Vibrant celebrations in Ayodhya as ‘Pran Pratishstha’ ceremony approaches

Expressing the significance of the ceremony, Pragya Dewan, a performer of the Ghumar dance from Rajasthan, conveyed that they celebrate Diwali annually to commemorate Lord Ram’s return to Ayodhya, emphasizing that the ongoing festivities in Ayodhya represent the grandest Diwali ever experienced.

The historic town of Ayodhya is alive with cultural fervour and religious exuberance as it prepares for the consecration ceremony at the newly constructed Ram temple. The streets are adorned with vibrant folk dances, resonant songs dedicated to Lord Ram, and an array of decorations featuring flowers, lights, and saffron flags.

Folk artists, from ‘Badhawa’ to ‘Ghumar,’ have transformed the streets into a lively spectacle. Passersby are pausing to capture the colourful performances on their smartphones, contributing to the festive atmosphere enveloping Ayodhya. The celebration extends to the characters of the Ramayana, with people dressing up as Lord Ram, Sita, and Hanuman.

Small stages dotting the Ram Path, leading to the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi temple, host performers from across the country, showcasing various traditional dances. An official from the Uttar Pradesh government’s culture department revealed that a variety of folk dances, such as Badhawa, Chari, Ghumar, Dhobiya, Rai, Raslila, Mayur, Khayal Nritya, and Sataria, among others, are being performed on the streets leading to the Ram temple, effectively creating an atmosphere reminiscent of a miniature India.

Sunday witnessed a multitude of devotees singing, dancing, and revelling in the religious ambience. The main gate of the temple was engulfed in flowers, with thousands gathering to witness the spectacle. Expressing the significance of the ceremony, Pragya Dewan, a performer of the Ghumar dance from Rajasthan, conveyed that they celebrate Diwali annually to commemorate Lord Ram’s return to Ayodhya, emphasizing that the ongoing festivities in Ayodhya represent the grandest Diwali ever experienced.

Umapati, a member of the group involved in performing Raslila, underscored the remarkable support from devotees by expressing that there could not be a more fitting global stage for their performance. He noted that the overwhelming love they are receiving is beyond imagination, and people are generously offering tea and food, suggesting that this might exemplify what ‘Ram Rajya’ looks like.

As the first phase of the Ram temple nears completion, the much-anticipated consecration of the Ram Lalla idol is set to take place on January 22, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi participating in the event.

Ayodhya has undergone beautification and modernization ahead of the ‘Pran Prathishtha’ ceremony, with streetlights featuring Lord Ram-themed artworks and ornamental lamp posts adorned with traditional ‘Ramanandi tilak’ designs. Even side lanes are embellished with flowers, and the entire town is resonating with the beats of dhols.

The ongoing Ramotsav, initiated on January 16, includes cultural programs at various locations, such as Shri Ram Katha Park, Bhajan Sandhya Sthal, Tulsi Uddyan, and Shri Ram Prekshagrah. Ritu Dixi from Ayodhya Culture Centre clarified that the initiation of folk dances took place on the current day and is scheduled to persist until the following day. Additionally, she mentioned that various other cultural programs are planned to unfold over the entire month.