Temple: Will VHP’s work thus far come to a naught?

Ayodhya / Jaipur: The Ayodhya verdict is out; politically, it may mean a closure for many, but for the devout it is just the beginning. The question the devotees are asking is: What's next? When will the construction of the temple begin? How long it will take to finish and, most importantly, what will it look like?

More than three decades back, the VHP had prepared a blueprint of the temple after due consultations with various Hindu sects, architects, artisans and craftsmen.

In one such blueprint the VHP toyed with, the temple is a 270 feet tall structure with 212 pillars, five entrances and an octagonal shape.

The major input for this model came from the late Prabhashakar Sompura of Gujarat whose ancestors were involved in building the Gujarat’s Somnath Mandir.

But all this hard work may come to a naught as the Supreme Court has ordered the formation of a trust which will be tasked with the responsibility of the construction of temple.

Though the site has been handed over to the legal entity, the Ram Lala, only Nimrohi Akhara – an order of ascetics -- will be represented in the trust, which is expected to suggest a new design or invite entries from architects for the dream project.

The VHP, which is not represented in the trust, on Sunday discussed the way forward and demanded the structure be built as per the design prepared by Sompura, which they had commissioned.

When the VHP had approved the design it had also ordered the marble carvers of Pindwara in Sirohi district in Rajasthan to build the pillars and other marble artefacts; the Pindwara carvers have excelled for centuries in the art and were involved in building the Delwara and the Ranakpur temples in Rajasthan.

According to S K Lohar, an artisan, 250 trucks laden with carved structures of marble were also sent to Ayodhya from Pindwara.

Incidentally, a large number of pillars and columns and roof artefacts, which were ordered by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad under the leadership of late Ashok Singhal, are already gathering dust in the Mandir Karseva Karyashala in Ayodhya.

The artisans are happy that the fractious dispute has been settled but whether their good work will be taken to its logical conclusion is anybody’s guess.

A day after the Supreme Court verdict, over 5,000 devotees visited the makeshift Ram temple at the no longer 'disputed site'. Entry into the city, however, remained restricted, with police only allowing people to enter after they had verified their identity.

A bigger challenge lies ahead for the administration. This is because the Kartik Poornima Mela starts on Monday and in which 10 lakh devotees will take part; mostly they will take a dip in the Saryu.

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