Eight clergymen from Ayodhya, 5 every from Varanasi and Delhi and three from Tamil Nadu carried out the Gauri Ganesh Puja at the Ram Janmabhoomi web site on Monday morning, marking the start of three-day Vedic rituals forward of the foundation-laying ceremony.
Jai Prakash Upadhyay, a priest from Varanasi, presided over the ceremony.
“The ceremony began with Gauri Ganesh puja as per Hindu tradition. Before any auspicious work, lord Ganesh is worshipped. So, before construction of Ram Mandir, this ritual was performed,” said Mahant Kamal Nayan Das, successor designate of Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, the temple belief chief.
“Ganesh puja continued for two hours. On Tuesday Ramacharya puja will be performed,” added Das.
The web site was embellished with saffron flags marigold flowers and the rituals had been carried out at the place the place the sanctum sanctorum of the proposed Ram temple will come up. Special puja was additionally carried out at the prevailing makeshift temple. “Apart from routine puja, special ‘arti’ of Ram was performed,” added Das. The rituals occurred under a large water-proof pandal. “In all temples, big and small, across Ayodhya, special puja was performed, said Das.
In the evening, festivities began as temples and houses across the city were decorated with earthen lamps and rangolis. Local residents thronged to the Naya Ghat on the banks of the Saryu river that shimmered under the light.
All roads are being regularly cleaned by a 500-people strong team of sanitation workers. Murals and images depicting scenes from the Ramayana have been drawn on the main roads and buildings have been painted yellow.
“Yellow is an auspicious colour. In Hindu tradition, yellow is used in all ceremonies. It symbolises purity and light,” said Mahant Kamal Nayan Das, successor-designate to Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, chairman of the belief.
Local residents said they had been having fun with the facelift Ayodhya had obtained. “Ayodhya has donned an altogether new look. It is also because of Prime Minister’s arrival for bhumi pujan of Ram Mandir,” said Rajan Patel, 30.
His pals, Satyendra Gupta, 32, hoped for growth initiatives. “A lot of activity is going on in Ayodhya. Many projects are underway. We are hopeful that Ram Mandir will also bring development to Ayodhya,” he said.