• Sunday, May 26, 2024

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Ayodhya takes centre stage as Ram Navami festivities sweep India

Narendra Modi said the occasion weaves together centuries of devotion with a new era of hope and progress

Narendra Modi watches the Surya Tilak on Ram Lalla on Ram Navami (Photo: X)

By: Pramod Thomas

RAM NAVAMI was celebrated on Wednesday (17) across the country with joyous processions and special prayers, as Ayodhya’s Ram temple witnessed grand festivities to mark the first Ram Navami after its consecration, a day described as a “generational milestone” by prime minister Narendra Modi.

Modi greeted people on the festival, which commemorates the birth of Lord Ram, saying the occasion weaves together centuries of devotion with a new era of hope and progress.

Shobha yatras, pujas and special events were organised across the length and breadth of the country, but nowhere the celebrations were as grand as in Ayodhya, considered the birth place of Lord Ram.

Devotees began queuing up outside the newly consecrated temple before the dawn and the holy city reverberated with the chants of Jai Shree Ram.

A meticulously designed system of four mirrors and two lenses directed a ray of sunlight on the forehead of Ram Lalla in the sanctum sanctorum, performing the ‘Surya Tilak’ of the idol at 12.00 pm.

“After my Nalbari rally, I watched the Surya Tilak on Ram Lalla. Like crores of Indians, this is a very emotional moment for me. The grand Ram Navami in Ayodhya is historic. May this Surya Tilak bring energy to our lives and may it inspire our nation to scale new heights of glory,” Modi said in a post on X following his Lok Sabha poll rally in Assam’s Nalbari.

”This much-awaited moment at the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi is a moment of \Rbliss for everyone. This ‘Surya tilak’ will illuminate every resolution of developed India with its divine energy in the same way.”

“The first Ram Navami after the Pran Pratishtha in Ayodhya is a generational \Rmilestone , weaving together centuries of devotion with a new era of hope and progress. This is a day crores of Indians waited for,” Modi said in a series of posts on X.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath also shared a video of the ‘Surya Tilak’ on his official handle on X.

Abhay Karandikar, decretary, Department of Science and Technology, said Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru, played a crucial role in the Surya Tilak project.

“The team led by @IIABengaluru carried out calculations of the Sun’s position, designed and optimized the optical system, and performed the integration and alignment at the site,” he said.

With the first phase of polling for the Lok Sabha elections less than 48 hours away, security was tightened in parts of the country, and the administration made elaborate arrangements for Ram Navami as some incidents of violence were reported on Ram Navami during previous years.

The small Hindu community of the Srinagar city celebrated the festival by taking out a Shobha Yatra in the summer capital amidst tight security.

The yatra started from the Zaindar Mohalla in the old city and culminated at Tankipora after passing through Habbakadal, Barbarshah, Lal Chowk, Hari Singh High Street and Jehangir Chowk.

In Jharkhand, the festival was celebrated across the state with long queues seen outside temples as the administration deployed police personnel and used drones to monitor religious gatherings.

A large number of devotees participated procession in Bihar’s capital Patna.
In West Bengal, political leaders joined Ram Navami processions along with common participants.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee greeted the people of the state on the occasion and appealed to them to maintain peace.

Despite the administration forbidding display of arms in public, people carried swords in processions in Howrah.

The state-run Jadavpur University in Kolkata withdrew the permission it gave to RSS-affiliated ABVP to celebrate Ram Navami on the campus amid protests by Left-backed students’ organisations.

In Telangana, the festival was celebrated with traditional fervour with the highlight being the ‘Sri Sita Rama Kalyanam’ (celestial wedding of Lord Ram and Sita) in the temple town of Bhadrachalam on the banks of Godavari river.

The tradition in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh is to offer ‘vadapappu’ (soaked moong dal) and ‘panakam’ (made by mixing jaggery, pepper powder and cardamom power in water) as ‘prasadam’ to Lord Ram on Sri Rama Navami.

(PTI)

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