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Over a year-long 'Sita-Ram' chanting at Ram temple workshop culminates after SC verdict

PTI     November 13, 2019

By Kunal Dutt Ayodhya, Nov 13 (PTI) As the Supreme Court announced its verdict in the Ayodhya case, the speakers at the Karsewakpuram Ram temple workshop here, which had for over a year played out chants of 'Sita-Ram', fell silent and the premises was lit up with earthen lamps. The prayers of devotees had been answered with the apex court putting to rest on Saturday a centuries-old dispute and clearing the decks for the construction of the Ram temple in the holy town. The chants were part of an 'akhand path' (uninterrupted chanting) being conducted at the workshop set up by Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas in 1990. "The 'akhand path' of 'Sita-Ram' had begun nearly a year-and-a-half ago, seeking fulfilment of our collective wish to have a temple built at the Ram Janmabhoomi site. We ended our chants on the day the apex court announced its verdict. We were all overjoyed," said Sharad Sharma, spokesperson of right-wing group Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), whose members volunteer at the workshop. Later in the day, the volunteers lit up the imposing stone slabs and pillars, which have been intricately carved over nearly 30 years by artisans and craftsmen for building the temple, with earthen lamps. According to Sharma, the number of devotees visiting the workshop has spiked since the Supreme Court judgement. "On Saturday night, a lot of people visited the workshop and the number has only multiplied over the next few days. Normally, about 1,000 people visit the workshop everyday. The number has now risen to nearly 5,000. The Karsewakpuram workshop has become a big tourist attraction, so we will keep the lighting for some time," Sharma told PTI. Devotees from across the length and breadth of the country have been visiting the workshop that also houses a wooden model of the proposed Ram temple. Designed by the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, the model is displayed in a glass case. Ram Pramod Sharma (46) and Srinivas Kumar (36) came all the way from Jehanabad in Bihar on Tuesday to visit the workshop. Dressed in traditional white attire worn by seers and sporting 'tikas' on their foreheads, both said they were delighted to visit Ayodhya, especially after the Supreme Court verdict backed the construction of a Ram temple. Rakesh Kumar and his wife Meena Devi, who came here from Pratapgarh with their two teenage children on the occasion of 'Kartik Purnima', also visited the workshop. Many local women lit diyas and candles in the sprawling premises of the workshop on Tuesday night to mark 'Dev Deepawali' -- the Deepawali of Gods -- after taking a holy dip in Saryu river. According to the Nyas' plan, the temple, once built, will be 268-ft long, 140-ft wide and 128-ft high from the ground to the apex point. It will have a total of 212 pillars, 79-year-old workshop incharge Annu Bhai Sompura said. At the workshop, some of the pink sandstones which were carved by artisans in the early 90s have darkened over the decades. They will be washed when it is time to use them, said Hanuman Yadav, a VHP worker and caretaker and guardian of the workshop, pointing to lintels, columns and ceiling blocks bearing beautiful floral motifs. According to the Supreme Court order, a trust will be set up for the construction of the Ram temple. The VHP hopes the trust will finalise the design by Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas. Nearly 65 per cent of the stone-carving work has been completed and the section needed for the ground floor of the temple, according to the design by Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, is ready, Sharma said. The stones have been carefully numbered and can be put together like pieces in a "jigsaw puzzle" when needed, he said. PTI KND DIV DIV

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