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British Hindus gear up for Diwali-like festivities for Ayodhya Ram Mandir opening

British Hindus gear up for Diwali-like festivities for Ayodhya Ram Mandir opening

The Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, northern India – which is all set to be inaugurated on January 22 – has been generating immense buzz and excitement not just within India but also within the Indian diaspora across the globe.

Lord Ram’s Ayodhya temple holds a special place in the hearts of Hindus around the world due to its significance as the Janmabhoomi (birthplace) of Lord Ram. Owing to this age-old belief, the murti (sacred idol) which is set to be venerated with the pran pratishtha puja (a ceremonial rite for the invocation of the life force) on the day will be that of Ram Lalla (Lord Ram in his baby form).

Diaspora organisations across the UK are gearing up for the big day with devotional and social events arranged around the country.

Diaspora group British Hindus recently hosted an Instagram live with Jatin Bhatt, one of the founding members of the Sri Ram Vijayotsav UK – a community group set up especially to celebrate the inauguration of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir in Leicester.

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The weekend long devotional events – from January, 20 to 21 – will hold devotional activities like bhajans, kirtans, night-long singing of devotional songs and a ‘Vishesh Ramcharan Puja’.

“A Ramcharan Puja is not something that is commonly done. In this puja, Lord Ram will be worshipped as a King, meaning he'll be offered various things like elephants and horses, which kings would have in the era. Of course, we don't have real animals, but we have got statues. There will then be a military offering, a musical offering and an instrumental offering as well,” said --- explaining the significance of the event.

As well as this free event which promises to be a spiritual and devotional respite for those who attend, a diaspora initiative has seen a new website set up with the sole purpose of keeping the British Indian community informed about events related to the Ayodhya Ram Mandir across the UK. The site – namely ‘UK Celebrates Ayodhya Ram Mandir’ – lists several dozen events in various parts of the country.

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The website also provides the readers with celebration ideas, historical facts about the Ram Janmabhoomi and information on the inauguration of the temple. A declaration on the website - singed by over 150 signatories across the UK – reads that it is hoped that “households in the United Kingdom will celebrate this home-coming of Sri Ram to Ayodhya as a festival of Diwali,” reflecting the excitement within the diaspora communities of Indian heritage.

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