The Ram temple here opened to the public on Tuesday, one day after the consecration ceremony, to a throng that grew larger by the hour and became uncontrollable in the afternoon.
The main thoroughfare, Ram Path, was congested with worshippers as the temple town, engulfed in religious fervor following the grand mandir’s inauguration, flooded its streets.
According to Ayodhya Divisional Commissioner Gaurav Dayal, who spoke to PTI, devotees started entering the temple complex at 6 am, and by 2 pm, about 2.5 lakh people had probably visited the site.
By the end of the day, an estimated five lakh devotees will have paid a visit, according to another official.
People who had traveled far and hard to get to the temple town were waiting in winding lines outside the temple. These people had been camping in Ayodhya since before the consecration ceremony.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi presided over a historic ceremony on Monday at the Ayodhya temple to consecrate an idol of the new Ram Lalla.
Tuesday saw the streets filled with the sounds of “Ram dhun,” with security personnel standing watch and attempting to manage the crowd while many chanted “Jai Shri Ram” and made an attempt to pass through the gateway.
The crowd grew so large that the security staff had to work very hard to keep everything under control for a few hours in the afternoon.
Many devotees, some of whom arrived with suitcases and backpacks, obstructed the entire stretch of the Ram Path facing the gateway in their desire to have a ‘darshan’.
One devotee had to be taken to the hospital after fainting at the main gateway due to the commotion in the crowd.
Dayal claimed that there was a “sudden massive rush” in the morning and that people kept coming into the temple to see Ram Lalla.
He said that “with proper holding (area), queuing, and proper barricading” the administration is attempting to maintain order among the crowd.
Director of Information for Uttar Pradesh Shishir stated that “everything is under control” and that over 8,000 police officers are stationed at the temple.
Inside the temple, supervising the arrangements are Prashant Kumar, Director General of Law Order, and Sanjay Prasad, Principal Secretary, Home.
In a post on X, Ayodhya police also denied rumors that the temple was temporarily closed because of the high volume of traffic.
Both carrying suitcases, Suresh Kumar and his friend from Chhattisgarh stood in the throng, eager for a “darshan,” but with little chance of getting in.
We arrived from Durg. We arrived in Ayodhya at 10.30 am after taking a train to Kanpur, a bus to Lucknow, and another bus to Ayodhya, he told PTI.
The pair said they made a “sudden plan” to visit Ayodhya.
“We have come just for the ‘darshan’. We will go back today,” he said.
Security guards later made a semi-circular human fence to manage the crowd as other personnel made announcements on loudspeakers to keep order.
A large number of devotees had gathered outside the main gates for hours since late Monday night, waiting to enter the premises.
Carrying flags bearing the visages of Lord Ram and chanting “Jai Shri Ram”, the devotees waited for hours in the biting cold before the doors of the grand temple opened early in the morning.
“Felt so delighted, my life’s aim has been fulfilled. Our ancestors struggled for this and it has been brought to fruition,” said Manish Verma, a devotee from Punjab.
Nitish Kumar, a resident of Bihar’s Madhepura district, cycled more than 600 kilometers to reach Ayodhya.
“There is a massive rush but I am hopeful I will get a chance to have ‘darshan’ today. I will start my journey back once my wish is fulfilled. Though I couldn’t go to the temple on Monday, what a day it was to be in Ayodhya,” he told PTI.
Anurag Sharma from Rajasthan’s Sikar was seen walking around with a model of the temple on the day of the consecration ceremony.
“I brought this model with me from my hometown. I arrived on the inaugural flight to Ayodhya and I have been here since then. I will go back only after having a ‘darshan’ of Ram Lalla,” he told PTI.
Groups of people could also be seen marching towards the temple, passing through the decked-up Ram Path.
“Ram Lalla gave us the strength to walk from Chhattisgarh and now He only will get us through this crowd so we can take His blessings,” said Sunil Madho, part of an eight-member group that undertook a ‘padyatra’ to Ayodhya.
Maharashtra native Gopal Krishna, who arrived in Ayodhya a few days ago, also jostled in the thick crowd as it moved towards the security check.
“We came here a few days ago as Lord Ram called us. People were telling us to not travel as police would impose restrictions on travel and rooms would not be available in hotels. We are staying at an ashram and this is the day we waited for,” he told PTI.
The devotees chanted “Jai Shri Ram” as they walked in and out of the temple complex. Inside the main temple, “Jai Shri Ram” chants reverberated in its grand halls.
The temple complex, which is situated in the traditional Nagara style, is 250 feet wide, 380 feet long, and rises to a height of 161 feet at the “shikhar.”
On Monday, thousands of people celebrated the historic occasion by watching the “pran pratishtha (consecration)” ceremony on television in their homes and nearby temples.
“January 22, 2024, signifies not just a date on the calendar but also the beginning of a new era,” Modi declared following a series of rites conducted in the “sanctum sanctorum,” or “garbha griha.”
Additionally, the prime minister knelt before the 51-inch statue of the young Ram.
“Today, our Ram has arrived. After a long wait for ages, our Ram has arrived. Our Ram Lalla will no longer live in a tent. Our Ram Lalla will stay in a magnificent temple,” Modi said in his address to the invitees.