The Ram temple at Ayodhya is expected to open to devotees by the end of 2023 when the five mandaps (halls) on the ground will be ready along with the garbha griha (sanctum sanctorum) where the idol of Lord Ram as a child will be placed.
The entire complex, which in totality will occupy 110 acres and includes the 66 acres granted by the Supreme Court, is likely to be ready sometime in 2025.
The complex will include a museum explaining the manuscripts and legal history of the Ram temple as court disputes date back to the British administration.
The final cost of the temple is expected to be in the region of Rs 900-1,000 crore. It is likely to open to the public a few months ahead of the schedule of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
In a background briefing, sources said the year since the foundation stone ceremony on August 5, 2020, has been spent sorting out important issues of foundation materials and readying the site for construction. "It may seem that a year has gone by and there is no construction overground. But it was found that the debris below the site was as deep as 12 metres," said the source.
The deep pit needed to be filled with roller-compacted concrete comprising mainly of fly ash with aggregate sand and cement. It is yet to be decided if the idol to be placed at the garbha griha will be the one kept under a makeshift structure post demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992.
"This decision will be taken by the sadhus. Of course, the (existing) idol of Ram Lalla will be in the temple," the source said.
The main temple will have three floors and five mandaps and its length will be 360 feet, width 235 feet and height of each floor will be 20 feet. The Shikhar will rise to 160 feet from the ground. Heritage structures like Kuber tila and Sita Koop will be preserved and developed.
Since it may take around 3 hours for a devotee to reach the sanctum, the complex is being developed in a manner that there will be sites of interest as visitors wend their way to the inner part of the temple.
The stone needed for construction is being sourced from the Bansi Pahadpur area in Rajasthan. Mining had been stopped there, but the stone needed for the temple is being procured in exchange for afforestation.
The stone that had already been worked on for several years at Ramsewakpuram at Ayodhya will be used too, with around 70% of an estimated 40,000 cubic feet to be utilised.