Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath took part in a ceremony today to lay the foundation stone of the sanctum sanctorum of the Ayodhya Ram temple by placing the first carved stone in it. The sanctum sanctorum or 'Garbha Griha' will open for devotees just months before the crucial 2024 Lok Sabha Elections.
Yogi Adityanath performed a 'Shila Pujan' in the presence of Ram temple trust officials, Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and others.
He said the temple will be a “rashtra mandir” and a symbol of people's beliefs.
"The 500-year old struggle of devotees is going to end and we will have a temple here. There can be no greater moment of pride for any Indian. Invaders attacked our culture, but in the end India has won," the chief minister said at the event
Yogi Adityanath's visit to Ayodhya for the ceremony comes at a significant time for Uttar Pradesh. Court cases over disputes involving at least two other mosques - the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi next to the Kashi Viswanath temple and the Shahi Idgah in Mathura next to the 'Krishna Janmabhoomi' or the birthplace of Lord Krishna have been heard in courts in the last month
"After the grand construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, the turn of events in Kashi is visible to all. Similarly, Mathura, Vrindavan and other places are taking a new turn and we have to step forward," the chief minister said at the function.
This statement appeared to be in contrast with BJP president JP Nadda's line at a recent press conference where he said such issues would be settled within the ambit of the constitution.
In a statement issued last week, the Ram Janmabhoomi Trust, in charge of the temple construction, had said white marbles from the Makrana hills of Rajasthan would be used in the sanctum sanctorum. The temple trust said the total stone volume to be used for the temple project included 8 to 9 lakh cubic feet of carved sandstone, 6.37 lakh cubic feet of uncarved granite, 4.70 lakh cubic feet of carved pink sandstone for the temple and 13,300 cubic feet of Makrana white carved marble for the sanctum sanctorum.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had attended the 'Bhoomi Pujan' or the foundation stone laying ceremony for the temple in August 2020 after which construction had started. The temple is expected to be ready just before the 2024 national elections.