Shri Ram Mandir, popularly known as Ayodhya Ram Mandir, is a Hindu temple located in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. As the name suggests, the temple is dedicated to Lord Shri Rama and is believed to have been built at Ram Janmabhoomi (the birthplace of Lord Shri Rama). This Ram Temple reflects the cultural and spiritual heritage associated with Lord Rama and holds immense cultural and religious significance for the Hindus.
This article of NEXT IAS aims to explain the diverse features of this revered temple along with its architectural design and multi-dimensional significance.
Important Facts about Ram Mandir
|Chandrakant Sompura, and his two sons – Nikhil Sompura and Ashish Sompura.
|IIT Guwahati, IIT Chennai, IIT Bombay, NIT Surat, Central Building Research Institute Roorkee, National Geo Research Institute Hyderabad, and the National Institute of Rock Mechanics.
|Larsen and Toubro (L&T)
|Project Management Company
|Tata Consulting Engineers Limited ( TCEL)
|Arun Yogiraaj (Mysore), Ganesh Bhatt and Satyanarayan Pandey
|70 Acre (70% green Area)
|Length – 380 Ft.
Width – 250 Ft.
Height – 161 Ft.
|Indian Nagar Style
|3 stories (floors)
|5th August 2020
|Proposed Date of Inauguration
|22nd January 2024
Major Construction Materials Used
The use of Steel or Iron has been completely avoided in the construction of Ram Mandir. Instead, traditional construction materials have been used in its construction to reflect an alignment with traditional building practices along with an emphasis on sustainability.
Major construction materials used in the construction of Ram Mandir are:
- Bansi Paharpur Pink Sandstone from Rajasthan’s Bharatpur district have been used in the main temple structure.
- Granite Stones have been used in the plinths
- White Makrana and Colored Marbles have been used for the inlay work
- Teakwood has been used for the construction of the doors of the temple.
- Special Bricks with “Shri Ram” inscribed on them have been used in its construction.
- These bricks, named Ram Shilas, draw a parallel with the stones used in the construction of Ram Setu, thus intertwining modern craftsmanship with ancient symbolism.
- Other Materials Used: Shaligram Rock, Copper Plates, Gold, and Ashtdhatu
Major Architectural Highlights of Ram Mandir
The grand dimensions and intricate details of the temple design can be summed up as a blend of artistic vision and traditional architectural prowess. Around 550 temples across India were studied to find the best possible architectural design for the Ram Mandir.
Some of the major architectural highlights of Ram Mandir can be seen as follows:
- A 14-metre thick layer of roller-compacted concrete, looking like an artificial rock, has been used to construct the foundation of the temple.
- A 21-foot-high plinth of Granite has been constructed for protection against ground moisture.
The Main Temple
- The main temple is built in Nagara Style.
- The original design for Ram Mandir was developed in 1988 by the Sompura family of Ahmedabad. However, in 2020, the old design was modified as per the Vastu Shastra and the Shilpa Shastra.
- This reflects a conscious effort to blend aesthetic grace with ancient wisdom.
- The Sompura family has a rich legacy of temple craftsmanship and has been associated with the design of some renowned Indian temples such as Somnath. Thus, their association brings a sense of continuity to the architectural design of the Ram Mandir and adds a historical and artistic dimension to it.
- The Mandir will have three stories (floors), with each story designed to give the devotees an experience of the various stages of Lord Rama’s divine journey.
- The ground floor of the temple has been designed to depict the story of the birth and childhood of Lord Rama.
- The first floor is designed like Lord Rama’s Darbaar.
- The revered temple consists of a total of five Mandaps (Hall) – Nritya Mandap, Rang Mandap, Sabha Mandap, Prarthna, and Kirtan Mandaps.
- The temple has a total of 44 doors, of which some will be coated with 100 kg gold.
- The main entrance to the temple is called the Singh Dwar. This entrance features a series of statues and busts of prominent characters from Ramayana.
- The pillars as well as walls of the temple are adorned with statues of deities as well as intricate carvings depicting India’s century-old history.
- All along the parikrama path, 100 events from Valmiki’s Ramayana have been engraved on the walkways and columns. The idea is to present Ram Katha Darshan.
The Temple Complex
- The temple is surrounded by a rectangular compound wall, called Parkota.
- The total length of this wall is 732 metres and its width is 14 feet.
