‘Ram bhakts’ who took part in the Ram temple movement, and honour them. We would like them to be associated with the construction work,” he said.
As per plan, the VHP will ask the ‘Ram bhakts’ from each district to reach Ayodhya in groups and assist in the construction work. Besides, those living in different parts of the world will also be involved. The VHP has made it clear that it will not seek donations from anyone for the temple construction work.
“However, the proposed Trust may take donations for the purpose. We have made our stand clear that no government fund should be taken by the Trust. Also, there should not be any representation from political parties in it,” Sharma said.
Sources said the proposed Trust may seek public donations starting from Rs 11 per family to fund the project.