Ayodhya (UP), Jan 21 (PTI) "I did not want to take the photograph of Lord Ram but etch his image in my heart instead," said Amit Pathak, a resident of Tulsinagar in Ayodhya, a day ahead of the 'Pran Pratishtha' ceremony at the Ram temple.
The residents of Ayodhya are awaiting their "tryst with divinity" on January 22.
While talking to PTI, the voice of Pathak, whose house is around one kilometre from the newly-constructed Ram temple, choked with emotions.
Pathak works in Lucknow and he had made up his mind that he would be in Ayodhya on January 22. "I was mentally prepared to walk down to Ayodhya in case I did not get any bus or any other vehicle. However, by the grace of Prabhu Shri Ram, I got a bus and I arrived in Ayodhya on Friday itself," he said, and added that he is falling short of words to express himself.
"When the Babri mosque was razed, I was two years old. My mother used to take me to the Ram temple. Now, after January 22 ceremony, I will take my mother to the newly-constructed Ram temple," Pathak added.
Expressing happiness over the upcoming consecration ceremony, Ayodhya-based homoeopathy doctor Dr Indroneel Banerjee told PTI, "It is such a moment for the people of Ayodhya which can never be forgotten. The people here have waited for this day for the past few generations. Ayodhya has the potential to become the spiritual capital of the country. After being sidelined for years together, I think Ayodhya's time has come. Having been overlooked by successive governments, the people of Ayodhya have seen difficult days. Now, it is our time under the Sun right now." Another resident, Prajjwal Singh, said, "We are standing on the threshold of history. We are eager to be an integral part of the 'Pran Pratishtha' celebrations of Ram Lalla. It is certainly a historic moment for us and for our generation, as we have seen our ancestors facing hardships. The tears, sweat, toil and the sacrifices they have made are being reaped by us today." He added that his family members, relatives, friends and neighbours are also deeply engrossed in the celebrations which are likely to go on till the month-end.
Mahendra Shukla, a Samajwadi Party corporator, said all the people of Ayodhya are feeling happy. Everybody is going out of the way to help the visitors so that they do not face any problems here and go with pleasant memories, he added.
Atul Kumar, a resident of Naya Ghat area of Ayodhya, said January 22 is going to be a historic day not only for Ayodhya or Uttar Pradesh but also for the country, for the world and for the entire humanity.
Terming the ceremony as the "first phase of Ram rajya", Saurabh Mishra said, "After the 'Pran Pratishtha' ceremony, the entire world is going to embrace Lord Ram. It will be soaked in devotion of Prabhu Shri Ram.
Echoing similar sentiments, Anvesh Mishra, who runs a guest house, said, "This is going to the biggest event in the history of Ayodhya so far. Certainly, this will be a 'Tryst with Divinity' moment for me, for my family members and for entire Ayodhya residents. This is my luck that I am able to witness the history unfolding before my own eyes and that I am a resident of Ayodhya, where the special event is taking place. We are going to treasure this moment for the rest of our lives." The much-awaited Ram temple consecration will be held here on Monday in a grand ceremony with Prime Minister Narendra Modi attending the rituals, following which the shrine will be opened for the public a day later.
The 'Pran Pratishtha' ceremony will begin at 12.20 pm and is expected to end by 1 pm. The prime minister will then address a gathering of more than 7,000 people, including seers and prominent personalities, at the venue.
Lakhs of people are expected to watch the event live on TV and online platforms as the BJP-ruled states and Odisha have declared a holiday while the central government has announced a half-day off.
As authorities made final preparations in a decked up Ayodhya, considered the birthplace of Lord Ram, temples across the country and abroad have announced special festivities to mark the occasion. PTI NAV KSS KSS SKY SKY