Mrunal Manmay Dash

Nilakanthapur village under Kendrapara’s Derabis block swelled in pride after a local lad returned home following a stint at Ayodhya Ram Temple.

Parikshit Ojha, a stone sculptor from Nilakanthapur village, worked for at least six months at the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya and carved some intricate sculptures on the pillars of the magnificent temple.

He was one of the 3,500 workers who worked at the temple to make it what it is today. In the case of Ojha, he was deployed at the Ranga Mandap and assigned to work on its pillars.

Ojha has also worked on some other temples built on the premises of Ram Temple.

“I left Odisha with a 22-member team on July 9 last year. While working there, it felt like working in the palace of God. I felt privileged. We worked on 12 pillars of the temple in which we carved the idols of various Gods,” Ojha said.

“The work was so pleasant that we worked day and night quite easily,” he added.

A local villager Manoranjan Upadhyay said, “We were overwhelmed when the pran pratishtha date was announced. We were happy that a lad from our village has contributed to the Ram Temple which will surely be placed on the world map. All the villagers had gathered at the temple of our presiding deity when the Pran Pratishtha was conducted at Ayodhya. We had all lighted diyas as well.”

“We can feel a belongingness to the Ram Temple, because a youth from our village has worked there. Whoever goes to Ayodhya anytime in the next 500 years will remember the sculptors,” Upadhyay added.