Ayodhya, January 16: The new idol of Ram Lalla sculpted by Mysuru-based Arun Yogiraj has been selected for installation at the Ram temple in Ayodhya, Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust's General Secretary Champat Rai has said. He said the current idol of Ram Lalla, which is being worshipped for the last 70 years, will also be kept in the sanctum sanctorum of the new temple. The Ram temple "Pran Pratishtha" is being organised here on January 22, and according to Rai, it will begin at 12:20 p.m.

The new idol whose Pran Pratishtha ceremony will be done is made of stone and "in my assessment, it weighs somewhere between 150-200 kg", he said. Rai said that the idol depicts the deity as a five-year-old boy in standing posture and added that on January 18, the idol will be placed at its 'aasan' in the sanctum sanctorum. "The 'muhurat' for the ceremony has been decided by Varanasi-based Ganeshwar Shastri Dravid. A large number of people of Kashi and Ayodhya know him and revere him," he said. Ram Temple Opening Date: General Secretary of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust Champat Rai Says, 'Ram Mandir To Open for Public Darshan on January 23' (Watch Video)

Rai further said the complete process of the "karmakand vidhi" for the sacred ceremony will be led by Laxmikant Dixit of Varanasi. Both Dravid and Dixit are luminaries in their fields, he added. It is under serious consideration to keep the temple closed for devotees on January 20 and 21, and people can pay obeisance to the deity again from January 23, he said.

Members of the trust have praised the idol carved by Yogiraj, who in the past has sculpted statues of Adiguru Shankaracharya at Kedarnath in Uttarakhand and that of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose which was installed at the India Gate canopy. Rai said that the rituals in the run-up to the "Pran Pratishtha" will begin on Tuesday and these will continue till January 21. On January 22, the minimum essential rituals (vidhi) needed for the "Pran Pratishtha" will be conducted, he added. Ram Temple Inauguration: Karnataka Sculptor Yogiraj Arun’s Ram Lalla Idol To Be Installed in Ayodhya on January 22, Mother Calls It ‘Happiest Moment’

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The idol for which the Pran Pratishtha ceremony will be done will also be part of a ritual called 'adhivas', during which the 'jal niwas', 'fal niwas', 'anna niwas', 'aushadi niwas' and 'ghee niwas' for the idol will be done. The ceremony will be attended by all the trustees of the temple trust, seers of about 150 sects and more than 500 people associated with the construction of the temple, who have been named the "Engineer Group".

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jan 16, 2024 09:30 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).