“In the course of the Ramjanmabhoomi movement, I had often stated that the true purpose of constructing a Ram Mandir at Ayodhya is to construct a magnificent Rashtra Mandir – building India as a strong, prosperous, peaceful and harmonious nation with justice for all and exclusion of none. Let us rededicate ourselves to that noble mission today,” were the words of senior BJP leader and one of the key architects of the Ram Janmbhoomi movement, Lal Krishna Advani, in the hours following the Supreme Court’s historic verdict that paved the way for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.
Subsequently, the people of Bharat manifested the essence of Advani Ji’s vision by portraying the Ram Mandir as the Rashtra Mandir (national temple) through their actions. They illustrated that Ram Lalla in Ayodhya is not confined to the reverence of Hindus alone but holds significance for Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, and every Bharatiya, symbolising Sabke Ram (Prabhu Sri Ram for everyone). This demonstration highlighted a collective contribution from all segments of society, reflecting an inclusive spirit that transcends societal boundaries.
In a striking display of unity, individuals from diverse backgrounds, including sex workers and members of the transgender community, actively participated and made noteworthy contributions. Beggars generously relinquished their daily earnings, and senior citizens selflessly parted with portions of their modest pensions. This collective effort underscored the widespread importance and unity associated with the construction of the Ram Mandir, showcasing meaningful contributions from every corner of Bharat.
Beautiful Blend Of Indian Architecture
The architectural inspiration for the Ram Mandir seamlessly blends elements from both North and South Bharat temple styles, lending it a distinctive and pan-Bharat appeal. This harmonious fusion pays homage to the rich cultural diversity of the nation, making the temple a symbol of unity through its architectural synthesis.
Sharing the architectural details about the Ram Janmabhoomi, Design and Construction manager Girish Sahasrabhojanee told Organiser, “Drawing from the north’s Nagara style of architecture, the temple also incorporates elements from the renowned South Bharatiya shrines in Rameshwaram, Tirupati and Kanchipuram”.
“Ram Temple has a beautiful blend of Indian architecture. It has a semblance of Dravidian architecture assimilated within the Nagara style,” he told.
“The main structure of the temple is being built following the Nagar style of architecture quintessential of north Bharat. Nagara temples are recognisable by its tall, pyramidal towers called shikharas. While the rest of the smaller temples in the corner of the complex and the outer wall (parkota) of the temple complex will reflect the semblance to the Dravidian style of architecture,” said Sahasrabhojanee.
Sahasrabhojanee also revealed that initially, architects wanted to carve the famous South Indian Gopuram style of entrance but it was not possible here. The paucity of land didn’t allow them to incorporate that. So, they decided to pick some elements from that architecture to give it a broader South Indian temple look.
Jagadish Aphale, a project manager who is taking care of the mandir’s pilgrim management, sculpture and iconography, archives and museums, says that the structure has 392 columns, of which 190 are in the ground floor, each with multiple carvings that takes days to make. The bronze murals in the walls will showcase 100 stories from Ramayan.
“The columns are so made that every year on the day of the Ram Navami, the rays of the sun will light up his forehead,” Aphale said.
Aphale told Organiser that after studying 500 major temples, the Trust decided to have four queues to the inner chamber two for families, one for divyangs and one for VIPs. No offerings such as flowers or abhishek etc. will be allowed and devotees will be given prasad. “Everything is free bit since devotees ask, donations will be open to individuals but not institutions,” Aphale said. The temple can hold crowds of up to two lakhs a day, and up to 1500 in the temple area at any given time.
A museum will also be built on the premises, and will store artefacts that were recovered from the site – including those recovered by the Archaeological Survey of India during a court-ordered dig in 2003, he told Organiser.
Challenges Faced In Temple’s Construction
The construction of the temple presented its own array of challenges. From navigating intricate architectural choices to addressing logistical and environmental concerns, the journey to build the temple involved overcoming various hurdles. Yet, through dedication and resilience, the key contributors to the temple construction successfully navigated these challenges, making the completion of the temple a testament to determination and unwavering commitment.
