PM Modi visits Kali temple in Dakshineswar, performs 'aarti'

  • Kolkata, Hindustan Times, HT Correspondent
  • Updated: May 10, 2015 09:51 IST

Narendra Modi on Sunday became the first prime minister to visit the Dakshineswar Kali temple that is associated with religious leader Ramkrishna Paramhansha.

After visiting Dakshineswar, Modi went to the nearby Belur Math, where he spent about 20 minutes meditating inside the room where Swami Vivekananda lived.

On the second day of his two-day trip to West Bengal, Modi reached Dakshineswar a few minutes before 8am and headed straight for the sanctum sanctorum.

Modi took out a pen from his pocket and touched the feet of the goddess with it.

"He touched the feet of the idol and sought her blessings. Then the Prime Minister performed aarti," said a member of the temple’s board of trustees who accompanied Modi.

"Modi is the first Prime Minister to come here. Earlier Rajendra Prasad, the first President, visited the temple," he said.

Dakshineswar temple will complete 160 years on May 31. It attracts devotees from across the country and beyond, principally because the famous Hindu sage Ramkrishna Paramhansha served as its priest for a number of years.

Emerging from the temple, Modi went to the rooms where Ramkrishna Paramhansa spent a number of years.

"The Prime Minister touched the bed used by the sage and prayed for his blessings," said the member of the board of trustees. Modi also signed the visitor's book.

Modi later visited a library inside the temple complex.

The member of the board of trustees further said Modi assured him of help for developing the temple complex and asked him and his team to visit Delhi for discussions.

The temple’s authorities gifted Modi a picture of the idol of the goddess, flowers, a handcrafted Ashoka Stambha and a small statue of Vivekananda, who was a disciple of Ramkrishna Paramhansa.

From Dakshineswar, Modi went to Belur Math, the headquarters of the Ramkrishna Mission. It was set up by Vivekananda, one of the sources of inspirations for Modi.

On Saturday evening, Modi visited Ramkrishna Mission Seva Prathisthan hospital in Kolkata to meet the ailing Swami Atmasthananda, president of the Ramkrishna Math and Mission order.

He spent about 15 minutes at the hospital and exchanged a few words in Gujarati with his former guru.

Atmasthananda had advised a teenage Modi to go back to worldly life and to abandon his plans of becoming a monk, the Prime Minister had revealed earlier.

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