Heritage · Life · Photography

Going For The Ram Mandir Darshan In Ayodhya

If you are in or around Ayodhya, literally all conversations and roads lead to the Ram Mandir.

It doesn’t matter that the said temple is under construction. It is a magnet for everyone visiting the city.

We want to see it and the locals know it too.

A flower seller sits surrounded by flowers as he holds out garlands of marigold to sell
Flower Power

I must have been accosted by umpteen young men and little boys who were ready to guide me to the temple, for a price. One guy hailed me while he was on his two wheeler. The fact that we were on a two wheeler too at that time didn’t deter him from making his pitch. He didn’t even want us to walk, just follow his motorcycle.

The next one caught us at the car park. He offered to hop in our car and take us. In addition he said, he’d take us only to the free parking lots known to the locals.

Irresistible, right?

So we ended seeing everything except the Ram Mandir. In his words, guides were banned there.

Next morning, we ran into the same guide at the car park. He sheepishly beat a hasty retreat. Anyway, we were on our own and we managed just fine.

For starters, the security measures were extremely strict. We had to leave our keys, watches, wallets, mobile phones behind before we could enter the zone. Yes, a complete section of the town is a no go zone for everyone, except the monkeys. They have the run of the place.

Cue the enterprising shopkeepers at the periphery of the zone. They rent out tiny lockers to store your belongings. Incidentally, we had to go through four checkpoints that thoroughly check for the banned items, especially phones.

Since it was early morning, we were the only ones on the well patrolled road to the temple site. I felt as though I was transported to a Bollywood set. Abandoned havelis with grand facades, silent temples, magnificent doorways through which one could see glimpses of enormous grounds. The ever present monkeys watched us curiously while I anxiously looked at them.

At the end of the final checkpoint, we were ushered into a caged passage that wound its way around the construction site. We watched the labourers and a JCB digging, from behind the mesh. That was it.

The caged passage came to an end with a huge signboard of Ram Lalla hanging on the top, right in front of me. That’s when I came to a crashing halt. A makeshift mandir appeared by the side of the caged passage.

It was beautifully decorated with flowers. A priest sat on the platform on the side and I was in front of the deity. This had to be the fastest darshan ever. So I had to ask the priest, “Is that Ram Lalla?”

To cut the long story short, we offered prayers, received prasad and we were out of the cage into the open.

That should have been the end but no. A troop of monkeys lay in wait for us. I had eaten my prasad but hubby had put his inside his jacket pocket. One simian boldly reached out to unzip his pocket. I bolted backwards, screaming at the top of my lungs. Luckily the invisible guards materialised and came to our rescue.

Hubby still hasn’t forgiven me for abandoning him to the monkeys. I say, my scream saved us both. Perhaps, Lord Ram was really looking out for us.

Definitely a memorable darshan in every way.

A wall mural showing Hanuman standing with folded hands and the legend written saying Jai Shri Ram in Hindi.
Jai Ho!

Note: I visited the Ram Mandir (under construction), in December 2021.


11 thoughts on “Going For The Ram Mandir Darshan In Ayodhya

      1. Right? We had a similar experience in Gibraltar. You go one day and the monkeys are watching us climb the rock. Another day they are climbing on us. The time one started picking at my dads head was the last time I went. lol

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Honestly, that sounds terrifying, Donna. Unruly monkeys in Gibraltar, why haven’t I heard of this before? Well, you’ve set me off on a Google chase now. Here I thought it was famous only for the Rock😊.


    1. Ah Korea! On my list but I’ll go for the Land of the morning calm. As for Ayodhya Ram Temple, it has a bitter history, a conflict that has dominated Indian politics for a long time. Though resolved now, one can never be too careful. Thank you for reading and commenting on my post, Sarah.

      Liked by 1 person

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