While discussing the engineering challenges including the very loose soil quality and the team of engineers who had to go for the concrete fill to replace the sand present at the temple site for the foundation, Sahasrabhojanee told Organiser, “Historically, the Saryu river flowed in proximity to the temple premise making the soil loose and weak. We decided to replace the soil and went for an engineering fill with lean concrete. One can economise the expenses on the construction by choosing the right place. Here Ram Lalla has chosen the place himself. We had to calibrate our sense of engineering to match his expectation.”
“Another challenge was to come up to the expectation of the expectations of devotees as the grand temple is being made after centuries of struggle,” he said.
Design and construction manager Sahasrabhojanee informed that the loose soil was removed and concrete (roller compact concrete) foundation was laid in 56 layers at a depth of 14 meters. Rock dust and fly ash were added. It turned into an artificial rock cluster. Even eight Richter scale earthquake will not make an impact.
“Non-usage of steel and concrete in superstructure was beyond imagination in modern-day construction. But we are using only stone to rule out any erosion in future. So, we did not go for anything that did not have the legacy of its suitability for over a millennium. Nothing which has a track record of at least a thousand years has been tried here. No modern materials such as carbon fibre, glass rod and composite materials were used,” he adds.
The aim was that the structure should withstand the vagaries of nature.
Aatmanirbhar Temple Complex
“Ye Mandir Bharat ki collective engineering ka parinaam hai (The constuction of the temple stands as a testament to the collective engineering efforts of Bharat),” affirmed Shri Ramjanmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra, General Secretary Champat Rai, during an interview with Organiser.
The entire architectural layout of the Ram Mandir complex adheres to the principle of Aatmanirbhar (self-reliance), incorporating essential features such as sewage plants, water treatment facilities, and a dedicated power line. Champat Rai underscored the temple’s commitment not to impose a burden on the Ayodhya municipality and emphasised provisions for the convenience of elderly and specially-abled individuals.
Rai shared details of the temple complex, highlighting features such as a fire brigade post with access to water from an underground reservoir. The temple itself boasts impressive dimensions, with a width of 250 feet, a Sikha (spire) of the Garbh Griha reaching 161 feet in height, and each floor standing at 20 feet. The temple will comprise 392 pillars, 44 gates, and a 14 feet-wide percota (periphery) spanning 732 meters. It will house two sets of murtis, with Ram Lalla on the ground floor and the Ram Darbar on the first floor, along with murtis of other deities in different corners based on the Panchayatan style.
Champat Rai shared the concept behind constructing seven more temples on the premises. These temples will be dedicated to four Rishis – Valmiki, Vashishtha, Vishwamitra, and Agastya – who played crucial roles in the life of Bhagwan Ram. Furthermore, three more temples are planned for Nishadh Raj Guhu, Shabari Mata, and Mata Ahilya, individuals symbolising inclusivity and national connectivity of Sri Ram and Ramayana.
“The temple is being built in the northern part of the Ram Janmbhoomi premises as that spot is where Bhagwan Ram was born. This specific land was the focal point of the legal dispute.”
Rai also highlighted the commitment to environmental sustainability, with only 30 per cent of the 70-acre area under construction, leaving the remaining 70 per cent as green space. The temple trust is set to have its independent water supply, and additional facilities such as a toilet complex with 100 washrooms, a pilgrimage center accommodating 25,000 people, and a healthcare center are planned.
Champat Rai also informed Organiser that the construction giant Larsen and Toubro (L&T) is actively involved in this esteemed project, a commitment initiated by its chief, AM Naik, in response to an approach by the late Ashok Singhal, the then VHP International President, approximately 15 years ago.
“L&T has remained true to its commitment to Ashok ji and has taken on the responsibility of temple construction. Notably, both L&T and Tata Consulting Engineers (TCE) are contributing to the project voluntarily. While L&T is overseeing the construction aspect, TCE is playing a supervisory role,” stated Rai as he provided insights into the involvement of various scientific and engineering institutions. Institutions such as IIT-Madras, IIT-Guwahati, IIT-Delhi, IIT-Bombay, IIT-Kanpur, CBRI Roorkee, NGRI Hyderabad, Institute of Rock Mechanics in Bengaluru, and NIT Pune are actively participating in different stages of research, construction, and planning of the project.
