The proposed model of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

NEW DELHI, Sept 14 (Reuters) - The Ram Temple in India’s Ayodhya will be completed in December and opened to devotees for prayer in January, an official said on Thursday.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take part in prayers at the opening, Nripendra Misra, Chairman of the Shri Ramjanmabhoomi Temple Construction Committee, said.

Modi has been invited for the conclusion of prayers by priests in late January, which will mark the opening of the temple, said Misra, a retired bureaucrat who was Modi’s principal secretary, or chief of staff until 2019, before moving to the independent temple construction panel.

“It will be good if the prime minister is present,” Misra said.

Indian engineering giant Larsen and Toubro is building the temple on a 2.67-acre (1.08 hectares) site inside a 70-acre (28.33 hectares) complex, Misra said, adding that the second and final phase would be completed in December 2025.

The project is estimated to cost Rs15 billion ($181 million) and is entirely funded by donations from 40 million resident Indians that totalled more than Rs30 billion, he said.

An estimated 100,000 devotees are expected to visit the temple daily in the first months, he added.

Asked if the timing of the opening is linked to elections, Misra replied: “It has nothing to do whatsoever with the political elections. This was decided in 2020.”