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Devotees eagerly wait for a grand Ram temple

The 67-acre area around the temple is full of overgrown vegetation and tall grass with dilapidated buildings as islands. Passing through a narrow corridor, where even two people cannot pass together till the makeshift temple, devotees are not allo...

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Nov 12, 2019, 08.29 AM IST
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AYODHYA: Baraiya Jivavhai, a resident of Bhavnagar in Gujarat, decided to visit the makeshift Ram temple close to the disputed site in Ayodhya with his family soon after the Supreme Court delivered its verdict in the case last Saturday.

“I thought I must bring my family, especially my parents, here,” Jivavhai told ET, waiting to join the queue to visit the makeshift temple on Monday. After passing through four security checkpoints within a kilometre, his family mistook a tent manned by the Central Reserve Police Force to be another checkpoint till CRPF personnel told them, “This is the temple. You can pay obeisance from here.”

A board points devotees to the temple, asking them to look right. Ram Lalla, the deity, under a white tent, can be seen from a distance of 10 metres, with a priest sitting near the CRPF barricade giving prasad to devotees.

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The 67-acre area around the temple is full of overgrown vegetation and tall grass with dilapidated buildings as islands. Passing through a narrow corridor, where even two people cannot pass together till the makeshift temple, devotees are not allowed to carry a mobile phone, camera, electronic item or even a pen.

At the fourth checkpoint, those wearing shoes are asked to take them off and get them checked. That does not seem to bother pilgrims, many of whom voice a different concern. “I hope the next time I come, we can see the Ram Lalla in a grand temple and not this tent,” said a family member of Ram Yadav from Sant Kabir Nagar in the queue, telling ET that this was their first visit to the temple.

Satyendra Das, the chief priest, said he hoped pilgrims won’t have to wait for long now. “When the verdict came on Saturday, we dressed Ram Lalla in pink clothes, the colour of peace and a bhog of sweets was made to the god and diyas of ghee were lit here,” he said.

An aged couple, Asrafi Das and Phulmati Devi, told ET that they had visited the temple 10 times in the past two decades from their village in East Champaran, Bihar. “We hope (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi begins the construction of the temple soon,” said Das.

A group of youngsters in the queue ahead, on their first visit here, were less guarded in their speech. “It is shame in our country that Ram Lalla has stayed like this under a tent for decades,” said one of them.

The Uttar Pradesh Provincial Armed Constabulary mans the security checkpoints while CRPF personnel are in charge of the security of the makeshift temple. All security checkpoints and resting places for security personnel are tin sheds as no permanent structure can come up on the acquired land.

Srikant Pandey, who has a house near the acquired land and provides a book on the temple free-of-cost to devotees, said security should be relaxed here as well once the temple is built. “Let the temple be built soon and access control be eased for devotees. My Muslim friends welcomed the judgement. I think except (AIMIM leader) Asaduddin Owaisi and Pakistan, no one has problems with the order,” Pandey was heard telling the devotees.
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