Ayodhya, January 23
The doors of the Ram temple in Ayodhya opened to the general public on Tuesday, a day after the consecration of the Ram Lalla idol.
A large number of devotees, both locals and visitors from other states, gathered outside the main gates for hours since late on Monday night, waiting to enter the premises.
Carrying flags bearing visages of Lord Ram and chanting “Jai Shri Ram”, the devotees waited for hours in the biting cold before the doors of the grand temple opened.
"Felt so delighted, my life's aim has been fulfilled. Our ancestors struggled for this and it has been brought to fruition. The arrangement should continue like this and the name of Lord Ram should reign for ages," said Manish Verma, a devotee from Punjab.
An idol of the Ram Lalla was consecrated at the Ayodhya temple on Monday, a landmark event led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who also gave a clarion call to go beyond the grand mandir's construction to build the foundation of a "strong, capable and divine" India of the next 1,000 years.
A large number of the invitees, including seers, later had a 'darshan' of the deity soon after the consecration ceremony ended.
For the general public, the doors of the temple opened on Tuesday morning.
Waiting in the serpentine queues outside the temple were people who have been camping in Ayodhya since before the consecration ceremony, having made long and difficult journeys to reach the temple town.
Nitish Kumar, a resident of Bihar's Madhepura district, cycled more than 600 kilometres to reach Ayodhya.
"There is a massive rush but I am hopeful that I will get a chance to have 'darshan' today. I will start my journey back once my wish is fulfilled. Though I couldn't go to the temple on Monday, what a day it was to be in Ayodhya," he told PTI.
Anurag Sharma from Rajasthan's Sikar was seen walking around with a model of the temple on the day of the consecration ceremony.
"I brought this model with me from my hometown. I arrived on the inaugural flight to Ayodhya and have been here since then. I will go back only after having a 'darshan' of Ram Lalla," he told PTI.
Groups of people could also be seen marching towards the temple, passing through the decked-up Ram Path.
"Ram Lalla gave us the strength to walk all the way from Chhattisgarh and now He only will get us through this crowd so we can take His blessings," said Sunil Madho, part of an eight-member group that undertook a 'padyatra' to Ayodhya.
Maharashtra native Gopal Krishna, who arrived in Ayodhya a few days ago, said, "We came here a few days ago as Lord Ram called us. People were telling us not to travel as police would impose restrictions on travel and rooms would not be available in hotels. We are staying at an ashram and this is the day we waited for," he told PTI.
He was accompanied by a few friends with whom he travelled in a four-wheeler to Ayodhya from Akola district.
The gates of the temple, decorated with flowers and lights, turned into selfie spots for the devotees as they gathered to join the queues.
The devotees chanted "Jai Shri Ram" as they walked in and out of the temple complex. Inside the main temple, "Jai Shri Ram" chants reverberated in its grand halls.
The temple complex, built in the traditional Nagara style, is 380 feet long from the east to the west, 250 feet wide and will eventually rise to 161 feet at the 'shikhar'. It is supported by 392 pillars and has 44 doors.
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