Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Wednesday perform the groundbreaking ceremony to mark the commencement of the Ayodhya Ram temple construction, bringing to conclusion a movement that has had a significant impact on India's political landscape. Notably, this is Modi's first visit to the temple town in the last 29 years. However, ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Modi had addressed a rally at Faizabad-Ambedkar Nagar.
The prime minister reached Ayodhya through Lucknow at around 11:30 am and offered prayers at Hanumangarhi, the seat of Lord Hanuman after which he arrived at the Ram Janmabhoomi makeshift temple.
The duration of the foundation stone-laying ceremony is around 15 minutes, between 12.30 pm and 12.45 pm, and will be conducted in the presence of 175 eminent guests. PM Modi will share the dais with UP CM Yogi Adityanath, governor Anandiben Patel, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and temple trust president Nritya Gopal Das.
The historic event is being viewed by many as the culmination of one of India's longest movements that has reverberated with scores across the country.
Five silver bricks will also be set inside the sanctum sanctorum during the 'bhoomi pujan' ceremony. The first will be laid by PM Modi. The five bricks are believed to symbolise the five planets as per the Hindu mythology. Besides this, the PM will also plant a Parijat tree and launch a postal stamp to mark the occasion.
Chief Minister Adityanath had urged the people to watch the ceremony from their homes in view of coronavirus situation and had also asked them to light lamps on Tuesday evening.
The 'bhumi pujan' comes ten months after the historic Supreme Court verdict which put an end to one of India's longest court disputes. Elaborate preparations have been made ahead of the grand event and more than 3,500 security personnel have been stationed throughout Ayodhya. In view of the coronavirus crisis, the authorities have advised people to not throng to the temple town and have instead advised them to mark the occasion in their homes.
Banners and posters displaying pictures of the Ram temple and Ram Lalla have been placed along roads leading to the site. However, borders of the district have been shut.