The temple bells, produced in Namakkal, are intended for use in the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya, currently under construction by the Ram Janmabhoomi Tirtha Kshetra Foundation. As the final phase of the mandir’s construction progresses swiftly, these bells contribute to the spiritual and cultural significance of the upcoming consecration, scheduled for January 22, 2024. The bells were dispatched to Bengaluru after special poojas at the renowned Anjeneya temple on December 14.
A Bengaluru-based devotee, 69-year-old Rajendra Prasad, commissioned the manufacturing of 48 bells from Andal Moulding Works on Mohanur Road in Namakkal. The bells, weighing a total of 1,200 kg, include various sizes such as 5 bells of 120 kg each, 5 temple bells of 70 kg, 1 bell of 25 kg, and 36 handheld bells. Andal Moulding Works, a bell manufacturing unit with a legacy spanning seven generations, has garnered recognition for its craftsmanship.
Rajendran, the owner of the moulding unit, expressed deep pride in contributing to the construction of the Ram Mandir, considering it a great privilege and honour. He highlighted the meticulous effort of a dedicated team of 25 people, including himself, his son Kalidoss (aka Purushothama), and workers from his unit, who worked tirelessly day and night for a month to craft these bells. The bells, made with metals like copper, silver, and zinc, exclude iron. Rajendran shared his satisfaction that the Namakkal bells would resonate during the consecration ceremony and beyond.
Speaking to Organiser, Rajendran and his son Kalidas Purushothaman said the order to make the bells was placed by a 69-year-old Bangalore-based devotee. The order consists of 42 bells weighing a total of 1,200 kg. It included 12 big bells (6 bells of 130 kg each, 6 temple bells of 75 kg each) and 20 hand-held bells.
Rajendran, said that his family had been in this business for the past seven generations. Prasad came to know about their work and approached them through a trader in Chennai. Prasad got an order from the Ram Mandir administration to supply bells for the temple, he said.
“He provided all the materials we needed, including silver, copper, and bronze, for the making of the bells. For making a bell, he gave Rs 600, though normally we charge Rs 1,200 for a bell. But as these bells were being sent to Ram Mandir, we accepted the amount given by Mr. Prasad. Using 20 workers for the past one month, we have manufactured the 42 bells, and work is under way for the remaining six bells. The weight of the bells vary- five bells weigh 120 kg each, six bells weigh 70 kg each, and one bell weighs 25 kg. Before January 22, the remaining bells will also be sent to Ayodhya, Rajendran said.
Kalidas added that it was pure bliss and grace of the Bhagwan Ram that we never felt any heat or tiredness while working in the furnace, which usually emits unbearable heat. For 20 days, our body and soul were fully devoted in completing the holy task at hand; particularly in the last five days, we worked 24/7 with unprecedented energy and stamina unknown to us in our regular work.
The temple in Ayodhya requires nearly 108 bells, with the first batch of 48 already manufactured and delivered. Among these, 12 bells will find their place in the temple praharams, ready to echo on the auspicious day of consecration. Adding to the grandeur, a colossal bell weighing 650 kg has already arrived in Ayodhya from Eral in Thoothukudi district, enhancing the spiritual ambiance of the soon-to-be-inaugurated Ram Mandir.
The bell atop Ayodhya #RamMandir is ready. This masterpiece from Eral, Tamil Nadu, is a single cast piece, perhaps the largest.
6 ft X 5 ft, 650 kg of ‘Ashtadhatu’ or an alloy of 8 metals: gold, silver, copper, zinc, lead, tin, iron, mercury.
The bell can be heard from 15 km. pic.twitter.com/7dusBaXg6Z
— Abhijit Majumder (@abhijitmajumder) February 22, 2023
Eral, a modest town in Srivaikuntam taluk of Thoothukudi district, is poised to receive notable recognition as a bell crafted in this town is set to adorn the prestigious Ayodhya Sri Ram Mandir. R Ramanathan, the proprietor of Ramakrishna Nadar Vessels shop in Eral, shared that a team of 20 skilled artisans was instrumental in creating the bell, measuring approximately four feet in height and crafted from bronze, with a weight of around 650 kg.
The resounding echo of this colossal bell is expected to reach a radius of 8-10 kilometres, resonating with the sacred sound of ‘OM.’ The significant bell, symbolising divine vibrations, was handed over to the temple trust members by Rajlakshmi Manda, the general secretary of the Chennai-based Legal Rights Council, in October 2020. The bell’s journey commenced with the Ram Rath Yatra, initiated from the holy city of Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu on September 17, 2020. Covering an extensive 4,555 km over 21 days and passing through 11 states, the yatra culminated in the temple town of Ayodhya on October 7.
Additionally, artisans from Tamil Nadu have contributed to the intricate craftsmanship of the Ram Mandir’s doors, including gold-plated Balharsha teak doors from Maharashtra forests in the sanctum sanctorum (Gharba graha). Led by Kumaraswamy Ramesh of Mamallapuram, a team of 20 highly skilled artisans with rich experience in wood carving secured orders from the trust for 44 doors, including the main entrance to the sanctum sanctorum and those leading to the shrines of Sita, Lakshman, Hanuman, and more.
The order was placed by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) in November 2020 after viewing a miniature model, with the deal finalised in January of the following year. Rames, the owner, stated that his firm collaborated with VHP, L&T, and Stapathis (stone and wood sculptors) for this monumental project, acquiring the latest tools for the purpose. The doors, designed in the Vesara style, represent a unique fusion of Nagara and Dravida styles, reflecting the architectural influences of the Chalukya kings in the Deccan region. The Nagari-style design was executed by Sompura, the master architect for the temple. Ramesh shared that before embarking on the wood carving, the team visited Ajanta and Ellora caves to draw inspiration for the designs. Ramesh is collaborating on this endeavour with Ch. Sarath Babu, the managing partner of Anuradha Timbers International in Hyderabad.