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PM Modi reaches out to India Inc, other states to develop ideal ‘tirth kshetra’ at Kedarnath

Prime Minister lays foundation stone of five major reconstruction projects at the shrine, including developing New Kedarpuri town , retaining walls and ghats at the Mandakini and Saraswati rivers and reconstructing the Samadhi Sthal of Adi Shankaracharya

dehradun Updated: Oct 20, 2017 18:35 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times
Prime Minister Narendra Modi,Kedarnath,Kedarpuri
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses pilgrims at Kedarnath shrine, in Uttarakhand on Friday.(Rajeev Kala/ Ht Photo)

Promising to show “how an ideal ‘Tirth Kshetra’ (religious tourism site) should be,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday laid the foundation stones of five major reconstruction projects at Kedarnath shrine and urged corporate groups and other states to pitch in to help the Uttarakhand government restore the religious destination to its old glory.

He described the projects as ambitious and expensive and added that there would be no dearth of funds to ensure that they are completed in a time-bound manner.

“I was destined to undertake reconstruction of the Kedarpuri…I urge other states and corporate groups to pitch in to help Uttarakhand restore the fabled shrine town to its old glory,” Modi said.

“Through the work we are doing in Kedarnath, we want to show how an ideal ‘Tirth Kshetra’ should be, how it should be pilgrim friendly and the well being of the priests should be given importance,” the PM said.

“We are building quality infrastructure in Kedarnath. It will be modern but the traditional ethos will be preserved. We will ensure the environment is not damaged,” Modi, who had visited the shrine in May this year too, added.

The reconstruction projects for which he laid the foundation stone include 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 (mausoleum) of Adi Shankaracharya, an early eighth century seer and the founder of the Vedanta school of philosophy who died at Kedarnath.

Modi announced that the mausoleum would be “as splendid as the Kedarnath shrine and the proposed New Kedarpuri town”.

Similarly, widening of the approach road to the Kedarnath shrine would be carried out. “It will have all the modern facilities like post office and cyber cafes etc available along its both sides for yatris (pilgrims)”, Modi said.

On the bathing ghat and a retaining wall to be built along the Mandakini and Saraswati rivers flowing through the shrine town, he said, “The walkway along both rivers would be built in a manner that pilgrims would be able to enjoy the natural music emanating from the flowing rivers.”

Giving details of proposed New Kedarpuri, a housing colony for Teerth Purohits (priests), Modi said houses planned under the scheme would be “spacious enough to also accommodate the yatris (tourists) and yajmans (guests) of Teerth purohits”.

Modi assured that the state government would ensure that no environmental damage occurred during the implementation of the reconstruction of New Kedarpuri “Similarly, the character of the Old Kedarpuri town would be kept intact.”

Modi said his earlier visit to Kedarnath that coincided with the reopening of the portals of the shrine on May 3 had sent a clear message across the country that a journey to the religious destination was safe. “As a result, some four lakh yatris visited the shrine in the past about six months”, he said, adding that following his current visit some 10 lakh would visit the shrine after its portals reopen next year.

First Published: Oct 20, 2017 18:35 IST