Construction of the Ram temple here has reached the halfway stage and the sanctum sanctorum will be ready to place the idol by next year's 'Makar Sankranti', Ram Mandir Trust Secretary Champat Rai said on Friday.
The sanctum sanctorum has been designed in such a way that the rays of the rising sun fall on the idol's forehead, he said.
"Today the whole country is celebrating Lohri -- the sun entering 'Makar Rashi'. We have achieved more than half of our goal of building the Ram temple. As the sun enters 'Makar Rashi' in 2024, Lord Rama will sit in his original sanctum sanctorum," Rai told PTI.
Work on the ground floor has reached the halfway point. It is believed that the ground floor of the sanctum sanctorum will be completed by August. The construction of a 21-ft high plinth or the temple floor has already been completed, Rai said.
A layer of stones have been placed at a height of 11 feet. Eight layers of stones have been carved for the temple and 5-ft granite stones installed all around to strengthen the temple's foundations.
The ground floor of the sanctum sanctorum will include 170 pillars.
On Friday, a day before Makar Sankranti, the Shri Ram Janambhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust allowed access to journalists to observe the progress of construction.
According to the engineers involved, the sanctum sanctorum will be finished by next January.
Two architects -- CB Sompura and Jai Karthik -- are involved in temple design. So far, more than 45 per cent of the construction has been done, Project Manager Jagdish Afley said.
The ground and first floors are likely to be completed by January 2024. However, it will take at least another five months to reach the top, he added.
Construction of the 'Kalyan Mandap', 'Anushthan Mandap' and Devotee Facilitation Centre are yet to be completed.
Afley said two different idols -- 'chal vigrah' and 'achal vigrah' -- would be placed in the sanctum sanctorum.
'Chal vigrah', the 1949 idol being worshipped today, will be placed there. A bigger idol -- 'achal vigrah' -- will also be installed, he said.
"We are designing the sanctum sanctorum in such a way that the rays of the rising sun fall on the forehead of the idols," he added.
The architects and engineers are paying special attention to ensure that the temple has a lifespan of a thousand years.