Himachal Pradesh on Monday, January 22, 2024, witnessed various cultural and religious programmes across the Congress-ruled State on the occasion of the consecration ceremony at the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu paid obeisance at a Hanuman temple in Shimla’s Jakhu. He told reporters that he offered prayers to Lord Hanuman, a devoted follower of Lord Ram.
On Sunday, Mr. Sukhu had announced a full public holiday on the day of the consecration so that people could witness the ‘ Pran Pratishtha ’ (consecration ceremony). He had also appealed to the people to light diyas on the occasion.
About 4,000 LED screens were installed in temples across the State for live broadcast of the event from Ayodhya. In Shimla, an ‘Akhand Ramayan’ recital was organised at a temple dedicated to lord Ram.
Governor Shiv Pratap Shukla organised a ‘Sundarkand’ recital at the Raj Bhavan. The Governor also watched the live telecast of the consecration ceremony from Raj Bhavan. While Union Minister Anurag Thakur took part in a puja at Awadha Devi temple in Hamirpur, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Jai Ram Thakur visited a Ram temple in Shimla and took part in a puja. A cultural event was organised by Sanskar Bharti, a right-wing organisation that promotes art and culture, at Gaiety Theatre.
Meanwhile, in a deviation from the party line, State Minister Vikramaditya Singh reached Ayodhya for the consecration ceremony. Another Congress MLA from the State, Sudhir Sharma, also attended the ceremony.
On receiving the invitation to the ceremony earlier, Mr. Singh, the son of State Congress chief Pratibha Singh and former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, had promised to attend it, calling it an opportunity of a lifetime, but later changed his stand with the party high command declining the invite. He then said he would visit the temple whenever possible but did not make it clear if he would attend the ceremony on January 22.
Mr. Singh, who holds the Public Works Department portfolio, was declared a State guest by the Uttar Pradesh government. He also met his counterpart Jitin Prasada.
Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri, in a post on X (formerly Twitter), said that the entire Cabinet will soon visit the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.