Veteran BJP leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, who led the agitation for the Ram temple in Ayodhya, have been reportedly requested not to attend the consecration ceremony of the temple next month. "Both are elders of the family and considering their age and health, they were requested not to come, which was accepted by both," Ram Temple Trust General Secretary Champat Rai told reporters on Monday, December 18.
Rai said preparations are in full swing for the consecration ceremony on January 22, which will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The preparations would be completed by January 15 and the puja for 'pran pratistha' will start from January 16 and will continue till January 22, he added.
Giving a detailed list of the invitees, Rai said Advani and Joshi may not attend the consecration ceremony due to health and age-related reasons.
Advani is now 96 and Joshi will turn 90 next month.
A three-member team has been formed to visit former Prime Minister Deve Gowda and invite him to the ceremony, Rai said.
"Shankaracharyas of six 'darshanas' (ancient schools) and around 150 saints and sages and will participate in the ceremony," he added. He said that about 4,000 saints and 2,200 other guests have been invited for the ceremony.
Heads of major temples like Kashi Vishwanath, Vaishno Devi and representatives of religious and constitutional institutions have also been invited, Rai added.
Spiritual leader Dalai Lama, Mata Amritanandamayi of Kerala, yoga guru Baba Ramdev, cine stars Rajinikanth, Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit, Arun Govil, film director Madhur Bhandarkar, and prominent industrialists such as Mukesh Ambani, Anil Ambani, famous painter Vasudev Kamat, ISRO Director Nilesh Desai, and many other eminent personalities have been invited to the function, he said.
After the consecration ceremony, 'mandal puja' will be held from January 24 for 48 days as per ritual traditions. The temple will be opened for devotees on January 23, he added.
Rai said that proper arrangements have been made for the guests to stay at more than three places in Ayodhya. Apart from this, 600 rooms have been made available by various monasteries, temples and household families.
Meanwhile, authorities of the Ayodhya Municipal Corporation said they have begun preparing for the consecration ceremony. Municipal Commissioner Vishal Singh said that fibre toilets will be installed for devotees and changing rooms will be set up for women at designated places.
The 'Ram Katha Kunj' corridor will be built in the Ram Janmabhoomi complex which will showcase tableaux displaying 108 events from Lord Ram's life, he added.