India’s Ayodhya Ram Mandir temple inaugurated by Modi



Hindu devotees stay in tents at a camp for people arriving to attend the temple’s opening in Ayodhya, India, on Friday. Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP

An idol of Lord Ram, one of Hinduism’s most revered deities, will be unveiled inside the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, in consecration ceremony conducted by Modi and broadcast to millions. 

More than 7,000 people have been invited to attend the ceremony in person, including high-profile politicians who are flying in from across the vast country to take part. 

Some 100 chartered planes are expected to land in Ayodhya on Monday, with hotel prices surging and last-minute bookings costing upwards of $1,200 per day, according to local media reports. 

Gifts have been arriving in Ayodhya from artists and jewelers ahead of the inauguration, including a 2,100 kg (about 4,630 lbs) gold bell, a giant lamp weighing 1,100 kg (about 2,425 lbs), and an incense stick 108 feet long which will burn for more than a month.  

Since January 16, priests have been conducting prayers and performing rituals as workers move the idol into the temple’s complex. Senior leaders of the BJP have given numerous television interviews about the events, with Indian news channels running 24/7 coverage about the temple’s festivities. 


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