Quake Resistant With 1000 Years Life Span
The complete Ram Mandir would be an engineering marvel capable of withstanding the vagaries of climate and times for at least 1000 years, said Sahasrabhojanee, project engineer of the Ram Mandir while sharing details with Organiser at the temple site in Ayodhya.
Giving an insight into the resilience of the upcoming Mandir, Girish Sahasrabhojanee said that the temple would be strong enough to withstand damage or deterioration with expected longevity from 1000 to 2500 years. He also said that the complete structure in its full glory would be a beautiful blend of the architecture of North and South. Planned to be equipped with all the modern-day facilities, the final structure will not only be an architectural wonder but every bit of it would be a story of this beguiling blend of rich cultural and spiritual oneness of India, said the chief project engineer.
The best possible options ranging from pure Makrana marble to pink sandstone sourced from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan to granite from Telangana and Karnataka, were chosen for the temple. Around 21 lakh cubic feet of stone would be used in the entire temple structure from foundation to spire.
“The granite used in the temple has been sourced from Karnataka and Telangana, the stone for superstructure has been brought from Rajasthan, and the stone for flooring has been brought from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Moreover, the craft men work day in and day out come from different corner of the country,” Girish Sahasrabhojanee said. “The iconography on the sandstones is being done by artists from Odisha, woodwork is being done by the employees of an Andhra firm which has roped in artists from Tamil Nadu to do wood carving, brassware has been sourced from Moradabad (Uttar Pradesh) while the gold and teakwood to be used in the main structure has been sourced from Maharashtra. Gujarat has contributed in designing the temple as the man architect Chandrakant Sompura hails from Gujarat”, he added.
As for the workforce, construction giant L&T engaged about 4,000 workers mainly from Bihar and Odisha including local stone carvers for chiselling stones and craftsmen from Rajasthan and Mysuru.
Bhagwan Singh Bora, a resident of Uttarkashi, who has been working as a supervisor at the Ram Mandir construction site for the past six months expressed his gratitude for the opportunity and told Organiser, “I am fortunate to be involved in such a sacred project that has attracted workers from across the country.”
Bora mentioned that a significant number of workers hail from Bihar and Odisha including some Muslim . He also shared his anticipation of visiting the completed Ram Mandir with his family to seek blessings from Ram Lalla.
Sharp Economic Boom In The Ram Nagri
The inauguration of the Ram Mandir has positioned Ayodhya as an increasingly popular destination, triggering a surge in demand for accommodations, dining options, and local transportation like e-rickshaws. The tourism industry is poised for substantial growth, drawing visitors not only from various parts of India but potentially from other countries as well, propelling Ayodhya into a prominent role as a cultural and religious hub.
Sangram Singh, owner of Royal Heritage Hotel & Resort, told Organiser, “The day Supreme Court gave the verdict that “Ram Mandir wahi pe banega”, since then everything changed in the Ram Nagri. Ayodhya’s economy is set to see a dramatic boost. Businesses are hoping to open new streams of income with a massive flow of devotees expected to visit the city. While the city is already having big number of devotees.”
“Previously, the hotel had an average daily customer count of 20-25. However, since the inception of the Ram Mandir construction, our hotel rooms consistently reach full occupancy, requiring bookings to be made two days in advance. This uptick in demand has led to a notable 40 per cent increase in our profits. The construction of the Ram Mandir has undeniably contributed to the flourishing state of the hotel industry in Ayodhya,” said Sangram Singh.
According to reports, in response to the growing number of tourists, there is a potential expansion of up to 25,000 rooms in Ayodhya. OYO is set to launch 25 hotels and homestays, collaborating with the Ayodhya Development Authority and the Uttar Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation. Additionally, the Taj Group has plans for a 100-room hotel, while the renowned Ginger Group is underway with a 120-room hotel.
Notably, a total of 89 companies have expressed interest in establishing hotels in Ayodhya. Among these, approval has been granted to 26 companies thus far, and in the near future, several more are expected to receive the green light. The Uttar Pradesh State Government has also extended offers of land to various States for the establishment of their State guesthouses. Officials told Organiser that several states, including Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra, have agreed to open their guesthouses in Ayodhya.
An Ayodhya-based businessmen told Organiser that he has been living in the city for almost thirty years, noting that Ayodhya’s beauty now exceeds that of Greater Noida. They also underscored the substantial positive changes like cleanliness and infrastructural development the city has experienced in recent time.
