Experience of Ayodhya Ram Mandir Pran Pratishtha held on January 22 2024

  • By Chaitanya Chinchlikar
  • January 27, 2024
  • 10587 views
  • A first-hand account of the author’s visit to Ayodhya for the Pran Pratishtha ceremony with pictures of Ayodhya, ceremony and Ram Mandir.

Ever since I received the invitation for the प्राणप्रतिष्ठा सोहळा from the Shri Ramjanmabhoomi Ayodhya Teerthakshetra Nyas back in December, I wondered what the experience of being at the event would be like. And honestly, while I was expecting something great, I was not at all prepared for the absolute euphoric wave of unadulterated joy and positivity that I experienced at the pran pratishtha event of Ram Lalla’s vigraha, in Ayodhya, on Sukla Paksha Dwadashi Vikram Samvat 2080 or January 22 2024.

I have been home for just over two days now, and it has finally sunk in what pleasure and good fortune I had. And I have finally been able to look within to figure out what I felt that day and what I feel every time I remember that day and those moments…

Why there was a spontaneous wetting of the eyes and why I realised it only when everything started to look blurred, will never know. But the fact that it was so, is telling. There are moments which touch your soul deep within.

And I couldn’t get a smile off my face…

Anyway, let me start right from the beginning…

The invitation(s)…

Sometime in December 2023, I got the call… and then the letter… letting me know that I had been invited to Ayodhya for the Pran pratishtha. It was a thrilling day for me…

I was told that this electronic invite would be followed up by someone visiting my residence or office to personally invite me and deliver the invite. That happened in early January… Many thanks to Harsh Modi ji for doing this…

It is a good invite. It also had a booklet inside containing brief histories of many including of key karyakartas who had a role to play in the 500 year plus struggle to have the temple rebuilt.

Unfortunately, I lost the physical invite as I carried it with me to the mandir on Jan 22nd and in the tight crowd during the darshan, it must’ve fallen from my hands… Anyway, thankfully I have taken photos of it…

Closer to date, other invitations started to come in – for the dinner scheduled for the night before, from the Raja of Ayodhya at the Rajsadan Palace in Ayodhya…

The next communique was for us to digitally register ourselves, using the invite code which we had to link to our respective Aadhar numbers… Once we did that, we received a digital confirmation pass, including a QR code which was to be scanned for entry access to the venue.

 

Travel to Ayodhya…

On landing at the airport, we were greeted by enthusiastic VHP workers with garlands and Jai Shri Ram shouts…

Ayodhya town was looking fabulous

Lata Mangeshwar Chowk.

 

The dinner the night before, at Rajsadan…

With the Crown Prince of Ayodhya – Yatindra Mishra ji. (he also was our very gracious and generous host for the trip)

The morning of… the drive to the Mandir…

It was a fabulous 20 minutes. We left the hotel early, to try and beat the traffic and see some sights and how well the town was decked up…

Getting into the Mandir…

In a battery operated vehicle. 

And there the Ram Mandir was – Looking both magical and magnificent.

The temple complex was excellently decorated and done up… 

Thanks to the category of invitee I was (thanks to my boss, where I work and what I have been doing in education for the past many years), I was sitting bang in front of the temple, just to the right of the main steps…

I turned around to see who was sitting beside me – it was Nobel prize winner Shri Kailash Satyarthi…

As we settled, down, they started to have some performances… Starting with Sonu Nigam… And he was brilliant!!!

After performances by Sonu Nigam, Malini Awasthi, Shankar Mahadevan, Hariharan and Kailash Kher, the official ceremony began with the arrival of Champat Rai ji on the stage who gave a detailed overview of the mandir- its construction and what materials have come from which states and which people / companies were involved in its construction…

And then the ceremony began with the arrival of PM Modi…

The proceedings of the pran pratishtha ceremony were being streamed live on LED panels to the audience… and about 35-40 mins later, we saw the murti with Ram Lalla’s eyes open.

Here are the moments at the time of/just after the pran pratishtha-everyone ringing a घंटी that the organisers had handed over to us, and rose petals were being showered over the audience…

A short while after the pran pratishtha, PM Modi along with CM Yogi Adityanath, RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohanrao Bhagwat and others came out to the platform/stage and each of them spoke.

