Ayodhya temple workshop becomes tourist attraction, brick donations pour in

Topics Ayodhya case | Ayodhya

A volunteer at the workshop points to the bricks collected from across India for a Ram temple

Ashish Agarwal stocked up about two dozen bricks - duly worshipped and anointed with a red 'tilak' - in his newly-purchased SUV and travelled to Ayodhya from Kanpur.

"In 1990, my grandfather Asharam Agarwal had come to Ayodhya to perform 'kar seva' but was shooed away by the police. He died in 1993 and all he wanted to see was the temple being built. Today, I have brought these bricks - one from each member of the family that has members from three generations," he said as he handed over the bricks at the workshop in Karsevakpuram.

With the Supreme Court verdict clearing the way for temple construction in Ayodhya, the holy city is witnessing a 'brickfall' of sorts. VHP spokesperson Sharad Sharma said that the number of devotees coming to the workshop at Karsevakpuram has gone up dramatically after November 9 when the verdict was announced.

"In normal times, we had about 1,000 visitors every day. They were those who came to Ayodhya temples and dropped in to see the workshop. Now we have people who are coming specially to see the workshop. They offer prayers to the carved stones and many of them are bringing bricks as their contribution to the temple," he said.

There are many among the 5,000-odd visitors to Karsevakpuram who offer money for temple construction and are given a receipt for the same.

"People are coming mainly from other states. They want to be a part of the history in making. They take selfies of the carved stones and the workshop in general. Their devotion is evident," said Sharma.

Ravindra Tiwari from Allahabad who had suffered a fracture in the foot in the stampede that followed the demolition in December 6, 1992, also visited Ayodhya on Wednesday. Tiwari, now 47, still walks with a limp. "I have returned to Ayodhya after almost 27 years. I was and will be a 'kar sevak'. I am happy that the temple will be constructed in my lifetime," he said.

Recalling his involvement in the temple movement, he said: "We were all in our late teens and early twenties but we were fully committed to the temple movement. The group got scattered away as the years rolled back but the court verdict has brought back all memories."

He and his two sons first offered prayers at Hanuman Garhi, then went to the Ram Janambhoomi temple and finally visited the Karsevakpuram where they promised to return for 'kar seva' when the construction begins. They also brought five bricks as a symbolic offering.

Shalini Agnihotri, a young technocrat, was a first-time visitor to Ayodhya on Thursday. She hails from Chitrakoot but is posted in Lucknow.

"Since I was born, I have been hearing about the temple movement and the related politics. Now that decks have been cleared for the temple construction, I thought I must visit Ayodhya. I can now say that the atmosphere here is spiritually exhilarating and I now want to come here more often," she said.

Agnihotri also jostled at the shops selling religious items to buy scarves and shawls printed with 'Ram'. She said that she would gift the 'Ramnami' to all her friends.

The workshop at Karsevakpuram that already has about 2 lakh bricks, has witnessed artisans and craftsmen chiseling away at stone slab to carve our pillars and blocks that will be used in temple construction.

As per the plan, the temple will be 268 feet long, 140 feet wide and 128 feet high. It will have a total of 212 pillars.

The foundation of the stone temple, however, will be made with bricks.

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