In the run-up to the much-anticipated consecration ceremony of the Shri Ram Mandir in Ayodhya on January 22, 2024, the nation is witnessing a wave of enthusiastic contributions from every corner. Among the states fervently participating in this nationwide initiative is Chhattisgarh, the land that holds a unique connection to Bhagwan Ram’s maternal roots.
In a generous gesture, Chhattisgarh is set to dispatch a substantial offering to Ayodhya – a colossal 3000 metric tons of rice. This fragrant rice, emblematic of the state’s rich agricultural heritage, will be a key component of the Mahabhandara, an integral part of the grand inauguration ceremony. The Rice Millers Association of Chhattisgarh is spearheading this effort, ensuring that the best varieties of rice from all 33 districts of the state are sent to Ayodhya.
The official send-off ceremony, led by State Chief Vishnudev Sai, is scheduled for December 28, with the rice-laden trucks expected to reach Ayodhya by December 30. The decision to contribute this substantial quantity of rice was prompted by a letter from Champat Rai, an official of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir Committee, inviting Chhattisgarh to be a part of this historic event.
Chhattisgarh, often hailed as the ‘rice bowl’ of the country, boasts a diverse range of rice varieties. The state’s Rice Millers Association expressed their commitment to ensuring that Ayodhya’s Mahabhandara would be adorned with the finest produce from their region. This generous offering reflects the spirit of unity and devotion that pervades the entire nation as it prepares for this momentous occasion.
Interestingly, the people of Chhattisgarh not only revere Shri Ram but also share a unique familial bond with him. Bhagwan Ram is considered not just a deity but a nephew to the people of the state. This sentiment is prominently showcased in the grand Mandir dedicated to Mata Kaushalya, Bhagwan Ram’s mother, situated in Chandkhuri, near the capital city of Raipur.
Constructed in the 10th century, the Mandir is nestled in the midst of a white lotus blooming pond, creating an ethereal ambiance. In Treta Yuga, it was known as Kaushalpur city. The Mandir, a visual and spiritual marvel, portrays Shri Ram seated in the lap of Mother Kaushalya. The Mandir is aptly referred to as the “Nanihal” (maternal home) of Bhagwan Ram.
According to ancient Puranas, the birthplace of Bhagwan Ram’s mother, Kaushalya, is believed to be in Chhattisgarh. This sacred connection has led to the state being recognised as the maternal home of Bhagwan Ram. The grand construction of the Mandir in Chandkhuri, undertaken as part of the Ram Vanagaman Path initiative under the leadership of Chief Minister Bhupesh Sarkar, further solidifies Chhattisgarh’s deep-rooted association with the revered deity.
Legend has it that when Bhagwan Ram embarked on his historic exile, his journey to South India commenced from Chandkhuri. The ongoing construction of the Ram Vanagaman Path, a road tracing Shri Ram’s footsteps during his exile, is a testament to the state’s commitment to preserving and honouring this significant historical narrative.
As the date for the consecration ceremony of the Shri Ram Mandir approaches, the people of Chhattisgarh express their joy and devotion, not merely as contributors but as integral members of this nationwide celebration. Their offering of fragrant rice stands as a symbol of the state’s rich cultural heritage and its unwavering connection with the epic tale of Shri Ram. The nation eagerly awaits the grand inauguration, where the spirit of unity and devotion will resonate across Ayodhya and beyond.