Ramotsav in Ayodhya: Badhawa to Ghumar -- folk dances on Adyodhya streets ahead of consecration

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Published : Jan 21, 2024, 5:28 PM IST

A preview of grand Ram Temple in Ayodhya (Source: ANI)

Ayodhya, the temple town, is a hive of activity ahead of the consecration ceremony at the newly constructed Ram temple. Saffron flags, lights, and flowers adorn the streets, and people dressed as Lord Ram, Sita, and Hanuman perform folk dances ranging from "Badhawa" to "Ghumar." Songs dedicated to Lord Ram are playing on noisemakers.

Ayodhya: Folk dances from 'Badhawa' to 'Ghumar', songs dedicated to Lord Ram playing on loudspeakers, streets decked up with flowers, lights and saffron flags and people dressed up as Lord Ram, Sita and Hanuman -- the temple town of Ayodhya is buzzing with activity ahead of the consecration ceremony at the newly constructed Ram temple.

Small stages have been constructed at multiple places on Ram Path which leads to the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi temple. Folk dancers from across the country are performing different dances with passersby stopping to make videos and click selfies. "The folk dances that are being performed across the city include Badhawa, Chari, Ghumar, Dhobiya, Rai, Raslila, Mayur, Khayal Nritya and Sataria, among others. The streets leading to the Ram temple look like a mini India. The same will be performed tomorrow as well," an official from the Uttar Pradesh government's culture department told PTI.

Groups of devotees singing and dancing, people dressed as characters of Ramayana, and small vans decked with flowers and posters of Lord Ram were a common sight on Sunday on the streets of the holy city with thousands gathering at the main gate of the temple which has been completely covered in flowers.

"We celebrate Diwali every year to mark Lord Ram's return to Ayodhya and here this is the biggest Diwali ever. How can this not be celebrated? The religious atmosphere here cannot even be described in words or captured by camera," said Pragya Dewan who is performing ghumar, a folk dance from Rajasthan.

Another artist, Umapati, who is part of the group performing Raslila said, "There cannot be a better global stage than this to perform and the love we are receiving from devotees is unimaginable. People are bringing tea and food for us, maybe this is what 'Ram Rajya' looks like". The first phase of the Ram temple in Ayodhya is nearing completion and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take part in the consecration of the Ram Lalla idol on January 22.

The Supreme Court delivered a historic verdict in 2019, settling a temple-mosque dispute that dated back more than a century. The court backed the construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site and ruled that an alternative five-acre plot must be found for building a mosque.

Ayodhya has been beautified and modernised ahead of the 'Pran Prathishtha' ceremony. Streetlights on flyovers have been decorated with artworks depicting Lord Ram, including cutouts of bow and arrow, and ornamental lamp posts are carrying designs themed on the traditional 'Ramanandi tilak'. The narrow street that once led to the disputed site was widened into a dual, two-lane carriageway. The shops alongside now have uniform signages.

Even side lanes are decorated with flowers and people are playing dhols, although the main focus is on the Ram Path and Dharm Path, the two street showpieces of what the government terms the 'Navya, Divya and Bhavya Ayodhya'. While the temple town is expected to dazzle on the day of 'pran pratishtha', many households, temples and other buildings have already been lit up.

"Cultural programmes are also going on in all parts of the city. The Ramotsav began on January 16 and different programmes are being organised at four locations --Shri Ram Katha Park, Bhajan Sandhya Sthal, Tulsi Uddyan and Shri Ram Prekshagrah. "The folk dances have begun from today. They will be performed today and tomorrow. The other cultural programmes will continue for the rest of the month," said Ritu Dixi from Ayodhya Culture Centre.

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