The air in Ayodhya hums with anticipation vibrates with chants, and shimmers with anticipation. The long-awaited Ram Mandir opening is upon us, and a week of elaborate rituals unfolds starting Friday, January 19th, culminating in the grand consecration on January 22nd.
Friday, January 19th
The day awakens with the sacred fire – Agni Sthapana, a ritual to establish the divine fire that will witness the entire consecration. Navagraha Sthapana follows, where the nine celestial bodies are invoked and consecrated, ensuring cosmic harmony for the temple. The day concludes with Havana, a fire ceremony offering oblations to various deities, seeking their blessings.
Saturday, January 20th
Dawn breaks with a ritual purification of the sanctum sanctorum – Abhishek. Holy water from the Saryu River imbued with celestial energy, washes away any imperfections. Later, Vaastu Shanti, a ceremony appeasing the earth's energies, ensures harmony and balance within the temple. In the evening, Annadhivas, an offering of food to deities and ancestors, expresses gratitude and acknowledges their presence.
Sunday, January 21st
The divine bath – Madhyadhivas – awaits the idols of Lord Ram and Sita. Bathed in 125 pots of holy water, the deities are revitalised and prepared for their entry into the sanctum sanctorum. Later, Abhisekam and Shringar adorn the deities with exquisite ornaments and precious garments, enhancing their divine radiance.
Monday, January 22nd
The moment we have all been holding on for! The auspicious Mrigashira Nakshatra dawns, and with it, the capstone of the week-long journey. In a grand rite, the Murti Sthapana, the icons of Lord Ram, Sita, Lakshmana, Bharat, and Hanuman are eventually placed in their eternal abode – the sanctum sanctorum. The culmination of centuries of hope, faith, and devotion, marks the birth of a new period for Ayodhya, and indeed, for all the Hindus.
These are just glimpses into the intricate chain of rituals that will unfold in the coming days. Each step, each chant, holds immense meaning, carrying the hopes and prayers of millions. As we witness this major event, let us remember the long road we have walked, the strength of faith, and the unifying power of devotion. May the bells of Ayodhya ring out, not just in sound, but in the hearts of people far and wide, bringing peace, harmony, and blessings to all.