Ayodhya: High in demand from US, NZ, Ram temple models fly off shelves

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Ayodhya: Ahead of the consecration ceremony of the upcoming Ram temple in Ayodhya, demand for its wooden models have gone up, with one manufacturing unit even claiming to have received orders from the US and New Zealand.

The models mimic the design of the grand temple being constructed at the Ramjanmabhoomi site.

The models stand on a base which bears a label in Hindi, such as 'Shri Ram Mandir Ayodhya' or 'Shri Ramjanmabhoomi Mandir Ayodhya'.

In addition to these temple models, metallic rings, lockets and other cloth items bearing Lord Ram's name are flying off the shelves in Ayodhya, according to shopkeepers.

On the New Year's Day, a PTI team visited a workshop that is engaged in the sale of such wares in Sahadatganj area of Faizabad town neighbouring Ayodhya.

Models of different sizes, both finished and unfinished, lay scattered at the unit, while a staffer patiently glued together small parts at work, deftly and patiently.

According to Aditya Singh, owner of Awadh Aditya company that manufactures display boards, advertising boards and other items, and wooden Ram temple models for the last couple of years, the demand for his products has jumped manifold lately.

"There is a big rise in demand for these wooden models, especially the 'pocket' Ram mandir, locally in Ayodhya. We supply to local markets and other places too. Currently, we are also getting huge orders from other states of the country," Singh told PTI.

The term 'pocket model' refers to a 4 inch-long, 2.5 inch-wide and 5 inch-high mini-model that costs Rs 100 a piece, he said.

In the streets of Ayodhya, the 'pocket Mandir' model is in "big demand".

Singh said his firm has secured orders not just from all across India, but abroad too.

"We have received orders for two Ram temple models from someone in the US, and two from New Zealand as well. The US client's (an Indian living in the US) order is for the model measuring 18 inch-long, 10 inch-wide and 12 inch-high," he added.

The orders from New Zealand's client, a person of Indian-origin, are for the temple model measuring 10 inch-long, 6 inch-wide and 8 inch-high, Singh said.

Other sizes of the model include those measuring 5 inch-long, 3 inch-wide and 6 inch-high, with the biggest being 25 inch-long, 14 inch-wide and 20 inch-high.

The largest model costs Rs 8,000 a piece, Singh said.

Many shops selling religious ware along the Ram Path in Ayodhya display these imposing models to attract customers, several of whom are drawn to these figurines.

Hrithik Gupta of 'Avadh Dharmik & Photo Framing' shop, located along the Ram Path, said people are bagging all kinds of temple models.

"The highest selling one is the model that is the smallest in size (priced Rs 100). Everything is in demand, big, medium, small (in sizes). This spike in demand will remain till the 'pran pratishtha' and, I feel it will sell after that too, throughout this year," he told PTI in between attending to customers.

'Jai Shri Ram' rings and keychains, bracelets, religious statues, everything is selling swiftly.

"Any item that bears 'Ram ka Naam' is hot right now," Gupta added.

Over one lakh devotees are expected to descend on Ayodhya on January 22 for the Ram temple's 'pran pratishtha,' which will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"In India, we are getting orders from Maharashtra, Goa, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat and other places too. Many are ordering in bulk, 100 pieces, but we have a limited manpower at present, so a maximum of 10 pieces per client, we can deliver till January 22," an employee of Awadh Aditya said.

At his office, attractive sign boards are kept on display, as are showpieces bearing the image or name of Lord Ram, in various materials.

A wooden showpiece bearing an image of Lord Ram in relief, also finds a prominent place in his office, while workers labour in the premises of the unit located in Salarpur neighbourhood of Sahadatganj.

Upendra Singh, a supervisor at the unit of Awadh Aditya, said, about 25 artisans are at work to prepare these models, and the plan is to expand the team.

Sitting at his working desk strewn with wooden pieces, he shows how "the assembling work is done, step by step".

"In one day, one worker can put together a maximum of five pieces," he added.

The firm uses pinewood MDF (medium-density fibre) sheets for raw material, which comes here from New Zealand, and is procured by a firm in Delhi.

"These sheets are then cut by a laser machine... And, assembling pillars takes maximum time," he said.

The Ram temple complex, built in the traditional Nagara style, will be 380 feet in length (east-west direction), 250 feet in width, and 161 feet in height, Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra general secretary Champat Rai had said earlier.

Each floor of the temple will be 20 feet high and have a total of 392 pillars and 44 gates.

Some temple models in the market carry a wooden flag, others a saffron-colour flag made of plastic-like material.

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