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How will Ram Lalla idol be graced with Surya Tilak

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01/6A celebration of Lord Rama

Ram Navami is a revered Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Rama, an avatar of Vishnu and the protagonist of the epic Ramayana. This sacred day falls on the ninth day of the Chaitra month, which in the year 2024, will be observed on April 17th. This festival is observed with great fervor, marked by prayer, feasting, and community gatherings. One of the most significant rituals is the Surya Tilak, a symbolic anointment of the Ram Lalla idol with the sun’s rays. This year, the newly inaugurated Ram Temple in Ayodhya will witness this divine event for the first time, symbolizing the blessings of the Sun God, Surya, on the auspicious occasion of Ram Navami.

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02/6Historical significance

The Surya Tilak ceremony celebrates the divine lineage of Lord Rama as a descendant of the Suryavanshi dynasty, which is believed to have originated from the Sun God, Surya. This ritual not only honors the physical embodiment of the sun’s energy in the form of the Tilak but also commemorates Rama’s embodiment of Surya’s qualities—radiance, might, and guidance. The Suryavanshis, with Ayodhya as their capital, revered the sun as their progenitor, symbolizing sovereignty and benevolence. The Surya Tilak on Ram Lalla’s forehead is thus a powerful symbol, encapsulating the essence of Rama’s heritage and his role as a guiding light of dharma, illuminating the path of righteousness for humanity.

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03/6The ritual of Surya Tilak

The ceremony itself is a moment of harmony, where the sun’s rays, through a precise arrangement of lenses and mirrors, consecrate the forehead of the Ram Lalla idol. On this auspicious day, as the sun reaches its zenith, the inner chamber of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya will be illuminated, allowing a focused beam of light to touch the deity’s brow. This brief encounter, lasting only a few minutes, is a reflection of the temple’s architectural excellence and a symbolic act that reinforces Lord Rama’s connection to the Sun God, Surya. It is a moment that captures the essence of spirituality, as the sun’s energy is believed to infuse the idol with life-affirming vigor and the worshippers with a sense of spiritual renewal.

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04/6Scientific mechanism

The scientific marvel enabling the Surya Tilak is an optomechanical system, a marvelous confluence of tradition and modern engineering. Designed by experts from the Central Building Research Institute (CBRI) and the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, the system employs a Fabry-Pérot cavity with a movable mirror to precisely direct the sun’s rays onto the idol’s forehead. This setup, which includes high-quality mirrors and lenses, is carefully calibrated to account for the sun’s position on Ram Navami, ensuring the rays form a circular mark of 75 millimeters on the deity’s brow. The meticulous placement of these optical components, along with the strategic use of pipes and related apparatus, allows for a focused and safe illumination of the idol.

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05/6The exact timing of Surya Tilak

The Surya Tilak is scheduled to occur at 12 PM sharp on Ram Navami. This precise moment is chosen to ensure that the sunlight directly falls on the deity’s forehead, symbolizing the blessings of the Sun God. The entire process will last for about 5 minutes, with the peak moment of alignment lasting for approximately 2 to 3 minutes.

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06/6Cultural and religious impact

The Surya Tilak ceremony on Ram Navami has a profound cultural and religious impact. It is a moment that unites devotees in a shared experience of reverence and devotion. The ritual symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil. It reinforces the values that Lord Rama embodies—righteousness, courage, and compassion. As the sun’s rays touch the idol, it is believed that they also touch the souls of the worshippers, instilling in them the virtues of Rama. The Surya Tilak thus becomes a beacon of hope and a reminder of the divine presence in everyday life.

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