Some early moments of PM Modi’s address

PM Modi’s address was one of the best ones he’s done so far. I know most of you would have watched it already, but am putting it out here all the same…

After the speeches and the departure of PM Modi, they started to make announcements on the procedure for the audience to enter the mandir for darshan. They allowed us in groups, block by block. It was rather chaotic, especially because the sadhus were really rushing forward with lots of hustling and people (as expected) abandoned all sanity and ignored crowd movement/ crowd management rules that the organisers had laid down…

The entrance of the RamMandir…

And me entering the mandir…

The RamMandir is fantastically constructed and looks fabulous. WOW!!!

The first mandap of the RamMandir…

The 2nd mandap of the RamMandir and a video of the walk towards the gabhara / garbha-griha…

The last mandap of the RamMandir, just before the golden doors to the final mandap and the gabhara / garbh-griha…

And finally, after nearly half an hour (or maybe more), I was able to be within a few feet of Ram Lalla…

This was, without doubt, one of the most influential experiences of my life…

I was also thrilled to meet some people who I really respect…

Anil Agarwal of Vedanta…, J Sai Deepak, Nupur J Sharma and Ami Ganatra – each of who have played a stellar role in their respective fields of scholarship for Bharat…, Sunil Ambekar ji – Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh – RSS and one of my favourite people to talk to… When I asked him for a selfie, his response was “Chal lavkar kadh, mee duty war ahe re!” (quickly take it, I’m on duty). This is what is special and unique about the RSS-no matter the event, duty comes first…

With Sunil Ambekar ji. 

The journey back to Mumbai…

The journey back was eventful. Our charter flight was cancelled on the 22nd on account of bad weather, limited take-off/landing slots and pilot operating hours, so after waiting in the Ayodhya airport lounge for a few hours, we stayed back in a hotel in Ayodhya, arranged for us by the organisers… and travelled back to Mumbai on the 23rd afternoon. 

Let me end with some fantastic views of Maharashtra from the flight back (we were flying somewhere around Nashik I think).

And finally, some key observations, primarily about the organisation & planning of the event.

1. It was brilliantly planned. 

2. Three invite stages, linking the final invite to our aadhar and entry by scanning the QRCode, to ensure no people can enter with fake / fraudulent invitations.

3. Good planning at Ayodhya

The local transport allocations… Sending us printouts of the car passes in advance so that we could write the local car numbers once we got them and stick it on the car to avoid access issues.

4. Great organisation and management within the mandir premises by the RSS. People were given a separate breakfast box. The empty box was collected after people had finished eating. Any trash thrown on the floor was cleaned up. Then people were given a lunch box after the pranpratishtha, which was also a kind of prasad. That same box was collected too once everyone had eaten and all trash was cleaned up. 

5. They had thought of everything. For people who don’t eat grain, they had a different prasad-without grain. Bhagwan Ram clearly supports a gluten-free diet. 

The entry process into the mandir for darshan and the crowd management inside the mandir was the only thing that could have been better. Actually, it wasn’t weak as such. It is just that everyone was excited (especially the sadhus) and flouted the crowd management rules, so that ended up with a little bit of pushing-shoving in a tightly packed crowd.

I, like many others, had carried money / enveloped for hundi donation. Since the hundi boxes, etc were yet to be set up, the people inside the mandir refused to take the envelopes / cash but instead recommended that we donate online. This was BRILLIANT!!! Bhagwan Ram is now a part of Digtial India! 😁

All-in-all, this was an unbelievable, unexplainable experience that I will remember for a life-time.

We, 7-8 thousand people, experienced a collective wave of joy, euphoria and emotion that I have never experienced ever!!!

All I want to say now is – JAI SHRI RAM

To see article on author blog that has many more pictures and videos

eSamskriti is grateful author for giving permission us to share. 

All pictures and article are copyright author.

Also read

1. Rama in Tamil Nadu

2. Marathas and Ayodhya

3. Why making Ram Mandir is important for Asia

4. Architecture of Ram Mandir

5. What is Pran Pratistha

6. On Chanting the Name of SRI RAM

8. What is the deeper meaning behind the names of Sri Ram and his brothers

9. Adhyatma Ramayan marries Bhakti with Advaita Vedanta

10. Many versions of the Ramayana

11. A sacred journey to meet Pandit Ramashraya Tripathi Ji, a present-day disciple in the lineage of Goswami Tulsi Das

12. Pran Pratistha celebrations in USA

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