Modi unfurls flag on rebuilt temple spire during Gujarat visit


Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday visited the Mahakali temple in Gujarats Panchmahal district and unfurled a flag on its spire which has been rebuilt centuries after its destruction, while underlining that our “centres of faith and spiritual glory” are being re-established now.

During a visit to his home state where Assembly elections are due by year-end, he also met his mother who entered the 100th year of her life, and launched the BJP governments two schemes aiming to meet nutritional needs of pregnant women. The prime minister unfurled a red flag on the spire of the 11th century Mahakali temple atop Pavagadh Hill, months after a dargah which stood atop the temple for nearly 500 years was shifted with the consent of its caretakers. He also inaugurated the redeveloped temple.

The centres of faith and spiritual glory of India are now being re-established, he said on this occasion.

The shikhara or spire of the temple, which was destroyed during an attack by the armies of Sultan of Gujarat Mahmud Begda around 500 years ago, has been restored as part of the redevelopment of the temple.

“For five centuries and even after 75 years of Independence the flag atop Ma Kali temple was not unfurled, today it is being done. The flag unfurled at the temple is not just a symbol of our spirituality, but it says that centuries change, eras go by, but our faith remains eternal,” the prime minister said.

“You have seen that a grand Ram temple is being built at Ayodhya. The Kashi Vishwanath temple complex has already been rebuilt and the same is the case with the Kedarnath temple. Our centres of faith and spiritual glory of India are being re-established. The rebuilding of Ma Kali temple at Pavagadh is part of the same gaurav yatra,” Modi said.

He also stressed the important of developing infrastructure for the development of religious tourism, and noted that after infrastructure development for Chardham Yatra in Uttrakhand, “lakhs of people are visiting these places in just few weeks this season.” Following the invasion of Begda and destruction of the spire of the Mahakali temple, a dargah or shrine of Sadanshah Peer, a Muslim saint, was built on top of the temple. During the redevelopment, caretakers of the dargah acceded to the temple trustees request to shift it to a nearby location.

Earlier, the prime minister started his day by meeting his mother Hiraba, who lives at Raysan village on the outskirts of Gandhinagar with his younger brother Pankaj Modi, and sought her blessings on her birthday as she entered the 100th year of his life.

In a blogpost penned for the occasion, Modi termed her a “symbol of resilience.” The prime minister reached Hirabas residence around 6:30 am, and spent around half an hour with her. He offered her sweets, washed her feet and took her blessings. He also gifted her a shawl and chatted with her while sitting at her feet, video footage of the meeting, released by officials here, showed.

In the blogpost, Modi called her a “symbol of resilience,” someone who finds happiness in others joys, and who is “as simple as she is extraordinary”, “just like all mothers.

He recalled how his father brought his friends son Abbas to their house after Abbass father died. He stayed with us and completed his studies. Mother was as affectionate and caring towards Abbas just like she did for all of us siblings. Every year on Eid, she used to prepare his favourite dishes,” he said. Later, Modi addressed a rally in Vadodara after launching a project of the Gujarat government aiming to address nutritional requirements of pregnant women and a similar programme targeting tribal women. He also unveiled, through video link, 18 railway projects worth Rs 16,000-crore, laid the foundation stone for the permanent campus of the Central University of Gujarat and new building of Bharatiya Gati Shakti Vishwavidyalaya.

“Rapid development of women, their empowerment is important for the rapid development of the 21st century India…..From the armed forces to mines, my government has opened all doors for women to join the career of their liking,” he said.

“Making the lives of women easier, reducing their troubles and giving them opportunities to move ahead – these are some of the topmost priorities of our government,” the prime minister added.

The Rs 800-crore Mukhya Mantri Matrushakti Yojana, which he launched at the program, aims to provide nutritional food to pregnant and lactating women. Poshan Sudha Yojana, aiming to meet nutritional needs of pregnant women, has been expanded to all tribal-dominated areas of Gujarat.

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