- Along with the main Ram Mandir, the temple complex consists of several other religious structures:
- One temple has been built at each of the four corners of the compound. These temples are dedicated to Surya Dev, Devi Bhagwati, Ganesh Bhagwan, and Lord Shiva.
- The northern arm of the temple complex consists of a temple of Maa Annapurna and in the southern arm, there is a temple of Lord Hanuman.
- A historic well called Sita Koop is located near the temple. This dates back to the ancient era.
- Some other temples proposed to be constructed within the temple complex are those dedicated to Maharishi Vashishtha, Maharishi Valmiki, Maharishi Vishwamitra, Maharishi Agastya, Nishad Raj, Devi Ahilya, and Mata Shabri.
- Kuber Tila is located in the southwestern part of the complex. The ancient temple of Lord Shiva located in this part has been restored. Also, a bronze idol of the Ramayana character ‘Jatayu’ has been installed here.
- The temple complex consists of several independent infrastructures of its own
- A sewage treatment plant
- A water treatment plant
- A fire service
- An independent power station.
- A Pilgrims Facility Centre of 25,000 capacity to provide medical facilities and locker facilities to the pilgrims.
- A separate block with a bathing area, washrooms, washbasin, open taps, etc.
- Learning from the damage caused by lightning strikes to some old temples in Mathura and Kashi, around 200 KA light arresters have been installed over the temple structure.
- The temple complex includes a museum showcasing artifacts related to Lord Ram and the Ramayana. Thus. more than just a religious center, the Ram Mandir has been envisioned as a cultural and educational center as well.
Other Architectural Facets
- A time capsule has been placed approximately 2,000 feet below the ground, right underneath the temple. The capsule contains a copper plate inscribed with relevant information regarding the Ram Mandir, Lord Rama, and Ayodhya.
- The purpose of this time capsule is to ensure that the identity of the temple remains intact over time so that it doesn’t get forgotten in the future.
- The temple is an earthquake-resistant structure, with an estimated age of 2500 years.
- The idols are made up of 60 million years old Shaligram Rocks, brought from the Gandaki River (Nepal)
- The Bell is made of Ashtadhatu (Gold, Silver, Copper, Zinc, Lead, Tin, Iron, and Mercury)
- The Bell weighs 2100 Kg
- The sound of the bell can be heard up to a distance of 15 Km.
The Nagara Style of Temple Architecture
This is a style of temple architecture that developed around the 5th century AD onwards and has been prevalent in North India since then. Apart from some basic elements possessed by all Hindu temples, this temple style possesses some unique features of its own.
Basic Elements of Hindu Temple
- Sanctum Sanctorum – It is also known as Grabhgriha. It is a small room which houses the principal deity of the temple.
- Mandapa – It refers to a portico or assembly hall which leads to the Sanctum Sanctorum.
- Shikhara – It refers to a mountain-like spire. Its shape may vary from pyramid to curvilinear.
- Vahana – It refers to the mount or vehicle of the main deity. It is placed just before the sanctum sanctorum.
Prominent Features of Nagara School of Architecture
- Panchayatan Style wherein the main shrine is built on a rectangular plinth at the center of the temple complex. Along with this, four subsidiary shrines that are smaller in size are built at the 4 corners of the temple complex.
- Images of river goddesses, Ganga and Yamuna, are placed outside the Garbhagriha.
- The temple is usually constructed on an upraised platform.
- The portico has a pillared approach.
- The vertical end of Shikhara is shaped like a horizontal fluted disc, called Amalak. On the top of the Amalak, a spherical shape is placed, called Kalash.
- There is an ambulatory passageway around the sanctum sanctorum, called Pradakshina Path.
Significance of Ram Mandir’s Construction
- Religious Significance: With the completion of the construction of Ram Mandir, the decades of religious clashes between Hindus and Muslims came to an end. This will promote religious harmony in the country.
- Cultural Significance: The Ayodhya and Ram Mandir are considered a symbol of the historical and cultural heritage of the country. Thus. construction of the temple is a step towards celebrating and preserving India’s cultural heritage.
- Promotion of Social Service: A large number of charitable institutions are expected to come up around the temple. These institutions will promote social service.
- Economic Significance: The Ram Mandir, as one of the main shrines of the Hindus, will boost tourism in the Ayodhya region. This, in turn, will stimulate economic growth in the region and create jobs.
