Call for Ram temple in gold
The heir and deputy to one of Hinduism’s topmost religious leaders on Sunday conjured the dream of the world’s tallest shrine — made entirely of gold — being erected to Ram in Ayodhya, either on the formerly disputed 2.77 acres or elsewhere.
Swami Avimukteshwaranand said his guru Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati, the Shankaracharya of Dwarka Peeth, has decided to build the 1,008ft tall golden Ram temple in consultation with leading sadhus from across the country.
He would not say how the temple — which will dwarf the planet’s current tallest religious building by over 300 feet — would be funded.
“We’ll find a suitable plot in Ayodhya town. It would be better, though, if the Centre hands us the earmarked land (2.77 acres),” Avimukteshwaranand told reporters.
According to most travel websites, the world’s tallest religious building is the 690ft Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco, although Cambodia’s tourism authorities claim the Angkor Wat is 699 feet “from the ground to the top of the central tower”.
Among the tallest religious buildings are the La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona at 560 feet, Ulm Minster in Germany at 530 feet and St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican at 448 feet. However, a 700ft temple, the Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir, is coming up in Vrindavan, Mathura.
On November 9, the Supreme Court handed the 2.77-acre plot to Hindus and asked the Centre to form a trust that will facilitate the construction of a Ram temple there. However, some Muslim groups and individuals have decided to file a review petition which, if rejected, would leave them the option of a curative petition.
“It will take time for the Centre to implement the court order. There are many hurdles. So we decided to build a Ram temple in Ayodhya soon,” Avimukteshwaranand said.
“A cast artist from Chennai has drawn a blueprint of the gold temple, which will be a blend of northern and southern architecture. It will have a hall attached to the kitchen where 108,000 people can sit and eat prasad at a time.”
The Shankaracharya lives in Varanasi with his deputy most of the time although he visits Dwarka regularly. The pontiff heads a Ram Janmabhoomi Ramalay Trust in Ayodhya, and Avimukteshwaranand is its secretary.
Avimukteshwaranand said the Ramalay Trust was formed in Ayodhya in 1995 on the suggestion of then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao and in the presence of 25 senior sadhus.
The Shankaracharya has always been close to the Congress, and Rao wanted a pro-Congress trust set up in Ayodhya that would rival the VHP’s Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas as a platform for planning a future Ram temple. The Ramalay Trust has, however, been far less visible than the Nyas.
Avimukteshwaranand said that if the Centre agreed, the Ramalay Trust would first build a small golden temple on the chosen site and transfer to it the idols of Ram, Sita and Lakshman from the makeshift temple that stands on the 2.77 acres.
“We have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah to accept our plan so the idols can be installed on Makar Sankranti, which falls on January 15 next year,” he said. “We’ll make the model of the gold temple public in Ayodhya on December 7.”
Ayodhya review plea
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) on Sunday asserted that 99 per cent of Muslims in the country want a review of the Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya. The AIMPLB, which was not a party to the law suit, has said a review petition will be filed. PTI