India is all set to witness the consecration ceremony of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh (UP), on January 22, with 7,000 attendees. The Ram Temple is among the most expensive religious projects in India in recent years, with an estimated cost of ₹1,800 crore. Following closely is the Vishv Umiya Dham in Gujarat, valued at ₹1,000 crore.
If we consider the most-expensive public monuments constructed in recent years, Ram Mandir ranks second after the Statue of Unity, which was built at an estimated cost of ₹2,989 crore. The New Parliament Building is in third place, with estimated cost of ₹836 crore.
The much-awaited Ram Temple complex covers an expansive 70 acres, featuring the main temple on 2.7 acres, measuring 161 ft in height. The temple is designed with three floors and 12 gates. The construction and design are handled by Larsen & Toubro and Tata Consulting Engineers, with technical assistance from the Indian Institute of Technology.
How was it funded?
The Centre announced the creation of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust in February 2020, tasked with constructing and managing the temple in Ayodhya. Since its establishment, the trust has collected about ₹3,500 crore in donations. With the initial construction cost constituting only around 51.4 per cent of its total donations, the trust will have enough for maintenance and other activities centred around the temple in the years to come.
A significant portion of donations, amounting to 60 per cent, flowed into the trust’s coffers between February 2020 and February 2021. Prominent figures like the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and former President of India Ramnath Kovind have individually contributed ₹11 lakh and ₹5 lakh, respectively, to the trust overseeing the construction of the Ram Temple.
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Pushpa Sundar, the author of the book, For God’s Sake: Religious Charity and Social Development in India, said, “The surge in donations during the pandemic period could be attributed to a combination of faith and fear arising from the mass calamity. The prevailing sense of uncertainty and fear during the Covid period may have prompted individuals to express their faith through donations to their chosen deity.”
Development of Ayodhya
Besides the construction of the Ram temple, a lot of expenditure is also going towards developing the infrastructure in Ayodhya.
Data from the Ayodhya Development Authority (ADA) reveals that the UP government is undertaking 187 projects in the beautification drive of Ayodhya, with a budget amounting to ₹30,570 crore. Major allocations are directed towards the UP Public Works Department (35 projects), the National Highways Authority of India (three projects) and the Irrigation and Water Resource Department (four projects) with budgets of ₹7,582 crore, ₹4,688 crore, and ₹3,595 crore, respectively.