More pilgrims will visit Char Dham shrines over the next decade than those who have visited them over the past century, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday during his visit to Kedarnath temple, citing the speed with which the infrastructure was developing in Uttarakhand.
“I can assure you with confidence,” Modi said during a meeting at the temple, where he performed Rudrabhishek puja before unveiling a 12-foot, 35-ton statue of Adi Guru Shankaracharya. Modi also inaugurated reconstruction and development works worth ??225 crores in the report related to the survey.
It was Modi’s fifth visit to Kedarnath after becoming Prime Minister and the first in his second term.
Watch: What Prime Minister Modi’s ‘inner voice’ told him after the 2013 Ukhand floods
Modi praised Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami and added how the state government is working for development; the third decade of the current century will be that of Uttarakhand. “He will reach higher heights …”
Modi spoke about the new facilities in Kedarnath and added that they will facilitate Char Dham Yatra at four Hindu temples for pilgrims. “The protective wall built near the Mandakini River will prevent a tragedy like the one in 2013 (floods) and secure the yatra. In addition, the accommodation facilities developed for the pilgrims will also provide more comfort to the pilgrims. Not only that, the permanent homes built for the temple priests solve their problems in the freezing cold.
Modi spoke about the damage to the temple from the 2013 floods and added that he had always believed Kedarnath would rise again in all his glory. “The damage caused during the tragedy was unimaginable. I was then the chief minister of Gujarat … I came here after the tragedy and I witnessed the pain of the people. Modi said people then asked if Kedarnath would be able to get up. He added that he firmly believed in Lord Shiva that his temple would rise again. “I am fortunate that the land which uplifted me when I was nothing has now given me the opportunity to serve it with the work of rebuilding which is being carried out with the blessings of Lord Kedarnath.”
Modi asked people to visit sacred places and those related to the struggle for freedom. “We celebrate Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav (marking 75 years of independence) during which people are encouraged to visit historic places linked to the country’s independence. But I want to urge them to visit sacred places like Kedarnath to educate the new generation about India’s secular and glorious spiritual and cultural heritage, ”he said.
Modi spoke about Adi Guru Shankaracharya’s contribution to spiritual enlightenment. “When the country was losing its unity, Adi Guru Shankracharya, at a young age, visited various parts of the country with his students to spread spiritual enlightenment and religiously unify the country. Its principles have become relevant in our time.
Shankracharya, an 8th century spiritual leader and philosopher, consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta and established four monastic institutions.
Modi said India is regaining its lost spiritual glory with the construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya and development work in Kashi Vishwanath.
“Not only that, important works are underway in Kushinagar, Bodh Gaya, Sarnath and other important and sacred Buddhist places to create a Buddhist pilgrimage circuit. When completed, it will help attract thousands of Buddhist pilgrims and spiritual leaders.
Modi commended the government of Uttarakhand for the vaccine coverage against Covid-19.
Dhami thanked Modi for the reconstruction and development work in Kedarnath and the three other shrines of Char Dham – Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri. “Under his leadership, work of reconstruction and development worth ??225 crores were completed as part of the first phase at Kedarnath while those worth ??185 crores would soon be completed as part of the second phase. He added ?? ??245 crores have been approved for Badrinath Temple development work and hundreds more for Gangotri and Yamunotri Shines. Dhami thanked Modi for his “special love for Uttarakhand”.