Hot spots that narrate the journey of Ram temple movement - Hindustan Times
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Hot spots that narrate the journey of Ram temple movement

Jan 22, 2024 08:46 AM IST

The Bada Sthan (on way from Hanuman Garhi to the then makeshift Ram temple), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Karsevakpuram, Karyashala (workshop), the Maniram Chhavni and the Digambar Akhara are some such spots besides the Ram Janmabhoomi area that are reminiscent of the temple movement

AYODHYA Much water has flown down the Saryu since the peak of temple movement in the 1980s, followed by the demolition of the Babri mosque in December 1992, till date when the grand Ram temple is all set to be inaugurated. The journey of Ayodhya - from the days of ‘turbulence’ to the consecration fervour now - is marked by several ‘hot spots’ that will probably continue to be the links to the past.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Karsevakpuram. (HT Photo)
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Karsevakpuram. (HT Photo)

The Bada Sthan (on way from Hanuman Garhi to the then makeshift Ram temple), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Karsevakpuram, Karyashala (workshop), the Maniram Chhavni and the Digambar Akhara are some such spots besides the Ram Janmabhoomi area that are reminiscent of the temple movement.

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Bada Sthan, also called Dashrath Mahal, was chosen as the spot for the donation of a ‘shila’ (stone) for the construction of Ram temple on March 15, 2002. Though no one was allowed to move on the streets of Ayodhya at that time, the then Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas president Mahant Ram Chandradas ‘Paramhans’ was given permission to reach the designated spot at the ‘Bada Sthan’ to donate the ‘shila’ for the construction of Ram temple.

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s special emissary Shatrughan Singh had flown from New Delhi to accept the donation to pacify rising passions. The area around the Bada Sthan has been given a completely new look and remains one of the main attractions here.

The VHP’s Karsevakpuram, the karyashala (workshop where stones for the temple were carved over the years), the Maniram Das Chhavni and Digambar Akhara etc. also served as important centres of action. The Ram Janmabhoomi had remained a nearly insignificant issue till nearly mid 1980s after placing of the idols under the central dome of what was then called disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid complex.

The issue was raised for the first time at a public meeting in Muzaffarnagar in the early 1980s. When the VHP decided to step up the agitation for the cause of Ram temple, Karsevakpuram became the focal point. It not only turned out to be the centre for working out the strategies for the temple agitation, but also provided an important point for the meetings of seers and assembly of karsevaks.

A day before the demolition of the disputed structure on December 6, 1992, a large number of karsevaks assembled at Karsevakpuram. Till afternoon of December 5, 1992, confusion prevailed. The agitated karsevaks conveyed their point to the VHP leadership that a symbolic karseva was not acceptable for them.

Karsevakpuram witnessed the history of the temple movement and remains an important point on the map of seers, pilgrims and tourists alike. Will the VHP develop Karsevakpuram in coming years? “Yes. Karsevakpuram and the karyashala have been important centres of action. The VHP will surely develop Karsevakpuram, which remains at the core of Hindus’ hearts,” said VHP spokesman Sharad Sharma.

On the same day, several Karsevaks had stormed into the Maniram Das Chhavni. They questioned two important leaders of the Ram temple movement - Mahant Ramchandra Das ‘Paramhans’ and Mahant Nritya Gopal Das - and raised slogans like ‘Jis Hindu ka khoon na khaule, khoon Nahin woh pani hai’.

Mani Ram Chhavni, an important centre of the temple movement, is decked up for the pran pratishtha ceremony. Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, chairman of Sri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, resides here. As Das is not well, his successor Mahant Kamal Nayan Das is playing host on Sunday. The mutt was the focal point of the Ram Mandir movement in the 1990s.

All top notch leaders of the saffron brigade had taken refuge at Mani Ram Das Chhavni on October 30, 1990 and November 2, 1990, when cops opened fire on karsevaks in Ayodhya. Those who took refuge here included Uma Bharti and Sadhvi Rithambara. It was the nerve centre of all planning when the disputed structure was demolished by karsevaks on December 6, 1992.

“Finally, the day has arrived when Ram Lalla will be enthroned in the grand Ram Mandir,” said Mahant Kamal Nayan Das.

The state government has set up a multi-purpose building at the Digambar Akhara that was abode of Mahant Ram Chandra Das ‘Paramhans’ who played an important role at every step of Ram temple agitation (till his death in 2003).

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Umesh Raghuvanshi is a journalist with over three decade experience. He covers politics, finance, environment and social issues. He has covered all assembly and parliament elections in Uttar Pradesh since 1984.

  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Manish Chandra Pandey is a Lucknow-based Senior Assistant Editor with Hindustan Times’ political bureau in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Along with political reporting, he loves to write offbeat/human interest stories that people connect with. Manish also covers departments. He feels he has a lot to learn not just from veterans, but also from newcomers who make him realise that there is so much to unlearn.

  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Pawan Dixit has been a journalist for over a decade. He has extensively covered eastern UP for around five years, covered 2012 UP assembly polls, 2014 Lok Sabha polls while being stationed in Varanasi. Now, in Lucknow, he covers outstation political assignments, reports special cases from district court, high court and state information commission

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