For the first time probably since its inception not a single artisan was present at the workshop.
The Nyas is the supreme body of saints which has been spearheading the Ram Mandir movement across the country since the 1990s.
Large number of devotees are in Ayodhya for the ‘Chaudah (14) Koshi Parikrama’, many of whom visit the workshop to see big stone slabs lying there for the proposed Ram temple.
Even when the RSS and its frontal organisations were banned after demolition of Babri Masjid in December 1992, chiselling of stones had continued at the workshop.
The RSS and VHP leaders, however, denied any pressure from the central leadership to stop the work.
“The Nyas has decided to stop all work at the Karyashaala. It has decided to wait for the Supreme Court’s verdict. Thereafter, it will take a decision on resuming the work,” said Sharad Sharma, regional spokesperson of VHP, who operates from Karsevakpuram.
At the workshop, there are piles and piles of carved stone pillars, ceiling slabs, floor slabs and slabs for steps, all in red stone, for the proposed temple, which will not have any iron work. Many devout worshipers who visit the workshop touch the slabs in reverence.
The ‘Shilanyas’ for the temple took place on November 10, 1989. On August 30, 1990, the workshop was set up and stone consignments started coming in. Stone carving work began in 1992 but the work slowed down since 1997 because of the pendency of the case in the high court.
Since the Yogi Adityanath government took over, work has picked up once again.
“Most of the work related with carving of stones has already been completed. Only some delicate work is left which will be carried out at the temple construction site,” said Sharma.
The distance between the workshop and the proposed site, that is Ram Janmbhoomi, is 3 kilometre. The workshop has two giant stone cutters. There is a shed that works as the workplace for the stone-carvers. In the middle of the workshop is a wooden model of the proposed temple. And on a side, there are quarters for workshop staff and artisans.