Surge in demand for saffron flags bearing images of Lord Ram and Ayodhya temple

06:48 PM Jan 12, 2024 | PTI |

Ahead of the consecration ceremony at the Ram temple in Ayodhya, the demand for saffron flags bearing images of Lord Ram, Lord Hanuman and the upcoming grand temple has risen manifold.


As Ayodhya will virtually be fortified on the day of the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ on January 22, devotees from nearby districts are arriving early for a ‘darshan’ of Ram Lalla and are purchasing these flags, besides other merchandise bearing the name and images of Lord Ram.

With less than two weeks to go for the grand event which will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the temple town is in the grip of religious fervour, or as the locals say, ”Ayodhya Rammayi ho rahi hai”.

Saffron flags bearing images of Lord Ram and the upcoming Ram temple, ‘Jai Shri Ram’ chant, or an image of Lord Hanuman — often seen on the rear windshield of cars — are in big demand, according to local shopkeepers.

Several local residents PTI spoke to said the demand for saffron flags has been on the rise since the 2019 Supreme Court verdict on the Ram temple issue.


”However, in the last few weeks, and particularly due to the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ coming up at the new Ram temple, there has been a fresh surge in the demand,” said Pradip Gupta, who runs a restaurant along Ram Path, a key thoroughfare in the heart of Ayodhya.

”Saffron flags carrying images of Lord Ram and the upcoming Ram temple are particularly a big hit among the devotees,” he added.

Earlier, people were not hoisting such flags on the rooftops of their houses, but now they can be seen all over, particularly households, he told PTI.

Settling a fractious issue that goes back more than a century, the apex court in a historic verdict backed the construction of a Ram temple by a trust at the disputed site in Ayodhya and ruled that an alternative five-acre plot must be found for a mosque in the town in Uttar Pradesh.

Walking down Ram Path — the 13-km redeveloped stretch from Sahadatganj in Faizabad city and Lata Mangeshkar Chowk — one can see stocks of these high-in-demand flags displayed next to various shops and on the newly-built pedestrian walkways located on both sides of the road.

As part of a major redevelopment plan for the holy city envisioned in 2022, a large-scale road-widening exercise was carried out in the heart of Ayodhya city and parts of Faizabad city, and a large number of shops and other buildings situated along some of the roads were partially demolished, said Gupta, adding, ”my restaurant was also impacted, and now its size has reduced”.

He points to ornamental lamp posts which have been installed on the median of the Ram Path. These lamp posts carry design elements on the top that depict religious symbols.

A street-side shop next to a partially demolished building along the Ram Path, selling saffron flags, stands in stark contrast to the brand new ornamental lamp posts adorning the street.

The saffron flags come in various sizes and range from Rs 50 to Rs 1,000. The demand has also surged due to several rituals and ‘shobha yatras’ that began over the last few weeks, local shopkeepers said.

On Thursday, scores of women, wearing yellow clothes with several of them carrying saffron flags, took part in a ‘shobha yatra’ in the heart of the city.

Mukesh Kumar, a shopkeeper selling religious items, including saffron flags, said, ”Our business has gone up ahead of the ‘Pran Pratishtha’.” ”The quantum of sales has increased as ‘yagyas’ are being performed at many places in Ayodhya, and there is also demand from other places. These flags are also used during ‘kathas’ and ‘bhagwats’.

”We sell at wholesale rates and are earning around Rs 10,000-12,000 per day,” he added.

Modi visited Ayodhya on December 30 and on the day of his arrival, a large number of houses, both in the main city and along the Ayodhya bypass, were seen with saffron flags on their rooftops and balconies.

During his roadshow, several residents cheering from the streetsides were also seen carrying these flags.

As the consecration ceremony draws near, scores of people are rushing from nearby cities and districts to Ayodhya to have a ‘darshan’ of Ram Lalla, as people have been advised to celebrate the occasion at their homes, temple and religious places nearby, and visit the holy city from January 23 onwards.

Raj Kumar Dubey from Jaunpur said he was a member of a local rural body and was very happy about the upcoming ceremony.

”I am buying these flags to take them back home. We will distribute these in villages and I will do this as it is a matter of joy for me,” he told PTI.

Subhaya Shukla, who came from Gonda, said he bought a large flag to hoist it on the rooftop of his house.

Ram temple’s wooden replicas, metallic rings, lockets and other cloth items bearing Lord Ram’s name and image are also flying off the shelves in Ayodhya, according to shopkeepers.


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