Ram temple in Ayodhya: Hope, happiness and worries overflow

Shops along the Naya Ghat road in Ayodhya remained open but saw very few buyers. Some larger shops had doubled up as spots for locals to congregate and watch the puja proceedings and listen to the addresses of the PM and CM, among others, on telev...

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Shops along the Naya Ghat road in Ayodhya remained open but saw very few buyers. Some larger shops had doubled up as spots for locals to congregate and watch the puja proceedings and listen to the addresses of the PM and CM, among others, on television.
AYODHYA: Appeals of the organisers to people to pray at home instead of joining the bhumi pujan (ground-breaking ceremony) of the Ram temple in Ayodhya on Wednesday were largely adhered to, but in some places a burst of saffron was occasionally witnessed as ardent devotees including priests, common folk and ascetics turned up to soak in the celebrations.

Valiram, a Surat-based auto-rickshaw driver hailing from Madhya Pradesh, was among those who travelled to the holy city. “After being in Ayodhya for the bhumi pujan, I will set off on my final path of renunciation and visit Mathura next,” he said, recounting that he had left Surat on February 29.

Aged about 50, he had settled his children and provided for his wife and wished to attend the Ram Navami celebrations in Ayodhya in April before beginning his journey of renunciation. However, lockdown was imposed and he was stuck in Jhansi for more than two months.


“It was when Modi ji became the PM in 2014 that my spiritual journey began,” he said, sitting next to a selfsufficient “rath”, which he had built for `30,000 and adorned with images of PM Modi and UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath.

Some shops, battered by the slump in tourists owing to Covid-19, sold bright saffron flags bearing images of Lord Ram and Hanuman in different sizes that were seen fixed atop houses and pillars. “Sale has nearly stopped due to corona. The flags have been selling well,” Sunil Verma, 27, owner of a shop that sold puja ingredients, told ET.

Mahendra Kumar, an entrepreneur who hailed from Gurgaon, said it was important to be in or in the vicinity of Ayodhya on the occasion. “Four of my factories had failed and I was forced to work for a meagre salary of `10,000 per month. It was only due to Lord Ram that my factory is now successful,” said Kumar, who runs a pickles and fruit concentrate business.
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Shops along the Naya Ghat road in Ayodhya remained open but saw very few buyers. Some larger shops had doubled up as spots for locals to congregate and watch the puja proceedings and listen to the addresses of the PM and CM, among others, on television.

Traders welcomed the development plan of the state for the holy city but said the proposed widening of the road to four lanes had sparked intense fears of being wiped out or displaced.
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