THE first phase of the Ram temple in India’s northern town of Ayodhya will be completed in December and will open to devotees in January, an official said on Thursday (14).
The site where the temple was built was bitterly contested for years, with both Hindus and Muslims laying claim to it.
Hindus say the site was the birthplace of Lord Ram, and was holy to them long before Mughals built the Babri mosque there in 1528. A Hindu mob destroyed the mosque in 1992, triggering riots that killed about 2,000 people across India.
India’s Supreme Court awarded the site to Hindus in 2019, paving the way for the construction of a Hindu temple, a plan long supported by prime minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Hindu-nationalist party.
Modi has been invited to take part in the prayers at the opening ceremony, Nripendra Misra, chairman of the Shri Ramjanmabhoomi Temple Construction Committee, told reporters.
“The ground floor (of the temple) will be completed in December 2023 and once it is completed and once the lord has moved to the sanctum sanctorum …we have to permit devotees to come and pray,” Misra said.