Ayodhya, January 22: The invitees to the consecration ceremony at the Ram temple continued to arrive at the temple town on Monday morning with locals and devotees gathering on both sides of the road waving saffron flags and dancing to the tunes of songs dedicated to Lord Ram.

Religious fervour gripped Ayodhya with biting cold failing to dampen the spirits of those who have flocked here to witness the historic moment. The holy town is all set to welcome Lord Ram with Prime Minister Narendra Modi scheduled to participate in the consecration ceremony.

The invitees who arrived early this morning included RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, Anupam Kher, Kailash Kher, Jubin Nautiyal, Prasson Joshi, Manoj Joshi, Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Ravishankar Prasad and Anil Ambani.

Hema Malini, Kangana Ranaut, Sr Sri Ravishankar, Morari Bapu, Rajnikant, Pavan Kalyan. Madhur Bhandarkar, Subhash Ghai, Shefali Shah and Sonu Nigam arrived in Ayodhya on Sunday. 'Ram dhun' played in the streets from early morning, as security personnel kept a tight vigil across the Ayodhya districts.

The 'Pran Pratishtha' of the idol of Ram Lalla -- the childhood form of Lord Ram -- will be attended by people from all walks of life, including representatives of major spiritual and religious sects of the country and of various tribal communities and prominent personalities. According to temple trust, all invitees will have a bell which they will ring during the aarti. Army helicopters were shower flower petals during the aarti. Ram Temple Consecration: RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat, N Chandrababu Naidu and Anil Ambani Arrive at Ayodhya's Ram Mandir for Pran Pratishtha Ceremony (Watch Videos).  

The ceremony will begin at 12:20 pm, and according to the temple trust, it is expected to end by 1 pm. Following this, the prime minister will address the gathering. "The prime minister will also interact with 'shramjeevis' associated with the construction of the temple," a member of the Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, which is in charge of the construction and management of the Ram temple, said.

Modi will also visit Kuber Tila, where an ancient Shiv temple has been restored. He will perform a 'pooja' there, the member said. The magnificent Ram Janmbhoomi Mandir has been constructed in the traditional Nagara style. Its length (east-west) is 380 feet, width 250 feet and height 161 feet. It is supported by 392 pillars and has 44 doors.

The pillars and walls of the temple showcase intricately sculpted depictions of Hindu deities, gods and goddesses. The idol of Ram Lalla has been placed in the sanctum sanctorum on the temple's ground floor. The consecration rituals for the 'Pran Pratishtha' started from the Saryu river on January 16 and will be completed on Monday afternoon on the 'Abhijeet Muhurta', according to the trust.

Lakhs of people are expected to watch the event live on TV and online platforms as the Central government has announced a half-day off on January 22 and many states followed suit. Temples across the country have announced special festivities on the occasion. From Washington DC to Paris to Sydney, events have been also planned in various parts of the world by either the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) or Hindu diaspora groups.

Fourteen couples from various parts of India will be the 'yajmaans' (hosts) for the 'Pran Pratishtha' of the new 51-inch idol of Ram Lalla. The idol was sculpted by Mysuru-based Arun Yogiraj and was placed in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple last Thursday. The Ram temple has been decorated with "rich stocks" of flowers and special lights and the entire city is drenched in religious fervour.

Streetlights on flyovers have been decorated with artwork depicting Lord Ram as well as cutouts of bow and arrow, and ornamental lampposts carry designs themed on the traditional "Ramanandi tilak". A multi-layer security cover is in place in Ayodhya for the consecration ceremony, with 10,000 CCTV cameras and drones equipped with artificial intelligence keeping an eye on the movement of people. Police personnel in plain clothes have been deployed at the venue. Ram Temple Consecration: As Soon as Ram Lalla Is Seated, All Difficulties Will End, Says Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Chief Priest Acharya Satyendra Das (Watch Video).

Movable barriers with barbed wires attached to them can be spotted at every prominent crossroads in the temple town, as police use them to regulate traffic, especially during VVIP movements. Multiple NDRF teams trained to tackle chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks, drowning incidents and disasters like earthquakes have also been deployed.

While more than 7,000 people are on the list of invitees for the event, the select list features 506 A-listers. Business tycoons Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani are among the prominent people invited to the event. Those attending the "Pran Prathishtha" also include people linked to the Ram Janmabhoomi agitation. Almost all opposition leaders invited to the ceremony have declined to be in attendance, with the Congress calling it a "BJP-RSS event".

The consecration ceremony is being held after the first phase of the temple's construction, made possible by a historic Supreme Court judgment in 2019 on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit. The Hindu litigants argued that the Babri Mosque was constructed at the site of a temple marking the birthplace of Lord Ram. In 1992, the 16th-century mosque was demolished by "kar sevaks".