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Artisans burn the midnight oil as work on Ram temple in Ayodhya picks up pace

Since Yogi Adityanath took over as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, work has picked up to prepare for construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya again.

india Updated: Dec 06, 2017 15:02 IST
Pankaj Jaiswal and Pawan Dixit, Hindustan Times, Ayodhya
Ayodhya,Ayodhya case,Ram temple
Stones at the disputed Ram Janmabhumi-Babri Masjid site.(HT Photo)

A first-time visitor to the ‘Shri Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas Karyashaala’ is likely to be astonished on entering the place. Scores of carved stone pillars, ceiling slabs, floor slabs and slabs for steps — all in pink sandstone – are heaped around the large workshop. In one corner, sculptors work on giant slabs of wood and stone, towering columns of carved stone surrounding them. Ram worshippers gather around a wall of bricks and touch the wall in reverence – each brick has the word “Sri Ram” engraved. The distance between the workshop and the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site is three kilometre. (Live Updates)

“Sixty-seven per cent of work is over. All this, when assembled, would make the ground floor of the Shri Ramjanmabhoomi Temple,” said Sharad Sharma, a spokesperson of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) that runs the workshop.

The workshop has two giant stone cutters. A shed serves as the workplace for the stone-carvers. In the middle of the workshop is a wooden model of the proposed temple. And on a side, there are living quarters for workshop staff and artisans. The foundation-laying ceremony for the temple happened on November 10, 1989. In 1990, the workshop was set up, and stone consignments started coming in. Stone carving work began in 1992. “But, work slowed down since 1997 because of the pendency of the case in the court,” Sharma said.

Since Yogi Adityanath, a public proponent of the Ram temple, took over as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh in March this year, work has picked up again. “Twenty truckloads of stone, a total of 4,000 cubic feet, came between August and November,” said Sharma.

An artisan, Rajnikant, 50, from near Ahmedabad in Gujarat, is one of the four workers at the workshop these days. “I have been camping at the workshop for three years, get Rs 400 per day, I live in the quarters behind. All the carving and chiselling work is done manually.”

The architect is Ahmedabad-based Chandrakant Bhai Sompura, whose grandfather built the Somnath Temple in Gujarat. “It will take at least one-and-a-half year for the stone carving work to finish. At least six months will go into laying the foundation for the temple,” he told HT over the phone. Sompura also said the original project cost was Rs 5.35 crore, but had ballooned four times.

First Published: Dec 06, 2017 07:27 IST