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On Monday, January 22, 2024, India is set to witness an event that the entire nation has eagerly awaited for decades—the inauguration of Ayodhya's Ram Temple and the consecration of Lord Rama's idol. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several distinguished guests are expected to grace the inauguration ceremony, turning it into a celebration larger than Diwali itself.
Few may know about the profound connection between Ayodhya's Ram Temple and southern Rajasthan's Wagar community, whose principal architect, Chandrakant Somapura, hails from the roots of the Vagad region. The main designer of the Ram Temple, Gopendra Nath Bhatt, is deeply connected to this region.
** Somapura's Journey: From Vagad to the Pinnacle of Temple Architecture**
Chandrakant Somapura, the chief architect of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, comes from the Mevad and Vagad regions in southern Rajasthan. His family, over several generations, transitioned from Vagad to Gujarat for livelihood and eventually became renowned architects in the country.
Somapura belongs to the Salat community, with stone artisans residing predominantly in southern Rajasthan, especially Mevad. The term "Salat" originates from Shilavat, an ancient term for temple architecture. This community has been involved in artistic stone craftsmanship and sculpture-making for centuries, worshipping Goddess Ashapura as their supreme deity and Lord Shiva as their primary deity.
** Crafting Temples Across Continents**
The Somapura community has been engaged in artistic and sculptural work for generations. Their expertise extends to creating intricate designs and sculptures, particularly from black-colored marble. The impact of their craftsmanship is evident in many grand Hindu temples worldwide, with Somapura's family being the primary architects of these structures.
Notably, Dr. Nagendra Singh, the former President of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, and brother of Maharawal Lakshman Singh of Dungarpur, facilitated the creation of sculptures by the Somapura community. These sculptures adorn prestigious locations, including the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Parliament House, and major museums globally.
**: Ram Temple's Designing Legacy**
Chandrakant Somapura is at the forefront of designing the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. With 15 generations of his family dedicated to designing temples, the Somapura family has left an indelible mark on over 200 temples worldwide. Among them, notable examples are the renowned Somnath Temple in Gujarat, the Swaminarayan Temple in Mumbai, and the Birla Temple in Kolkata.
For the Ayodhya Ram Temple, Somapura, along with his sons Ashish and Nikhil, played a significant role in the design. The family has a rich history of contributing to temple architecture, and their legacy continues with the grand design of the Ram Temple, aligning it with Vedic principles and sculptural traditions.
**: An Epic Event Unfolds**
The inauguration ceremony of the Ram Temple is expected to witness the participation of around 4,000 saints from various sects, along with approximately 8,000 attendees. The Somapura family, having crafted the temple's design, will also be present at the ceremony. Chandrakant Somapura, in particular, has designed over 130 temples, with his influence extending to Mumbai's Swaminarayan Temple and Palanpur's Ambaji Temple.
In conclusion, the historic event of the Ram Temple's inauguration in Ayodhya is not only a significant milestone for the nation but also a testament to the rich tradition of temple architecture, with the Somapura family at its forefront.
**Closing Thoughts: A New Chapter in India's History**
As the grand inauguration of Ayodhya's Ram Temple approaches, it is poised to create a new chapter in India's history. The struggles, legal battles, and controversies surrounding the temple site have given way to a momentous occasion that will be remembered for generations. The Ram Temple, with Chandrakant Somapura's architectural brilliance, symbolizes a fusion of tradition and modernity, serving as a beacon of cultural and religious harmony. The event marks not only the culmination of a long-standing dream but also the beginning of a historic journey for the nation.