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20 sec darshan time, opening in Jan: Ram Mandir panel chief reveals important details about the grand temple

The Chairman of the Temple Construction Committee, Nripendra Mishra, has announced that plans are in motion to install Ram Lalla, the deity, in the new Ram Temple in Ayodhya by the last week of January 2024. In an interview with TOI’s Rajiv Srivastava, Mishra, who is also the former principal secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, revealed that meticulous preparations are underway for both security and crowd management. A blueprint for security coverage of the entire area has been devised, and strategies for managing crowds of various sizes – from 50,000 to 10 lakh visitors – are also in place.

Mishra said that the first deadline for construction is set for December 2023, focusing on completing the ground floor where the installation of Ram Lalla will take place. The temple itself spans approximately three acres of land, with plans for expansion to eight acres upon completion of the ‘parkota’ (parikrama ground). Additionally, devotees are expected to occupy the surrounding areas, covering a total of 71 acres.

The temple trust is actively working toward the chosen date in January 2024 for the ‘pran pratishtha’ ceremony when Ram Lalla will be enshrined in the newly constructed temple. The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust has extended an invitation for this significant event to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is expected to confirm his participation.

Addressing the comprehensive security measures in place, Mishra emphasized that while the state government shoulders the responsibility for security, the Union Home Ministry is overseeing an overarching view of security, area coverage, and information intelligence. A security blueprint, as well as contingency plans for varying visitor numbers, has been also devised. He said devotees will get 20 seconds to do darshans inside the temple, while they woule be allowed to spend an hour inside the complex.

Mishra also highlighted into the technical aspects of construction, highlighting the involvement of renowned institutions such as IIT Kanpur and IIT Chennai. These institutions are contributing expertise to structural engineering, foundation work, and stability analysis with respect to potential natural challenges, especially earthquakes. Notably, traditional construction materials, including stone, have been employed extensively.

There was no steel or regular cement used. The temple is mostly made of stones. The Temple’s foundation is 12-meters deep, and the earth refill utilized in it transforms to stone in 28 days, according to him. “Each layer was tested for strength before proceeding to the next.” In this fashion, we laid 47 layers. “Based on what is being done here, we are now going to document a research literature,” Mishra added.Regarding Prime Minister Modi’s input, Mishra conveyed the active role the Prime Minister has played in the construction process. The Prime Minister’s guidance and expectations have set high standards for the construction team. Mishra recalled that Prime Minister Modi had emphasized the temple’s reflection of Lord Ram’s transformation during his 14-year exile, promoting social harmony and respect for all. As part of this vision, temples dedicated to figures like Maharishi Valmiki, Vishwamitra, and others are being constructed outside the ‘parkota’ and are expected to be completed by 2024.Mishra concluded by sharing plans for murals that will depict Ram Katha along the lower plinth of the temple and around the ‘parkota’. These visual narratives will convey the journey of Lord Ram’s transformation into the revered ‘Maryada Purushottam’.

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