AYODHYA: The term ‘Ayodhya’ is believed to be a combination of the names of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh (Lord Shiva). Its reference is widely found in the Hindu scriptures. At a time when the Supreme Court of India has delivered the much-awaited verdict on title suit over disputed land, a glimpse of the proposed grand temple which would come up at the birthplace of Lord Ram after five centuries assumes significance.
The grand temple, which was conceptualized around three decades back, will be a two-floor structure. It will be 265 ft 5 inch in length, 140 ft in breadth, and 128 ft in height. The first floor will be 18 ft high and second 15 ft and nine inches high.
The entire temple will be built with exotic pink sandstone imported from Bansipaharpur Rajasthan. During the last 28 years, artisans from Mirzapur, Agra, Rajasthan, Gujarat and other places came to Ayodhya to chisel the stone slabs meant to be used in temple construction.
As per Sharad Sharma, a VHP leader, the temple would be a complex of six segments-- Agra Dwar, Singh Dwar, Nritya Mandap, Rang Mandap, Parikrama and Garbh Grih (sanctum sanctorum). “Around 1 lakh 75 000 cubic ft stone will be used to build the temple. Of this, 1 lakh cubic ft stone is ready to be fixed and work on rest is on,” says the VHP leader.
The finished temple, will comprise of 212 pillars, 106 each on the ground floor and first floor. “There will be three kinds of pillars. The ground floor pillars will be 16.5 feet tall, the first-floor ones 14.5 feet. Each pillar will have 16 idols of Yakshas and Yakshinis.
The ambience of the temple premises is likely to be equally majestic with rightward flowing river Saryu in its backyard.
While the entire temple will rest upon four feet nine-inch high foundation platform, the first courtyard of the temple will be 8ft high. This will lead to a 10 ft broad parikrama marg. A special cell measuring 16 feet three inches will be built just above the sanctum Sanctorum which will have the idol of Lord Ram. This special cell will have a 132-feet high spire over and above it.
When asked about the time taken for construction to complete, Sharma said considering the magnitude of preparations, the shifting of ready stones to the temple land will take at least six months. “After this, the total temple construction would take 2-2.5 years,” he adds.He further shares that there would be total 24 doors all of sandalwood and all the thresholds will be of marble. Only marble and copper would be used in temple construction. “No cement, sand or iron will be used in it,” says Sharma.
“The Sanctum Sanctorum is believed to be an octagonal structure and the temple will be built under Nagar style of architecture,” says worker Shree Ram at the Karyashala which re-opened after the SC verdict on Saturday evening after a brief closure of a week.
“Even in the months following December 6, 1992, when our organisation was briefly banned, the stone cutting and chiselling continued. I see nothing wrong with it: our activities were banned, carving stone pillars was not,” says the VHP leader. He adds that the VHP has been prefabricating the temple since September 1990 and till now more than 65% of work has already been finalised.
The first sandstone blocks arrived in Ayodhya from Bansipahar, near Bharatpur in Rajasthan, in late 1989—soon after the shilanyas—and were stored at a workshop near the Ramghat Chowraha, more than a kilometre from VHP headquarters at Karsevakpuram and three kilometres from Ramjanmabhoomi complex.
The workshop, which came into being after the mandir-masjid dispute, became a centre of reverence for the thousands of devotees of Lord Ram as it housed hundreds of stone slabs worshipped and chiselled for the cause of temple.
In late 1995, the work on the temple picked up pace. The VHP contracted out part of the carving work to Sompura Marble Works, Bharat Shilp Kala Kendra and Mahadev Shilp Kala Kendra, all three located in the BJP-ruled Rajasthan. Till late 90s, the work on stone continued in other workshops but then it was stopped there and carving continued at Ayodhya Karyashala only.
Then VHP had Rs 8.29 crore in the bank, collected during our shila pujan and other programmes. It was used for buying logistics for temple construction. The VHP purchased a stone-cutting machine for its Ayodhya workshop. Today at Karsevakpuram, 5 km from the disputed site, scores of craftsmen are chiselling sandstone into shape even as two stone cutter machines slice the huge stones; the machines and a generator had been bought from Gujarat for Rs 13 lakh.
Most of the carvings depict floral motifs or gods and goddesses. The temple facade as such would have nothing to do with Rama or the Ramayana. It will rather resemble the Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar which was designed by architect, Chandrakant Sompura. The model of the proposed temple was designed in three months’ time by Chandrakant Sompura.