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Ayodhya wakes up to a new dawn to welcome Lord Ram

With tonnes of flowers filling the winter air with fragrances and millions of lights illuminating the holy city, Ayodhya is finally ready to welcome Lord Ram into his new magnificent temple on Monday.

From night vision devices to CCTV cameras with artificial intelligence (AI), Ayodhya has been fortified for the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ ceremony that will be attended by hundreds of VIPs. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive on Monday morning.

More than 7,000 people, including politicians, industrialists, saints and celebrities from across the country are expected to attend the grand opening.

Invitees to the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ ceremony started arriving in the temple town on Sunday, which is now resplendent with new infrastructure and religious fervour, that is bound to be a milestone in India’s political and religious history.

Recordings of ‘Ram dhun’ played from loudspeakers and people dressed as Lord Ram, Sita, Laxman and Hanuman paraded down the streets.

Ceremonial gates depicting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ in floral patterns and illumination visible at night add to the aura of the ancient city, which has undergone a massive infrastructural growth.

“The entire country is chanting the name of Lord Ram,” said Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya.

The streets and skyline of Ayodhya are covered with saffron flags fluttering from rooftops of buildings, small and big.

Cut-outs of the Ram temple along with Lord Ram have been put up at the Lata Mangeshkar Chowk.

The main ‘Pran Pratishtha’ ceremony will begin at 12.20 p.m. and is expected to end by 1 p.m. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will then address a gathering of more than 7,000 people, including seers and prominent personalities, at the venue. The entire event will be telecast live.

Surveillance drones have been scanning the ground for suspicious activity. Ayodhya’s ‘yellow zone’ has 10,715 AI-based cameras with face-recognition technology.

To bolster emergency response capabilities, teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) have been deployed. SDRF teams will conduct boat patrols on the Saryu river.

An anti-drone system has been deployed by the Uttar Pradesh Special Security Force (SSF), adding an extra layer of security against potential aerial threats.

“Ayodhya is under the watchful eye of drones equipped with AI, alongside anti-mine drones, as part of the concerted efforts to enhance security in the temple town,” a senior police officer said.

The anti-mine drones fly at a height of one metre above the ground, and are equipped with advanced technology like spectrometer wavelength detection for detecting underground explosives.

The Ayodhya administration has made arrangements to tackle health emergencies as well, especially considering North India has been gripped by biting cold due to a severe cold wave. Beds have been reserved at city-based and district hospitals and medical colleges in Ayodhya. Also, specialists from AIIMS have provided focused emergency response training to doctors at healthcare institutions.

The new idol of Ram Lalla, sculpted by Arun Yogiraj, has been placed inside the temple.

The idol shows Ram Lalla as a five-year-old standing on a lotus, also crafted from the same stone.

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