The Ram Temple in Ayodhya, India was inaugurated in a grand ceremony earlier this week, and it is safe to say that the festive fervour transcended borders as Indian diaspora around the world took part in the celebrations.
The ‘Pran Pratishtha’ (consecration) ceremony – which was live streamed worldwide across multiple platforms – was watched widely by Hindus across the globe. Many were seen performing puja (veneration) at home or their local temples as they watched the ceremony live, and many more participated in grand events organised by temples and other diaspora organisations in the days preceding the event.
Whether it be the Times Square in New York, US – where members of the diaspora were seen distributing laddoos (Indian sweets) – or the Eiffel Tower in Paris – which saw a diaspora gathering to celebrate the occasion with chants of ‘Jai Shri Ram’, the joyous and historic occasion witnessed immense enthusiasm in India and abroad.
Spectacular celebrations were also seen across the UK in the last few days, with many yet to come, and British Indians have been ecstatic about what has been dubbed a ‘Second Diwali’.
Commenting on the significance of the occasion for British Indians, Insight UK’s Northwest and Norther Ireland co-ordinator told iGlobal: “Ayodhya Shri Ram Mandir is not just a temple but a symbol of faith, unity and cultural heritage, signifying the triumph of truth, justice and righteousness. A historic milestone achieved for all Hindus worldwide after a 500-year-long wait. This unparalleled patience, spanning 20 generations, has finally reached its zenith, making us, the lucky 21st generation, the privileged witnesses to this historic event.”
“Indian diaspora is overjoyed and proud to take part in the historic celebrations of Ram Janma Bhoomi Pran Pratishtha. The temple being rebuilt after more than 500 years at the birthplace of Lord Ram is a matter of pride for all and symbolises the timeless spirit of Sanatan Dharm,” said Dr Hardik Bhansali, who volunteers for the diaspora charity organisation, Sewa Day UK.
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“There is hope that this will bring ‘Ram Rajya’, a term that denotes good governance and peace, not only in Bharat but rest of the world as well,” he further added.
Celebrations were held at temples around the UK. Manchester’s Gita Bhavan Hindu Mandir, for instance, saw unprecedented crowds on the day of the consecration, with more celebrations lined up in the city at the Shree Radha Krishna Mandir on January 27.
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in London, popularly known as Neasden Temple, joined almost 60 BAPS mandirs and centres in the UK and Europe as part of a global BAPS tribute to commemorate the opening of the Ayodhya temple. A host of devotional festivities were organised at the temple from 20 to 22 January, including an annakut (devotional offering of food dishes) to Goddess Sita Mata and Lord Ram, an opportunity to participate in a special puja (ceremonial worship) as well as an Akshat Kumbh (ceremonial vessel containing sanctified rice grains from Ayodhya).
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Elsewhere in London, Balivir Bhalla BEM, along with several Hindu organisations in East London, put together a car rally to celebrate the occasion. The rally saw 325 cars – decorated with ‘Om’ stickers on their bonnets and rooves – take part in a rally which drove around the region for two hours on January 20. Following this, over 1400 people took part in the aarti (devotional singing) and prashad (offering meal) at the City Pavilion in Ilford and the grand event concluded with fireworks and releasing of 15 lanterns with ‘Om’ stickers.
“This is one event where we can proudly say that we had no police escort or presence because it was not needed. It was a peaceful and very well organised event,” commented Bhalla on the event.
(With ANI inputs)