Amid last-minute preparations for the consecration ceremony at the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, chairman of the temple construction committee Nripendra Misra has responded to the criticism by Hindu religious leaders Shankaracharyas and their decision to stay away from the event.
Shankaracharyas are pontiffs of four mutts in four corners of the country — Uttarakhand in the north, Odisha in the east, Karnataka in the south and Gujarat in the west. They are considered the tallest leaders of Hindu faith.
While two of them have spoken out against the way the consecration ceremony is being organised and have said they won’t attend it, the other two have been silent. Explaining why they won’t be attending the event, leaders of the mutts in Odisha’s Puri and Uttarakhand’s Joshimath have flagged several points. They have said the pran pratistha should not be held before the temple construction is complete. They have also questioned why the Prime Minister will be inside the sanctum sanctorum when the Shankaracharyas have been allotted seats outside it. The event, they have alleged, is being given a political angle.
Responding to the controversy in an exclusive chat with NDTV, Mr Misra said, “Shankaracharyas are dharm gurus. I am no one. They are responsible for the observants of Sanatan Dharma. Having said so, I want to give a message to the nation”.
“What we had announced was that Ram Lalla, the child Ram, will be in bhootal (the temple’s ground floor). The bhootal will have the garba griha (sanctum sanctorum), five mandaps, (religious) iconography. That has been completed,” Mr Misra explained.
What remains incomplete is the first floor, he said. “The first floor is Ram Darbar. It’s where Raja Ram comes, where he sits with Sita. On the first floor, you will have Ram, Sita, Laxman and Hanuman,” he said.
A retired IAS officer, Mr Misra served as principal secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi from 2014 to 2019. Following his retirement, Mr Misra was appointed chairman of the construction committee in 2020.
Speaking to NDTV, Mr Misra also listed the itinerary for tomorrow and explained step-by-step how a devotee would proceed towards ‘darshan’ of Lord Ram after she enters the temple.