- Infrastructural Significance: The construction of the Ram Temple has initiated the process of the infrastructural development of the Ayodhya region. Major infrastructure projects such as roads, and airports, followed by some industries are expected to come up in the region.
Ram Mandir and Ayodhya’s Rejuvenation
The construction of the Ram Temple has set the stage for the transformation of Ayodhya from an ancient city to a modern cultural and spiritual hub. With more than three lakh devotees expected to visit the city daily, a comprehensive plan for the redevelopment of Ayodhya has been prepared
The plan has been prepared after studying similar examples from across the world, including Vatican City, Cambodia, and Jerusalem, as well as those from India, such as Tirupati and Amritsar. Some of the important highlights of the plan include – minimization of congestion, efficient land use, a focus on Dharamshalas (inns) and homestays, and upgrading the infrastructure while retaining the historical and cultural character of the city.
Towards the implementation of the redevelopment plan, the government has launched over 200 developmental projects worth Rs 30,923 crores aimed at the makeover of the city. Some of the important projects launched for the rejuvenation of Ayodhya are:
- Modern infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, sewage systems, and utilities are being designed to accommodate the needs of a growing population and tourism.
- A series of beautification projects have been launched to beautify the entire city, including old Ashrams, ancient ponds, and temples. These projects aim to make Ayodhya “the most beautiful city in the world by 2024”
- Development of the Maryada Purshottam Shri Ram International Airport
- Rejuvenation of Ayodhya Junction along with flagging off six Vande Bharat and two Amrit Bharat trains.
- Widening of roads leading to the Ram Temple is being done to ensure smooth traffic movement up to the temple.
- Some of the important roads selected for widening are Ram Janmabhoomi Path, Bhakti Path, Ram Path corridor, etc
- Construction and widening of the National Highways and other important roads that pass through Ayodhya city.
- Some of the important such roads are the Lucknow-Ayodhya section of NH-27, the EPC mode of Ayodhya bypass on NH-27, etc
- Construction of new river fronts and rehabilitation of pre-built ghats.
- The 7 KM stretch from Guptar Ghat to Naya Ghat is being developed on the line of the Gomti River Front.
- A luxury cruise from the Naya Ghat is also planned.
- Construction of some township and residential projects such as the Greenfield Township Project, Vashishtha Kunj Residential Project, etc
- Theme parks, resorts, and hotels are being developed in the city.
Learnings from the Ram Mandir Construction Project
- Indigenization of technologies: The temple has been constructed using entirely India’s traditional and indigenous technology.
- Incorporation of Modern Technology: Advanced digital documentation techniques, including 3D mapping and virtual reality, have been employed to preserve the construction process and details. This is aimed to enable future generations to experience and study the temple’s construction in a technologically advanced manner.
- Secularism: The participation of people from various religious communities in the construction of the Ram Mandir has added to fostering the secular fabric of the nation.
- Cultural Integration: Holy water from 150 rivers across India was used in the Bhoomi Pujan ceremony. This ritual signified that the temple stands as a testament to broader cultural integration and also underscored the most fundamental feature of Indian society – unity in diversity.
- Social Inclusion: Ramps and lifts have been installed in the temple for the convenience of the differently-abled and elderly.
- Environmental Sustainability: Special emphasis has been put on eco-friendly practices in the temple’s construction.
- Its constructional aspects put special emphasis on environment and water conservation. E.g. 70% of the temple complex area has been left green.
- The use of locally sourced materials and energy-efficient design elements is aimed at ensuring the focus on sustainability and minimizing environmental impact.
- Conservation and Preservation: Placing a Time Capsule underneath the temple is a forward-looking gesture that reflects a commitment to preserving the cultural and historical significance of the temple for future generations.
- Transparency: Throughout the construction of the temple, complete transparency was maintained in reporting the progress. This kept the devotees informed and engaged in the temple’s development.
- Cultural Diplomacy: Soil from Thailand is to be used in the consecration ceremony of Lord Rama’s statute. Along with reinforcing the universal appeal of Ayodhya as a spiritual center, this symbolizes that Lord Rama’s legacy transcends geographical boundaries.
In conclusion, more than just a religious temple, the Ram Mandir represents a confluence of faith, history, and architectural brilliance. The temple stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Lord Rama and the collective spirit of the nation. With the temple expected to serve as a beacon, guiding the spiritual and cultural aspirations of future generations, the construction of the temple is just the start of India’s cultural renaissance.