Guwahati: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi today laid the foundation stone for the Ram temple in Ayodhya that is being built on 2.77 acres of disputed land at the site where the Babri Masjid once stood.
Stating that the Ram temple shall be the harbinger of a prosperous India, Narendra Modi added that we have to "respects the sentiments of everyone", perhaps as an acknowledgement towards members of the minority community who are feeling betrayed at the building of the grand temple at a contested site.
Narendra Modi further added that just as every section of the society, including Dalits and tribals, extended support to Mahatma Gandhi during the freedom struggle, today every section has supported the Ram temple.
Although the PM used silver bricks for the ritual, bricks donated by devotees across the world in 1989 would be used for the foundation stone.
The groundbreaking ceremony marks the formal launch of the temple's construction promised by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the run up to the elections in both 2014 and 2019.
Earlier in the day, after arriving at the riverside town of Ayodhya, the Prime Minister offered prayers at the Hanumangarhi temple.
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat, said that the RSS, like-minded organisations worked for 20-30 years for the fulfilment of temple construction resolve. Bhagwat said that many people have made sacrifices for this day.
Bhagwat mentioned L.K. Advani, Ashok Singhal, others for their contribution to temple movement.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and BJP leader Yogi Adityanath, who joined Modi in some of the customs, hailed the PM for fulfilment of dream to build a Ram temple in Ayodhya.
Adityanath stated that people have struggled for 500 years to make the long-demanded temple a reality. He further added that today's "bhoomi poojan" ceremony acknowledges the "dreams and faith" of all the devotees.
Meanwhile, Chandrakant Sompura, the architect behind the proposed Ram temple in Ayodhya has said that the temple will be almost double the size of what was originally planned as its design was modified following the Supreme Court verdict last year.
The temple will be constructed in the Nagara style of architecture, and is likely to have 5 domes instead of 2, as planned earlier.
The work on the temple is likely to be completed in the next 3 years, Sompura has recently said.