Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Elaborate arrangements have been made for the grand ‘Pran Pratishtha’ ceremony of Lord Ram temple at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh on January 22. Several devotees and saints soaked in devotion for Lord Ram have thronged the city.

Meanwhile, the people of a village named ‘Ajodhya’ in Odisha are also equally excited for the auspicious occasion. The village is situated in Nilgiri block under Balasore district of the State.

Legend has it that Lord Rama along with his wife Goddess Sita and younger brother Laxman had visited the village during their 14-year exile. Hence the village was named Ajodhya.

As per another popular belief, when Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya following the completion of their 14-year exile, the villagers in Balasore named the village Ajodhya out of religious and spiritual ecstasy.

While the entire country is being prepared for the scheduled ‘Pran Pratishtha’ ceremony at Lord Ram's temple in Ayodhya on Monday, villagers of Ajodhya in Balasore have also left no stone unturned to celebrate the special occasion with religious fervour.

“When Lord Ram’s birthplace Ayodhya became famous for him, residents of a place in Nilgiri block in Balasore district named their village as ‘Ajodhya’,” said Batakrushna Khuntia, a resident of Ajodhya village.

“Lord Rama had visited a place near Saptasara river at Remuna in Balasore district during his 14 years of exile. To commemorate this, the village has also been named Ajodhya,” he added.

“On the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ day of Lord Rama, our villagers will also celebrate the day with bhajan, kirtan, and other religious rituals,” said Jeevan Krushna Sha, another resident of Ajodhya village.

“We are so proud that our forefathers have named our village after the birthplace of Lord Ram. Ajodhya village in Balasore has some link with Ayodhya of Uttar Pradesh,” said Sarbeswar Panda, a priest of the village temple.

Moreover, Ajodhya village in Nilgiri block has also a rich heritage. There are many ancient temples in the village. More than 40 ancient idols of Gods and Goddesses have been recovered by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Those ancient idols have been kept in a museum in the village.

“Around 50 ancient idols of Gods and Goddesses have been kept in the museum set up by Archaeological Survey of India in the village. Many tourists from different parts of the State are visiting the museum. The government should undertake developmental activities in the village to attract more tourists,” said Museum in-charge Rabindra Patra.

“There should be proper research about the village. Many more ancient idols can be recovered under the soil by proper research and digging activities by ASI,” said Antarjyami Mohapatra, a resident of Ajodhya.