A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met soldiers in Gurez sector of Jammu and Kashmir state, he visited the Kedarnath shrine in Uttarakhand on Friday. It may be known that the shrine is set to close as winter sets in and would reopen only in summer season. This is Modi’s second visit to the Kedarnath shrine this year.
Amongst prominent dignitaries who visited along with him included Uttarakhand Governor KK Paul and Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat. Lord Shiva is the ruling deity of the Kedarnath shrine and priests there welcomed the Prime Minister before he offered prayers.
“From this holy land of Kedarnath, I seek the blessings of Bhole Baba and pledge to devote myself fully to realising the dream of a developed India by the time we mark 75 years of freedom in 2022,” PM Modi told a gathering of officials, priests and locals at the mountain shrine. He laid the foundation stone for a new Kedarpuri, which was destroyed by flash floods in June 2013, and for a couple of other reconstruction projects. “The floods of 2013 had made all of us extremely sad. That time I was not the Prime Minister, I was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. I came here to do all that I could for victims,” PM Modi said, stressing on a point that the government will ensure the environment is not damaged while building new or upgrading infrastructure in the hilly area.
“We are building quality infrastructure in Kedarnath. It will be modern but traditional ethos will be preserved,” PM Modi said. With winter approaching, the annual Chardham yatra in Uttarakhand which sees lakhs of people make a beeline for the four shrines in the upper reaches of Uttarakhand starting April-May, has started winding down. The first to close for the winter was Hemkund Sahib, which lies at an elevation of over 15,000 feet in Chamoli district, on October 10 amid the chanting of the holy scripture Gurbani.