Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of multiple projects in Somnath, Gujarat, via video conferencing on Friday (20 August).
The projects inaugurated include the Somnath Promenade, Somnath Exhibition Centre and reconstructed temple precinct of Old (Juna) Somnath.
The Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone of Shree Parvati Temple during the event. BJP stalwart Lal Krishan Advani, Union Home Minister, CM and Deputy CM of Gujarat were present.
The Somnath Promenade has been developed under the PRASHAD (Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive) Scheme at a total cost of over Rs 47 crore. The Somnath Exhibition Centre, developed in the premises of 'Tourist Facilitation Centre', displays the exhibits from dismantled parts of the old Somnath temple and its sculptures having Nagara style temple architecture of old Somnath.
The reconstructed temple precinct of Old (Juna) Somnath has been completed by Shree Somnath Trust with a total outlay of Rs 3.5 crore. This temple is also referred to as Ahilyabai Temple since it was built by Queen Ahilyabai of Indore when she found that the old temple was in ruins. The entire old temple complex has been holistically redeveloped for the safety of pilgrims and with augmented capacity.
Shree Parvati Temple is proposed to be constructed with a total outlay of Rs 30 crore. This project includes temple construction in Sompura Salats Style, development of GarbhaGriha and Nritya Mandap.
Congratulating the devotees worldwide, the Prime Minister paid tribute to Sardar Patel, who showed indomitable willpower to revive India's ancient glory. He said Sardar Patel linked Somnath Mandir with the spirit of independent India.
Modi said that it is 'our good fortune that we are taking forward the efforts of Sardar Saheb in the 75 years of Independence and imparting new splendour to Somnath Temple.
The Prime Minister also remembered Lokmata Ahilyabai Holkar, who renovated several temples from Vishwanath to Somnath. The Country is moving forward, taking inspiration from the blend of modernity and tradition in her life, said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister said that in initiatives like the Statue of Unity and transformation of Kachchh, Gujarat has seen from close quarters the results of linking modernity with tourism.
"It has been demanded of every time period that we look for new possibilities in religious tourism and strengthen the links between pilgrimage and local economy", the Prime Minister pointed out.
The Prime Minister said that the reconstruction of Somnath temple to grand renovation is due to centuries of solid will and ideological continuity.
"Great men like Rajendra Prasad ji, Sardar Patel and KM Munshi faced difficulties for this campaign even after Independence. Still, finally Somnath Mandir was established as the divine pillar of modern India in 1950. The Country is moving towards amicable solutions to difficult problems. A bright pillar of the glory of modern India is coming up in the form of Ram Mandir," he said
The Prime Minister highlighted the role of the faith and belief system in underscoring the unity of India.
He said, "From Somnath and Nageshwar in the west to Vaidyanathin the east, from Baba Kedarnath in the north to Shri Rameshwar, at the extreme southern end of India, these 12 Jyotirlingas serve to connect the whole of India. Similarly, the arrangement of our four dhams, the concept of our Shakti Peethas, the establishment of different pilgrimages in different corners of our Country, this outline of our faith is actually an expression of the spirit of 'Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat'."
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