Ayodhya Ram Mandir: India PM Modi Inaugurates Hindu Temple On Razed Babri Mosque Site

India’s PM Narendra Modi has inaugurated a grand temple to Hindu god Ram in the flashpoint city of Ayodhya.

The temple replaces a 16th-Century mosque razed by Hindu mobs in 1992. The demolition had sparked nationwide riots in which nearly 2,000 people died.

Thousands of invited guests, including top film stars and cricketers, attended the event in Ayodhya.

But some Hindu seers and most of the opposition boycotted it, saying Mr Modi was using it for political gains.

General elections are due in India in the next few months and Mr Modi’s political rivals say the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will be seeking votes in the temple’s name in a country where 80% of the population is Hindu.

Critics have also accused the government of going overboard with what is essentially a religious celebration in a country which – according to its constitution – is secular.

The temple has been constructed at a cost of $217m (£170m) – the temple trust says it’s been funded from private donations.

PM Modi performs rituals in the temple in Ayodhya

The ceremony, which was televised live, showed Mr Modi performing religious rituals inside the temple’s sanctum along with priests and Mohan Bhagwat, head of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – the ideological fountainhead of Hindu nationalist parties. Only the ground floor of the temple was opened – the rest of the structure is expected to be completed only by the end of the year.

The ceremony, called Pran Pratishtha, which loosely translates from Sanskrit into “establishment of life force”, lasted about an hour. Hindus believe that chanting of mantras and a set of rituals performed around a fire will infuse sacred life in an idol or a photograph of a deity.

The temple fulfils a decades-long Hindu nationalist pledge to build a shrine to Lord Ram in Ayodhya – the flashpoint city is getting a major makeover to transform it into a destination for pilgrims and tourists from across the world.

Many Hindus believe that Ayodhya is the birthplace of Ram and the Babri mosque was built by Muslim invaders on the ruins of a Ram temple at the exact spot where the Hindu god was born. The movement to build a temple at the same site was a major factor that propelled the BJP into political prominence in the 1990s.

A protracted legal battle about the ownership of the land followed the mosque’s demolition. It was resolved in 2019 when the Supreme Court gave the disputed land to the Hindus. Muslims were given a plot outside the city to build a mosque.




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