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Rediff.com  » News » 5 lakh visit Ram temple on Day 1 as cops struggle to control crowd

5 lakh visit Ram temple on Day 1 as cops struggle to control crowd

By Kunal Dutt, Gunjan Sharma and Arunav Sinha
Last updated on: January 24, 2024 02:18 IST
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Around five lakh devotees visited the Ram temple complex on day one as it opened its doors to the public on Tuesday, a day after the consecration ceremony, according to officials.

IMAGE: Devotees throng at the entry gate of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi temple to offer prayers in Ayodhya. Photograph: Shrikant Singh/ANI Photo

The entry to the temple complex began at 6 am.

A massive crowd that swelled by the hour and became unmanageable in the afternoon thronged the main gateway to the Ram temple in Ayodhya as it opened its doors to the public.

 

Ram Path -- the main thoroughfare -- was choked as devotees flooded the streets of the temple town.

The total footfall at the temple complex on day one was around 5 lakh, according to Director of Information (Uttar Pradesh government), Shishir.

Till 8.30 pm, about 4 lakh people likely visited the temple, Ayodhya Divisional Commissioner Gaurav Dayal told PTI, adding that the figure stood at around 2.5 lakh at 2 pm.

IMAGE: Devotees wait to enter the Lord Ram temple. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

The last entry of visitors was at 10 pm.

As crowd began to build up at the temple complex, later in the evening, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath conducted an aerial inspection of the temple site and the city, officials said.

Adityanath, in a post on X, said, 'Conducted an on-site inspection of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi temple complex in Ayodhya today. Necessary guidelines were also given to the officials to ensure easy and convenient darshan of Ram Lalla and to run all the necessary arrangements smoothly.'

He also visited the temple and held a discussion with the trust officials about the crowd management.

Earlier in the day, waiting in serpentine queues outside the temple were people who had been camping in Ayodhya since before the consecration ceremony, having made long and difficult journeys to reach here.

IMAGE: Police officers try to control the crowd outside the temple. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Ram Lalla's idol was consecrated at the Ayodhya temple on Monday, a landmark event led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On Tuesday, 'Ram dhun' played in the streets as security personnel kept guard and sought to control the crowd.

For a couple of hours in the afternoon, the crowd became so huge that the security personnel scrambled to maintain order.

The entire section of the Ram Path, facing the gateway, was blocked as many devotees, some of whom landed with suitcases and backpacks, wanted to have a Ram Lalla's 'darshan'.

IMAGE: A devotee crosses the police barricade as she tries to enter the temple after its inauguration in Ayodhya. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

At the main gateway, the commotion in the crowd led to one devotee fainting and having to be taken for medical treatment.

There was a 'sudden massive rush' in the morning and the people were continuously streaming in, Dayal said.

The administration is taking measures to keep the crowd in order, 'with proper holding (area), queuing and barricading', he added.

Information Director Shishir said more than 8,000 policemen are deployed at the temple and 'everything is under control'.

IMAGE: Security personnel stand guard as devotees arrive at the temple. Photograph: Shrikant Singh/ANI Photo

Ayodhya police, in a post on X, also refuted rumours that the temple was temporarily closed due to the heavy rush.

Security guards later made a semi-circular human fence to manage the crowd as other personnel made announcements on loudspeakers to keep order.

Carrying flags bearing the visages of Lord Ram and chanting 'Jai Shri Ram', the devotees waited for hours in the biting cold before the doors of the grand temple opened early in the morning.

"Felt so delighted, my life's aim has been fulfilled. Our ancestors struggled for this and it has been brought to fruition," Punjab resident Manish Verma said..

IMAGE: Police officers scuffle with devotees as they try to control the crowd. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Nitish Kumar from Bihar's Madhepura district, cycled more than 600 kilometres to reach Ayodhya.

"There is a massive rush but I am hopeful I will get a chance to have 'darshan' today. I will start my journey back once my wish is fulfilled. Though I couldn't go to the temple on Monday, what a day it was to be in Ayodhya," he told PTI.

Anurag Sharma from Rajasthan's Sikar was seen walking around with a model of the temple on the day of the consecration ceremony.

"I brought this model with me from my hometown. I arrived on the inaugural flight to Ayodhya and I have been here since then. I will go back only after having a 'darshan' of Ram Lalla," he told PTI.

IMAGE: A devotee takes a selfie at the entry gate of the temple. Photograph: Shrikant Singh/ANI Photo

"Ram Lalla gave us the strength to walk from Chhattisgarh and now he only will get us through this crowd so we can take His blessings," said Sunil Madho, part of an eight-member group that undertook a 'padyatra' to Ayodhya.

Maharashtra native Gopal Krishna, who arrived in Ayodhya a few days ago, also jostled in the thick crowd as it moved towards the security check.

"People were telling us to not travel as police would impose restrictions on travel and rooms would not be available in hotels. We are staying at an ashram and this is the day we waited for," he told PTI.

The temple complex, built in the traditional Nagara style, is 380-foot-long from the east to the west, 250 feet wide and will eventually rise to 161 feet at the 'shikhar'.

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Kunal Dutt, Gunjan Sharma and Arunav Sinha
Source: PTI© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
 
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