New Delhi: Amid the sounds of dhols and firecrackers, distribution of sweets, rallies and chants of ‘Jai Shri Ram’, Hindus in India and abroad came together to celebrate the ‘Prana Pratishtha’ ceremony of Ram Lalla in Ayodhya on Monday.
The US, where Indian-Americans make up approximately 1.35 per cent of the population, kicked off the celebrations almost a week before the temple’s consecration with massive car rallies in Houston and California.
Carrying saffron banners with images of Ram Lalla and the temple, more than 1,100 Hindus took part in a Bay Area car rally, and a huge crowd gathered at the iconic Times Square in New York, singing hymns in praise of Lord Ram.
Laddos were also distributed as ‘prasad’ by the members of the ‘Overseas Friends of Ram Mandir’ at Times Square.
In addition, the US Chapter of the VHP erected over 40 billboards in 10 states, including Texas, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, and Georgia.
Over 100 Tesla-owning Hindus gathered at Sri Bhaktha Anjaneya Temple in Maryland and arranged their cars in such a way that it formed the word “Ram” when seen from a bird’s eye view.
“This is a huge accomplishment after 500 years of struggle. Congratulations to my Hindu friends and my constituency and around the world. May you all be blessed,” Congressman Rich McCormick said in a statement, greeting the Hindu community.
The event was broadcast live at approximately 300 locations across the US, including at Times Square which was lit up with vibrant colours and Lord Ram’s images.
In Mauritius, where the population consists of around 48 per cent Hindus the community came together to light ‘diyas’ at the temples and recited the ‘Ramayan Paath.’ In addition, the government also announced a two-hour off to Hindu officials on Monday.
Car rallies were also organised in London as well as Sydney, amidst chants and bhajans in praise of the deity.
In London, the rally commenced from The City Pavillion on Collier Road and travelled through East London before returning to the starting point.
January 22 was declared as ‘Ayodhya Ram Mandir Day’ in the towns of Oakville and Brampton in Canada’s Ontario province.
Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown and his Oakville counterpart Rob Burton said the consecration “holds immense cultural, religious, and historical significance for Hindus worldwide, signifying the culmination of a centuries-old dream.”
In the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago, Hindus organised cultural events and sang hymns in praise of their deity on Sunday.
In France ‘Ram Rath Yatra’ will start from Place De La Chapelle at 12 pm and culminate at the Eiffel Tower’s, Place De Trocadero, by 3 pm.
A ceremony at the Ganesha temple in La Chapelle will include an elaborate puja, aarti, prasad distribution, and a cultural show.
In neighbouring Nepal, Janakpur, which is considered to be the birthplace of Lord Ram’s wife Sita, was lit up and 1,25,000 lamps will illuminate the Janaki temple today, along with ‘aartis’ in praise of Lord Ram and Sita.
Ram Lalla’s idol was installed in the sanctum sanctorum of the grand new temple in Ayodhya on January 18, and the rituals which began on January 16, will culminate today with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several other dignitaries attending the event.