Tomorrow marks the momentous return of Ram Lalla to his divine abode, and the sacred city of Ayodhya is ablaze with religious fervor and heightened anticipation. "Kal Ram Lalla ghar vaapis aayenge," joyously declares Manish Dixit, a local resident, encapsulating the excitement that resonates throughout every corner of the city.
The Pran Pratishtha ritual, initiated on January 16, enters its sixth day in Ayodhya. This evening, the old idol of Ramlala, who is being worshipped, was ceremoniously taken to the Ram temple. Accompanied by his three brothers, Hanuman, and Shaligram, Ram Lalla's procession marked a significant step in the spiritual journey leading to the grand ceremony on January 22.
Chief Priest Sateyndra Das solemnly announces that the revered old Ram Lalla idol has found its rightful place in the newly constructed temple this evening.
This symbolic closure of the old temple serves as a poignant pause before the exclusive guests, present at the Pran Pratistha ceremony, are granted a unique opportunity for darshan on January 22.
Ayodhya's borders sealed
In anticipation of this sacred occasion, the borders of Ayodhya have been sealed since January 20, ensuring that only invited guests with the appropriate passes will have entry until January 23.
Following the consecration ceremony on January 22, Ayodhya will be bathed in the radiant glow of 10 lakh diyas in the evening. In response to the call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 'Ram Jyoti' will emanate from houses, shops, religious places, and historic sites, creating a spectacular display of unity and devotion.
Swami Mahiteshwaranad emphasizes the cultural significance, stating, “Previously, when Lord Ram returned from exile, Diwali was celebrated in Ayodhya by lighting diyas. Now, after the completion of the consecration ceremony, Diwali will be celebrated again by lighting 'Ram Jyoti.”
The fervor extends beyond the spiritual leaders, resonating with the common man on the street. "Ayodhya belongs to Ram, and the city is Ramaya now. It seems we have got back our identity," expresses Dr. Paresh Pandey, a Professor at Saket Degree College, capturing the collective sentiment of the local community.
While exclusive guests will witness the grand event on January 22, regular devotees can eagerly anticipate witnessing Ram Lalla in the new temple starting on January 23.
The celebration radiates beyond the temple premises, with diyas set to illuminate 100 temples, major intersections, and public places, including Ram Temple, Ram Ki Paidi, Kanak Bhawan, Hanuman Garhi, Guptar Ghat, Sarayu Ghat, Lata Mangeshkar Chowk, Maniram Das Chavani, and other prominent locations. Regional Tourism Officer RP Yadav assures that the evening of January 22 will witness diyas lighting up 100 prominent temples and public places, creating a mesmerizing spectacle.
In parallel, Ayodhya is adorned with 2000 quintals of flowers as part of the vibrant celebrations. The rituals will culminate with this evening's aarti, adding a final touch to the spiritual ambiance.
The picturesque Ram Path, connecting Saadatganj to the new ghat, has undergone a remarkable transformation by the Forest Department. Along the three-kilometer stretch of the road median, Bougainvillea plants in four colors—pink, purple, white, and saffron—create an enchanting path in preparation for the divine return.
On the two-kilometer stretch from Saket Petrol Pump to Lata Mangeshkar Chowk, Terrorojia and Bougainvillea enhance the beauty of Dharmapath. Adorning both side dividers and medians with three varieties of Bougainvillea—pink, white, and purple—the street transforms into a vibrant celebration of colors.
DFO Shitanshu Pandey envisions the adorned dividers maturing over the next two to three years, enhancing the streets further with the blooming of pink and yellow flowers, symbolizing the blossoming prosperity and divine grace that Ram's return brings.
In alignment with the grand preparations, the administration has implemented stringent security measures, sealing the city's boundaries and restricting entry for outsiders and vehicles since January 20.
City roads are graced with prominent cutouts of Lord Ram, and the street lights in Ram Path, known as Surya Stambh, vividly depict the rising sun, symbolizing the dawn of a new era in Ayodhya.
All across the city, hoardings proudly declare, "Ram Nagari mein aapka Swagat hai," extending a warm welcome to all as Ayodhya eagerly anticipates the return of Lord Ram to his divine abode.