'Focus on spiritual legacy': PM Modi in review of Kedarnath reconstruction work

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday reviewed the progress of the ongoing reconstruction and development work at the Kedarnath shrine through camera-mounted drone via video-conferencing from New Delhi. He also sought information about the progress Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat during.

According to the senior government functionaries in the state, PM Modi took stock of the reconstruction work in and around the Kedarnath temple area including caves being constructed in the vicinity of the shrine, samadhi sthal (mausoleum) of Adi Shankaracharya, Saraswati Ghat, Aastha Path, bridge on the path towards Bhairav temple, the bridge over Mandakini river and ghats being built at the confluence of Mandakini and Saraswati rivers in the area.

During the video-conference, PM Modi said that information about the historical, spiritual and religious legacy of Kedarnath shrine and pilgrimage should be put on the path from Rambada to Kedarnath so that pilgrims become aware of the same. He said that more spirituality-related works could be undertaken in the area, on which the state government should pay attention.

The Prime Minister said that the caves should be developed in a proper way so that they look attractive.

Stressing that the reconstruction work could be expedited, PM Modi said that the state government should identify the things which need to be completed on a priority basis. He said that Centre will provide all possible help for reconstruction and development work in Kedarnath and Badrinath areas.

PM Modi also said that a development plan should be framed for the Badrinath Dham, keeping in mind the next 100 years.

The Prime Minister also sought information about the Char Dham yatra this year. Rawat apprised him that yatra (pilgrimage) was being allowed for the locals only for the time being in a limited way, with devotees asked to wear face masks and follow social distancing.

The chief minister also requested PM Modi that state government needs Rs 200 crore for various construction works in the Kedarnath area.

During the video-conference, chief secretary Utpal Kumar Singh apprised PM Modi about the progress in various reconstruction work in the Kedarnath area. He informed the Prime Minister that samadhi of Adi Shankaracharya will be completed by December 31, 2020, Saraswati Ghat by June 30, 2020, the bridge on Mandakini river by March 31, 2021, and three caves around the shrine by September 2020. He added that bridge on the path towards the Bhairav temple has already been completed.

The chief secretary also informed PM Modi that the state government is planning to construct an open museum in the Kedarnath area. The construction of 73 houses for priests of the shrine, to be developed in five blocks, two of which have been already completed, will be completed in September this year

In October 2017, PM Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stones of five major reconstruction projects at the Kedarnath shrine. The reconstruction projects for which he laid the foundation stone included improved facilities for devotees, construction of retaining walls and ghats at the Mandakini and Saraswati rivers, an approach road to the shrine and reconstructing the Samadhi Sthal of Adi Shankaracharya, an early eighth-century seer and the founder of the Vedanta school of philosophy.

PM Modi had visited Rudra meditation cave in Kedarnath in May last year. He had spent a day meditating at the cave, which is nearly a kilometre from the Kedarnath shrine. Following PM Modi’s visit, the cave received a significant number of bookings from across the country for meditation. He had also visited the Badrinath shrine in May last year.

Kedarnath and Badrinath, along with Yamunotri and Gangotri, collectively called Char Dham, are one of the most revered pilgrimages in the Hindu tradition and attract lakhs of pilgrims each year. Kedarnath shrine is located near the Mandakini river in Rudraprayag district. According to tradition, the shrine was built by Pandavas and revived by Adi Sankaracharya. The shrine was the worst affected area during the 2013 flash floods, with Kedarnath town suffering extensive damage. Badrinath is located along the banks of the Alaknanda River in Chamoli district at a height of over 10,000 feet.

This year on April 29, when the portals of the Kedarnath shrine were opened, the first prayers were offered on behalf of PM Modi to help the country fight the coronavirus pandemic.

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