Do-it-yourself Hindu temple waits to move into Indian holy site

A Hindu devotee looks at bricks for the proposed Rama temple at a workshop in Ayodhya. (AFP)
Updated 12 November 2019

Do-it-yourself Hindu temple waits to move into Indian holy site

  • Enough stone to build a small mountain was waiting at a complex in the holy city of Ayodhya
  • Activists, priests and pilgrims have since thronged the Nyas Karyashaala workshop, a few kilometers from the contested site

AYODHYA, India: Huge slabs of pink Rajasthan stone, carved pillars and bricks from across India are already waiting to form a Hindu temple to be built on the site of a demolished mosque at the center of decades of deadly turbulence.
Enough stone to build a small mountain was waiting at a complex in the holy city of Ayodhya years before the country’s Supreme Court ruled on Saturday that the site should be handed over to Hindus to build a new temple.
A mosque stood on the site for almost five centuries until it was demolished by Hindu zealots in 1992, sparking riots across the country in which 2,000 people, mainly Muslims, died.
Dozens of stonemasons and artisans have been chipping away at the blocks since an appeal for contributions toward a “grand Hindu temple” in Ayodhya was launched in 1990, without knowing when, or whether, the building would be erected. Cash donations and bricks were sent from around the world.
The workers went back to their home towns and villages just before Saturday’s long-awaited verdict, which said Muslims would get their own land on a new site to build a mosque.
After decades of litigation and religious strife, Hindus rejoiced at the ruling. Activists, priests and pilgrims have since thronged the Nyas Karyashaala workshop, a few kilometers from the contested site where Hindus believe the god Rama was born.
“We never lost faith. We always believed that a grand temple would be built,” Sharad Sharma, a spokesman for the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) said at the site.
“Almost 65 percent of the stone and pillars needed for the temple are ready. Our designs have also been approved by a gathering of religious leaders,” Sharma added.
While there are no officially approved plans for the temple, many believe that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will follow the design prepared by the workshop. The party has close to the leaders of the temple movement.
A model of the “approved” temple is on display at the entry to the noisy workshop.
The new temple would use about 170,000 cubic feet of stone and will be 38 meters (125 feet) tall and 81 meters (270 feet) long, Sharma said.
It will have its own shed for cows — considered by Hindus to be sacred — as well as a huge prayer hall.
“We have planned everything to the last detail. We never stopped our work in the last three decades for a moment like this,” he added.
Media reports have said construction could start as early as next year. The Supreme Court directed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government to form a trust to oversee the planning and building work.
“So many of us dreamed of this moment for decades,” Brijmohan Das, a Hindu holy man associated with the movement said.
“It is finally happening in our lifetime.”


Climate activists lashed to EU building as leaders gather

Updated 6 min 9 sec ago

Climate activists lashed to EU building as leaders gather

  • An Associated Press TV reporter said around 20 activists on the ground were detained
  • The EU leaders are set to debate ways for the 28-nation bloc to become carbon neutral by 2050
BRUSSELS: Greenpeace activists on Thursday scaled the European Union’s new headquarters, unfurling a huge banner warning of a “climate emergency” hours before the bloc’s leaders gather for a summit focused on plans to combat global warming.

Around 30 environmental activists clad in red and wearing climbing gear stood on ledges of the Europa building in Brussels as police gathered below and a helicopter circled overhead.

An Associated Press TV reporter said around 20 activists on the ground were detained. The group managed to climb the building by using the ladder of an old fire truck and has enough food to last for two days, according to Greenpeace spokesman Mark Breddy.

The EU leaders are set to debate ways for the 28-nation bloc to become carbon neutral by 2050. But poorer coal-dependent nations fear they could be hardest hit by the effort to transform their energy sources.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen unveiled Wednesday a new “European Green Deal” with an offer of some 100 billion euros ($130 billion) to help fossil-fuel reliant EU nations that make the transition to lower emissions.

The EU leaders will also discuss their long-term budget plans, the euro single currency and Brexit in the light of British election results.