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Indian diaspora at home and abroad commemorate inauguration of long-awaited Ram mandir

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Zenil Koovejee
Lord Ram, a revered figure in Hinduism, is the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu and a central character in the epic Ramayana, embodying virtues of righteousness, duty, and devotion.

Amidst the golden hues of dawn, the city of Ayodhya awoke to the resonance of ancient chants and the hue of saffron flags waving in the air. As the first rays kissed the sacred shrine, the world held its breath, witnessing history rise like the sun on the horizon of devotion.

In a momentous display of faith, over half a million people flooded the newly inaugurated Ram mandir in India, a much-anticipated Hindu temple that has enraptured hearts worldwide. 

“I stayed up until 2 AM California time to witness the temple’s consecration online. This once-in-a-generation event was powerful and evidently touched Hindus around the globe,” said Dublin resident Jignesh Kantilal.

A day to remember 

The inauguration followed a poignant ceremony (Pran Pratishtha) where Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a statue of Lord Ram, one of Hinduism’s most revered deities, in the temple’s inner sanctum. Further, the event drew attention not just for its religious significance, but as a pivotal moment in India’s cultural and political landscape.

“Today, our Lord Ram has come. After centuries of waiting, our Ram has arrived,” said Modi.

As the temple gates swung open, Hindu priests, draped in saffron robes, were among the first to enter. Similarly, icons, including Amitabh Bachchan, Sachin Tendulkar, and Mukesh Ambani, graced the occasion alongside actors like Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor, and Ram Charan. 

“It was lovely to see people from all walks of life in Ayodhya. I hope and pray that India, as a nation, can come together to celebrate this global symbol of faith and devotion,” said British resident Taramati Khalidas

Outside the temple complex, the streets of Ayodhya pulsed with religious fervor. Devotees immersed themselves in prayer in the holy river of Sarayu, carrying saffron flags and chanting religious slogans. Further, the atmosphere was charged with a sense of spiritual awakening as millions of Hindus around the world tuned in to their screens, eagerly witnessing the events unfold through live streams.

“I wasn’t there, but you could feel the energy. It was an indescribable experience. The beauty of the mandir combined with the happiness of those inspired by it. It was a sight to see,” said Indian citizen Dhansukhlal Rama. 

A global celebration

For Prime Minister Modi, the Ram mandir stands as a symbol of his vision for a “new India.” Yet, critics argue that the temple’s inauguration marks a departure from the country’s secular roots, concluding a decades-long campaign that started with the destruction of the Babri Masjid in 1992.

“First a mandir, then a mosque, and now another mandir. The history here is extremely intricate. However, we must hear all voices. All people, no matter religion, deserve a place to worship. That’s what happened, but I know that there are those who are extremely upset,” said Kantilal.

In the Bay Area, Ayodhya, and worldwide, Indians joined together to celebrate the inauguration of the Ram mandir. Some wore festive clothes, some watched the event online, and others cooked traditional meals, creating a joyous global celebration of faith. 

“I visited a local mandir on Monday. I danced, sang, and rejoiced with my family and community in the name of this auspicious occasion,” said South African resident Sareeka Rama

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  • Mandirs across the globe, including the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Chino Hills, exuberantly marked the inauguration of the Ram Mandir with festivities akin to Diwali and other significant Hindu events.

Locally, over 1,100 enthusiastic riders participated in a massive car rally from Sunnyvale to Warm Spring BART station ahead of the Ram temple consecration ceremony. In addition, local mandirs celebrated the occasion in similar fashion to the Indian festival of Diwali, hanging lights and festive decor. 

“I whipped up some traditional Indian sweets, and my family gathered for prayers. We also adorned our door with flowers—just a few of the many traditions that made our celebration special,” said Pleasanton resident Kirtida Nannoo

A symbol that defines a nation

As hundreds of thousands more are expected to visit in the coming days and weeks, the Ram mandir emerges not just as a religious edifice but a cultural landmark, sparking conversations about the intersection of faith, politics, and the ever-evolving identity of India.

This new mandir stands as a powerful symbol, reflecting not just where India is, but where it’s destined to go,” said Kantilal.  

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