Saints in Ayodhya want new clothes to be stitched for the idol of Ram Lala (the child Ram) at the makeshift Ram temple in Ayodhya four times a year.
At present, new sets of clothes are given to deity by the receiver (authorised person) only on the occasion of Ram Navami and the practice is being followed for the last 27 years. The Faizabad divisional commissioner is the receiver for the makeshift shrine.
Voicing the demand, Satyendra Das, head priest of the makeshift temple, said: “There are four main seasons —spring, summer, autumn and winter. In all the four seasons, new set of clothes must be stitched for the deity.”
The idol has clothes of different colours that are changed twice a day during morning and evening aarti every day of the week.
Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, head of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, also demanded new clothes for the deity at least four times a year.
“When we prefer to wear new clothes according to four seasons, why doesn’t Ram Lala get to wear new clothes four times a year?” he asked.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s regional spokesperson Sharad Sharma, who operates from karsevakpuram in Ayodhya, said the issue would be taken up with the state government.
However, some devotees also offer clothes to the deity, making the task of arranging new clothes for Ram Lala easy for the temple staff.
On an average, the makeshift temple in Ayodhya gets monthly offerings of Rs 6 lakh, according to Das. On Ram Navami, sets of new clothes are stitched for the deity for summer and winter.
The temple gets an extra Rs 52,000 for nine-day rituals and Prasad for Ram Navami, Das said, adding out of this, Rs 3,600 is spent on new clothes of the deity.
The makeshift temple is made of a fire and water proof tent, which is changed once in 10 years. In the last 27 years, it has been changed twice, the last time was in 2015. Prepared in Roorkee, the tent costs around Rs 12 lakh, Das said.
Recently, Das had expressed displeasure over inadequate increase in monthly allowance of all staff members of the makeshift temple.