Mandir construction begins in Ayodhya

Heavy earthmoving machines rolled into the Ramjanmabhoomi premises in Ayodhya on Saturday afternoon, marking the beginning of construction of the Ram Mandir.

The chief priest of the makeshift temple, Acharya Satyendra Das, said, “Machines have begun levelling land and clearing bushes and heavy thickets… It’s a joyous moment for Hindus in India and abroad as we are now free from 500 years of slavery.”

The 67.7-acre compound also houses more than 12 ancient temples, including the Ram Janamsthan and the Sita Rasoi, which are in ruins. No rituals have been performed here since 1993, when land was acquired by the Centre. There’s still no word from the Ram Mandir Trust — it will lay out the blueprint of the Ram Mandir — on whether these temples would be renovated or annexed into the greater temple design. Dr Anil Mishra, a trustee, said, “The Trust will decide the fate of these structures and on restarting worship.”

Ram Lalla idols will be shifted 150 m from the sanctum sanctorium towards the north-east during nine days Ram Navami to make way for construction of the temple.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has also finalised moving carved and uncarved marble to the Ramjanambhoomi premises.

The shifting of stones will take place from the rear of Ayodhya town at night to avoid traffic snarls.

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