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Finishing touches to temple jigsaw

Jaipur, Jan. 19: One nod from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Ram temple can fall into place in Ayodhya.

The temple jigsaw’s pre-fabricated pieces — being chiselled by over a hundred artisans in three workshops in Rajasthan — are almost complete and are ready to be ferried to Ayodhya once the VHP flashes the green signal.

The pre-fabricated blocks are numbered with clockwork precision to ensure rapid assembling at the site when the construction bugle is blown.

The last pieces for the top portion of the proposed two-storeyed temple’s upper floor and parts of the shikhar (dome) are now being given finishing touches. It has taken six months to complete this part of the job.

The VHP will now have to decide when it wants the work completed. If need be, more artisans will be pressed into service to speed things up.

The work could have been wrapped up earlier, but the VHP decided otherwise. Earlier, the outfit — which puts much importance on deadlines — had wanted the work completed to coincide with the Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh.

Though the BJP was facing an uphill task at the polls, the completion was postponed. The next deadline may well be the 2004 Lok Sabha polls.

However, for the record, VHP leader Acharya Giriraj Kishore had said the temple is “a matter of time”. The outfit’s three-day Dharma Sansad, beginning February 22 in New Delhi, will “spell out the plan of action and the route to achieve our objective”.

The pre-fabrication has been on since 1996 at Sompura Marbles in Pindwara town, Matashree Marble near Ajari village and Bharat Shilp Kala Kendra in Kojra of Rajasthan’s Sirohi district, bordering Narendra Modi’s Gujarat.

About 175 truckloads have so far been sent to Karsevakpuram in Ayodhya. Sources said the VHP has till now spent about Rs 3 crore at the three Rajasthan workshops.

The design, sketched on a cement platform built for the specific purpose at the three workshops, shows the break-up of the proposed structure. Each portion of the temple has a number so that the artisans in Ayodhya can build the temple in sequence.

Only the idols remain to be sculpted and the pillars and walls given finer touches at Karsevakpuram.

Work had begun in Ayodhya in 1991. To step up the pace, the job was farmed out in 1996 to the three Sirohi workshops after a ceremonial mahurat (inauguration). Work has been going on uninterrupted ever since.

According to the VHP, the proposed temple with 24 doors will be 268 ft long, 140 ft wide and 128 ft high. It will have 212 pillars: 106 on each floor, with 16 statues attached to each pillar. No iron will be used. The stones have been brought from Bansipaharpur in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur district, 600 km from here.

The idol of Ram Lalla will be installed in the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) on the ground floor, and the Ram darbar along with idols of Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman will be on the first floor.

Rajasthan has regularly contributed key elements to the proposed temple. Jaipur sculptor Chandresh Pandey had designed the temple model — now on display in Ayodhya — on a contract from the VHP.

Pandey had also designed the Ram Lalla and the Palki carried at the head of a VHP rally in Delhi some time ago. The Ram Lalla that was on show at the rally is supposed to be installed at the proposed temple.

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