Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will visit Ayodhya today to unveil a seven-foot tall statue of Lord Ram at a museum. The statue, made of a single block of rosewood and purchased for Rs 35 lakh from Karnataka, will be on display at the Ayodhya Shodh Sansthan.
The statue will depict Kodamb Ram - one of the five avatars of Lord Ram.
Director of the Ayodhya Shodh Sansthan YP Singh told news agency IANS that though the museum has over 2,500 artefacts related to Lord Ram and his life, it did not have any piece depicting Kodamb Ram. The statue was purchased from the Karnataka State Arts and Craft Emporium, IANS said.
According to him, the life of Lord Ram is divided into five stages - Baal Ram, Raja Ram, Dulha Ram, Banvasi Ram and Kodamb Ram. The stages are worshipped in different regions of the country.
In the north, it is the early two stages of his life that are revered while in Bihar's Mithila region, Dulha Ram is worshipped where Ram and Sita are seen together and the former is not armed with his bow.
Banvasi Ram statues have Ram and Laxman with Sita between them. This avatar, from the time in when he went to live in forest as told in the epic Ramayana, is worshipped in Madhya Pradesh and other regions of central India.
Kodamb Ram, on the other hand, is worshipped in the south and depicts the stage of Ram's life when Sita was kidnapped by the demon king Ravan. The statues from that phase of Ram's life show Ram alone, without Sita and Laxman.
Established in 1986, the Ayodhya Shodh Sansthan is a government-funded museum that hosts works related to the Hindu epic Ramayana.
Ayodhya, where Lord Ram is said to have been born, is at the heart of a decades-old dispute involving the site where the 16th-century Babri mosque stood before it was razed in 1992 by Hindu activists. The activists believed that it was built on the ruins of an ancient temple marking the birthplace of Lord Ram. In riots following the mosque demolition, 2,000 people died across the country.
Last year, the Uttar Pradesh government announced a project to build a Ram statue on the banks of the Sarayu river, expected to measure 221 metres - topping even the famed freedom movement icon Sardar Patel's Statue of Unity in Gujarat.
(With inputs from IANS)