Inaugurating the redeveloped Kalika Mata temple in Pavagadh by unfurling a flag on the superstructure where a dargah stood earlier and has been relocated next to it, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Saturday that India’s “cultural treasures are being re-established”.
Calling the renovated temple a “symbol of religious unity” due to the presence of Jain temples in the vicinity, Modi, who took a cable car to reach the temple atop a hill in Pavagadh in the Panchmahal district, said Gujarat has led the way for “preservation of India’s spiritual history”.
He said temples across the country were being renovated as “new India is re-establishing its lost cultural history”.
“Today, after centuries, the temple of Goddess Kali is in its full glory before us… It makes us hold our heads high. This ‘shikhar dhwaj’ (flag on the spire top) is not just a symbol of our faith, it is a symbol that centuries pass by, generations go by, but faith remains unshakeable. You have seen the grand Ram temple taking shape in Ayodhya or Vishwanath Dham in Kashi or the Kedar Baba Dham… Today, India’s cultural treasures are being re-established. India is living its culture and ancient history and wearing its identity with as much vigour as the new aspirations she holds. Every Indian is proud of this achievement. This renovated temple of Mahakali is a part of our Gaurav Abhiyaan… Where culture is preserved, art and talent also grows. We have to also nurture our talent. We have to give it a new identity.”
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PM paid obeisance at the temple after unfurling the red and golden flag of the temple on the newly constructed, gold-plated ‘Shikhar’ of the temple. (Source: BJP)
While he made no reference to the compromise and shifting of the Hazrat Sadanshah Wali Peer dargah, Modi said, “The redevelopment of temples is a symbol of the progress and unity of the society… Here in Panchmahal district, the redevelopment of this temple will boost tourism and this employment. It will bring infrastructure development and also ensure that local art is promoted.”
“Can you imagine that for five centuries and so many decades of independence, no flag had been unfurled on the ‘shikhar’ of Goddess Kali? It happened today… And the Shaktipeeth of Pavagadh, the Mahakali temple, will be in its glory and grandeur ahead of Gupt Navratri (beginning June 30, according to the Hindu calendar). When devotion, dedication and perseverance grows, Shakti appears with its full power. With the blessings of Mahakali, we are seeing the same power of Gujarat and India,” he said.
Stating that the renovated temple would make the tribal Panchmahal district a tourist hub, he said, “Look at Kevadia (Ekta Nagar in Narmada district), which is home to the Statue of Unity, (it) has become a world tourism spot… When tourism in Pavagadh, Vadodara and Panchmahal will benefit. The tribal belt will have employment. Youth will also benefit. Panchmahal has everything – devotion, history, natural beauty and art… On the one hand, there is the Mahakali temple and also the legacy of Jain temples. Pavagadh has been the center of religious unity. UNESCO has registered Champaner as a World Heritage Site, which will add to the tourism boost for this location, especially for the local tribal community.”
Referring to Swami Vivekanand seeking the blessings of Goddess Kali to turn to spiritual life, Modi said, “While seeking blessings at Mahakali’s feet, I was wondering what I should ask for… History is witness that even Swami Vivekanand had turned to spiritual life from social service after seeking blessings from Mahakali… May Maa (Mahakali) give me the blessing that I, with even more energy (urja), sacrifice (tyaag) and submission (samarpan), should be able to serve the people of this country as their sevak . Whatever strength I have and if I have any good deeds in life, may I be able to offer it for the development of the sisters and people of this country.”
The temple has been renovated at a cost of Rs 125 crore with 70 per cent being borne by the Gujarat Pavitra Yatradham Vikas Board of the Gujarat government and the rest by the Kalika Mata Temple trust.
At Vadodara, where he inaugurated development projects worth Rs 21,000 crore including railway projects worth Rs 16,400 crore, Modi said, “I was fortunate that in Lok Sabha 2014, I had the blessings of Vadodara navnath (nine Shiva temples) and Kashi Vishwanath as well .” He had contested the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 from Vadodara and Varanasi, He won from both seats, but gave up the Vadodara seat.
Speaking at the Gujarat Gaurav Abhiyaan in Vadodara’s Leprosy Grounds, Modi said, “Vadodara’s identity is that it is an education and skill development hub. Vadodara’s MS University has already blown its bugle. Now, Vadodara has become the education and skill development hub for the country — IIIT, Swarnim Gujarat sports university, Central University, and also the first Railway university that will now be called the Bharatiya Gati Shakti Vishwavidyalaya. There is also the Birsa Munda Tribal University in Narmada district close by. Vadodara is the oldest cosmopolitan city in the country… There isn’t a single part of the country from where people have not settled in Vadodara …And when there is garba here, the world watches … It’s a service sector city. Bombardier trains going all over the world from Vadodara are a matter of pride for this city.”