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  • Context (IE): PM visited the Kalaram Mandir on the banks of Godavari river in the Panchavati area.
  • The temple is the site of agitation led by B.R Ambedkar, who demanded temple entry rights for Dalits in 1930.
  • Kalaram Temple is a Hindu temple in Nashik city’s Panchavati area in Maharashtra.
  • The temple derives its name from a black statue of Lord Kala Ram translates literally to “Black Ram”.

Kalaram Mandir

Kalaram Temple History and Architecture

  • The original temple dedicated to an unknown deity was ancient, estimated to be of the Rashtrakuta Period from the 7th 11th centuries.
  • During the early Turkish invasions, the idol of the deity was thrown in the Godavari River by the Temple Brahmins to save it.
  • The New temple was built in 1792 with the efforts of one Sardar Rangarao Odhekar.
  • Sardar Odhekar dreamt of a black-coloured statue of Lord Ram in the Godavari, recovered the statues from the river, and built the temple.
  • The place where statues were found was named Ramkund.

Architecture and the Temple Complex

  • The sanctum sanctorum houses the statues of Lord Ram, the goddess Sita and Lakshmana.
  • The main entrance has a Hanuman deity, which is black.
  • The Temple is designed so that Rama’s idol can be visible from Hanuman’s idol.
  • The main temple has 14 steps, representing the 14 years of Ram’s exile.
  • 84 temple pillars signify a cycle of 84 lakh species, the completion of which leads to birth as a human.
  • There is also an ancient tree with Dattatreya’s footprint impressions marked on a stone.
  • Dattatreya is a paradigmatic Sannyasi (monk) and one of the lords of yoga.
  • There is a statue of Sardar Odhekar in the temple.
  • The architectural design of this temple is similar to the temple of Trimbakeshwar.
  • The temple has been constructed of black stones and four entrance doors in all four directions.
  • Several smaller temples surround the temple, such as the Vithal, Ganapathi, and Maruti.

Panchvati: Its linkages with Ramayana

  • Several significant events described in the Ramayana occurred in the Panchvati area.
  • Ram, Sita and Lakshman spent the first few years of their 14-year exile in Dandakaranya, the dense forest in central India of which Panchavati was a part.
  • Panchavati derives its name from five sacred banyan trees in the vicinity, symbolising the auspiciousness of the area where Lord Ram, Sita, and Lakshman chose to establish their hut.
  • Ravan, the demon king of Lanka, abducted Sita from the forest, Dandkaranya.

Kalaram Temple Entry Movement

  • In 1930, B R Ambedkar and the Marathi teacher and social activist Pandurang Sadashiv Sane, known as Sane Guruji, led an agitation to demand access to Hindu temples for Dalits.
  • It is also known as Kalaram Mandir Satyagraha.
  • Many Dalit protesters arrived in the town by trucks; they surrounded the temple and sat around it.
  • Mode of Protest: They sang songs and often raised war cries, demanding to enter the temple.
  • Reaction of Locals: The people of Nashik boycotted the protesters.
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