Shimla, Jan 22: Crowds of devotees thronged temples in Himachal Pradesh during early Monday hours before the much-awaited ‘Pran Pratishtha’ ceremony of Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
The popular temples of Naina Devi in Bilaspur; Chintpurni in Una; Baba Balak Nath in Hamirpur; Brajeshwari Devi, Jwalaji and Chamunda Devi in Kangra; and Bhimakali and Hateshwari in Shimla district were tastefully decorated and witnessed huge rush.
A majority of the devotees were locals. The Congress-ruled state observed a full day’s holiday on the occasion of the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ ceremony.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad's state president Lekhraj Rana said arrangements were made to organise an ‘aarti’ on the day of Pran Pratistha in 4,000 temples of the state.
“After attending the ‘aarti’ in the day and then in the evening, people will light lamps in their homes, distribute sweets among others and burst crackers.”
He said the VHP has distributed sacred ‘akshat’ -- rice grains mixed with turmeric and ghee -- to millions ahead of Ayodhya's Ram Mandir consecration in the state.
“While distributing ‘akshat’, people have been asked to prepare to go to Ayodhya after January 24,” he added.
Eyeing the Lok Sabha elections, likely slated in May, the opposition BJP in the state is planning to organise tours to the newly constructed Ram Temple in Ayodhya from January 29 to February 22. It is planning to take 500 to 600 people from every constituency.
Praying for the prosperity of the state, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Sukhu on Sunday told the media here that Lord Rama “is the ideal and does not belong to any particular party. Tomorrow, I will light a lamp in my house and will encourage others to do the same.”
He further said a statue of Lord Ram would be erected along with the statue of Lord Hanuman in the Jakhu Temple here as proposed by the Sood Sabha.
State Public Works Minister Vikramaditya Singh and Congress legislator and former minister Sudhir Sharma have reached Ayodhya to attend the consecration of the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ ceremony.