Ayodhya (UP), February 2
Two 'sacred rocks' excavated from the Kaligandaki river of Nepal to build a statue of Lord Ram in Ayodhya was handed to the Ram Mandir Trust on Thursday.
At a ceremony in Ayodhya earlier in the day, Janaki Temple Mahantha Ram Tapeshwor Das handed over the rocks or "Shaligram" to the general secretary of Tirtha Chhetra Trust Champat Roy.
Senior Nepali Congress leader and former Home Minister Bimalendra Nidi had taken a lead to excavate the two rocks. "It took us eight days to reach Ayodhya from Nepal," he said at the ceremony. The eight-day journey was called 'Shila Yatra'.
Hindus consider rocks from the river, which started flowing south after the formation of the Himalayas 65 million years ago, as "very sacred".
The rocks would be used to sculpt a life-size statue of Ram Lala or Lord Ram as a child.
After a decision was taken to construct the temple, its construction organising committee had been looking for sacred rocks from Nepal and approached Nidi following which he found the sacred rocks.
Thousands of people welcomed and worshipped the rocks while they were being transported from Nepal to Ayodhya.
Both the rocks are seven feet long, five feet wide, and 3.5 feet thick, according to the organising committee. They weigh between 16 and 18 tonnes.
On January 19, a team of temple trustees of Ayodhya arrived in Kathmandu in order to transport the rocks and met Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal.
The river is famous for its ammonite fossils that Hindus worship as Shaligram, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
En route to India, the boulders reached Janakpurdhan, the birthplace of Goddess Sita, wife of Lord Rama, at the weekend. There, a special puja was organised.
In Ayodhya, the boulders will have to go through an elaborate religious ritual. According to the organisers, sculpting of the statue will begin from this month.
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