The wait of centuries has ended and India is creating a golden chapter in Ayodhya, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday after performing the 'Bhoomi Pujan' of a Ram temple.
Beginning his speech with "Jai Siya Ram", the prime minister told the gathering that a grand temple will be built for "Ram Lalla", the infant Ram, who had been living in a temporary tent for years.
"Many people made sacrifices for the Ram temple. I pay my respects to all of them," the prime minister said after the ground-breaking ceremony of the temple at the spot where many devout Hindus believe Lord Ram was born.
Despite efforts to eradicate Lord Ram's existence, he lives in our hearts and is the basis of our culture, Modi said. The construction of the Ram temple, he said, is an instrument to unite the country.
"Social harmony was the core principle of Lord Ram's governance," the prime minister said.
"We'll have to remember that whenever mankind believed in Lord Ram, progress took place. Whenever we deviated from the path, doors to destruction opened. We'll have to keep everyone's sentiments in mind. We've to ensure everyone's development with support & trust of all," he added.
"The temple will become the modern symbol of our traditions. It'll become a symbol of our devotion, our national sentiment. It will keep inspiring the future generations," he added.
The Ram temple construction will lift the economy of the entire region, Modi said.
PM also said that it is his good fortune that he was invited to witness this historical moment.
"From Kanyakumari to Kshirbhavani, from Koteshwar to Kamakhya, from Jagannath to Kedarnath, Somnath to Kashi Vishwanath...today entire country is immersed in Lord Ram," he added.
The prime minister unveiled a plaque and released a commemorative postal stamp.
He arrived in Ayodhya in a helicopter where Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath among others received him.
Before the function to lay the foundation stone of the 'Shree Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir', marking the end of the BJP's 'mandir' movement that defined its politics for three decades and took it to the heights of power, the prime minister took part in prayers at the Hanumangarhi temple.
From there, he travelled to the 'Shree Ram Janmabhoomi' where he performed prayers at the 'Bhagwan Shree Ramlala Virajman'.
He also planted a Parijat (Indian night jasmine) sapling.
(With inputs from agencies)