Ramanuj, an e-rickshaw driver told Organiser that Ayodhya has immersed in the spirit of Bhagwan Ram. The kind of joy of living in Ayodhya has never been experienced before. What Modi Ji and Yogi Ji have done is unparalleled, something not achievable even in a hundred years. He also mentioned that earlier he could earn around 300-400 only, but now he earns up to 1000-1200.
In reference to the recent changes and increased employment opportunities in Ayodhya, an e-rickshaw driver named Mustakim, aged 60, expressed his admiration for the Chief Minister’s diligent efforts and said “Yogi ji Ayodhya ko swarg bana rahe hain” (he commended Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath for seemingly transforming Ayodhya into a heavenly place through various developmental projects ).
Musatakim, who recently purchased an e-rickshaw, reported a daily income ranging from Rs 700 to Rs 1000. He anticipates a further boost in earnings with the expected increase in pilgrim visits to the area.
When queried about the prolonged Ayodhya dispute and the suggestions from some quarters to establish a hospital or school at the site instead, Musatakim responded, “ye puja asthal tha yahan mandir hi banna chahie” (This was a place of worship; a temple should be constructed here)”.
Transformative Changes Surrounding Hanuman Garhi
One can see newly constructed planned shops on both sides of the road near Hanuman Garhi, one of the major attraction point of Ayodhya, which lies to the east of the temple under revamp project. The change is clearly evident as one reaches the Shringar Haat barrier, the last stop for vehicles a few metres ahead of the Hanuman Garhi. The narrow road leading to Hanuman Garhi, dotted by shops on both sides, is now around 14 metres wide. After construction of Ram Mandir began, footfall of devotees at Hanuman Garhi has increased manifold.
Sonu Soni, (32) a second generation prasad shop owner at Hanuman Garhi told Organiser that he has had his family shop there for over 45 years. He stated that Ayodhya has transformed remarkably. In areas where roads used to be empty before, there is now constant crowd. Earlier, they could only sell ladoos of around Rs 1000-1200 daily, but since the temple construction began, they now sell ladoos up to Rs 15,000 every day. Ayodhya is undergoing significant development, and they believed that this will elevate their standard of living.
Crammed lanes and traffic jams will no longer hinder the routes leading to the Ram Temple. The Uttar Pradesh Government has allocated funds of around Rs 797 crore, the widening of roads leading to the Ram Mandir. Three paths have been shortlisted for the construction and expansion work. It includes the 2-km-long Ram Janmabhoomi Path that connects Sugriv Qila to Ram Mandir. Another is Bhakti Path, the 850-meter stretch that connects Shringar Hat to Ram Janmabhoomi. And the third one is Ram Path corridor, the 13-km-long stretch from Sahadatganj to Naya Ghat.
In addition, Yodi-Adityanath-led UP Government has also approved widening of the Panch Kosi, which passes through Ayodhya city and 14-Kosi Parikrama Marg which covers the outskirts of the city.
Janki Ghat, Bada Sthan, Dashrath Bhawan Mandir, Mangal Bhawan, Akshari Mandir, Ram Kachehri Mandir, Siyaram Kila, Digamber Akhara, Tulsi Chauraha Mandir, Bharat Kila Mandir, Hanuman Mandir, Kaleram Mandir, Nepali Mandir, Chitragupt Mandir and others are included in the renovation plan.
The Ayodhya administration has already completed renovation of Surya Kund, an ancient Sun temple situated around 5 km from the Ram Temple. It is expected that Ayodhya will break all records of pilgrims visiting any pilgrimage sites. If one talk about the Shri Kashi Vishawanath temple in Varanasi, since the auspicious inauguration of the Temple by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 13, 2021, the pilgrimage site has experienced an unprecedented surge in footfall.
As per the official data, the pilgrimage site has witnessed a record-breaking 13 crore people visiting from December 13, 2021, to December 6, 2023.
Local resident Ramesh Pandey summed it up, “People have been eagerly awaiting the construction of the Ram Mandir for decades. In the times to come, every Hindu will undoubtedly want to visit here at least once that will led to a massive footfall of pilgrims in Ayodhya.”