Colourful lights and saffron flags adorned temples in the national capital and chants of “Jai Shri Ram” rent the air as devotees thronged them to perform special puja on the occasion of ground-breaking ceremony for a Ram temple in Ayodhya.
At a Chattarpur temple, devotees started arriving around 6 am, just after the morning puja ended, temple”s administrator Kishor Chawla said.
“A puja has been going on non-stop for three days. The ”Ram darbar” has been decorated. A replica of ”shila” (foundation stone) has been prepared and it will be sent to Ayodhya along with other material,” he said.
Thirty-two pandits performed a special puja amid beating of dholaks and tambourines and recital of bhajans.
Considering the restrictions due to COVID-19, only a limited number of people are allowed at any given time. A self-dispenser machine has been installed for ”prasad” distribution, Chawla said.
Alankar Yadav, a 57-year-old resident of Chattarpur, clapped vigorously as the loudspeakers blared “Ram dhun”. “It”s a dream come true. I am lucky that I am alive to see this day,” he said.
Anukriti Bansal, 41, drove to the temple in the middle of rain to have darshan of ”Ram lala”.
“I could have watched it on television, but I chose to come here and spend some time listening to ”Sunderkand”,” she said.
At the Jhandewalan temple in Karol Bagh, people started trickling in as early as 5 am.
Vinod Gandhi, the manager of the temple, said the entire premises has been decorated with colourful lights and recital of the Ramayan has been going on for the last 24 hours.
The staff will distribute special prasad to devotees after the puja.
The temple has also planned a diya lighting event in the evening. There will be fireworks too, its staff said.
Vinod Mishra of the Birla Mandir in central Delhi said the temple had sent its soil to Ayodhya which will be used in the construction of the Ram temple.
Saffron flags adorned the walls of the temple and colourful bulbs hung from its dome. Devotees performed puja amid non-stop Ram bhajan and kirtan.
Mishra said the administration has not allowed large gatherings as per the COVID-19 protocols.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi performed the ‘bhoomi pujan’ of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.