The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of multiple projects in Somnath, Gujarat today via video conferencing. 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. Shri Lal Krishan Advani, Union Home Minister, Union Tourism Minister along with CM and Deputy CM of Gujarat were present on the occasion.
Congratulating the devotees all over the world, the Prime Minister paid tribute to Sardar Patel who showed indomitable will power for the revival of India’s ancient glory. Sardar Patel linked Somnath Mandir with independent spirit of independent India. Shri Modi said that it is ‘our good fortune that we are taking forward the efforts of Sardar Saheb in the 75th year of Independence and imparting new splendour to Somnath Temple. The Prime Minister also remembered LokmataAhilyabai Holkar who renovated several temples from Vishwanath to Somnath. 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 Statue of Unity and transformation of Kachch, Gujarat has seen from the close quarters, the results of linking modernity with tourism. ‘It has been demand 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 Lord Shiva gives rise to development and creativity amidst annihilation and destruction. Shiv is unending, can’t be expressed and eternal. ‘Our faith in Shiva makes us aware of our existence beyond the limits of time, gives us the strength to face the challenges of time’, said the Prime Minister.
Reflecting on the history of the revered temple, the Prime Minister recalled the repeated destruction of the temple and how the temple rose after every attack. ‘It is a symbol of the belief that truth can’t be defeated by falsehood and faith can’t be crushed by terror.’ “The destructive powers, the thinking that tries to establish an empire on the basis of terror, may dominate temporarily, but, its existence is never permanent, it cannot suppress humanity for a long time. This was true when some attackers were demolishing Somnath, it is equally true even today, when the world is apprehensive of such ideologies.”, the Prime Minister insisted.
The Prime Minister said that reconstruction of Somnath temple to grand renovation is due to centuries of strong 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 got established as divine pillar of modern India in 1950. The Country is moving towards amicable solutions of difficult problems. A bright pillar of the glory of modern India is coming up in the form of Ram Mandir’, he said
He said the our thinking should be to learn from history to improve our present and create a new future. Referring to his mantra of ‘Bharat Jodo Andolan’, Shri Modi said that this is not just geographical connectivity but connect in thoughts also. ‘This also is a pledge for connecting the building of future India with our past’, said the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister said “For us essence of history and faith is SabkaSaath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka, Vishwas and SabkaPrayas”.The Prime Minister highlighted the role of the faith and belief system in the 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 Shaktipeeths, 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’.’
Continuing with the role of spirituality in strengthening the unity of the nation, the Prime Minister dwelled upon the national and international potential of tourism and spiritual tourism. He said that the country is reviving the ancient glory by building modern infrastructure. He gave example of Ramayana circuit which is apprising the Ram Bhakts about new places related to lord Ram and making them feel how Lord Ram is entire India’s Ram. Similarly Buddha Circuit providing facilities to the devotees from world over. The Prime Minister informed that Tourism Ministry is developing tourist circuits on 15 themes under Swadesh Darshan Scheme, creating opportunities for tourism in neglected areas. Developments in hilly area like Kedarnath, tunnel and highways for Char Dhams, development work in Vaishnao Devi, high-tech infrastructure in the Northeast are bridging the distances. Similarly, under PRASHAD Scheme, announced in 2014, is developing 40 major places of pilgrimage out of which, 15 are already completed. In Gujarat, work is on for three projects worth over 100 crore. Attention is being paid to connect the places of pilgrimages. The Prime Minister said that the country is not only connecting common citizens through tourism but is moving forward too. ‘The Country has moved from 65th place in 2013 on Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index to 34th place in 2019.
The Somnath Promenade has been developed under PRASHAD (Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive) Scheme at a total cost of over ₹ 47 crore. The Somnath Exhibition Centre, developed in the premises of ‘Tourist Facilitation Centre’, displays the exhibits from dismantled parts of old Somnath temple and its sculptures having Nagar 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 AhilyabaiTemple 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 Cr. This will include temple construction in Sompura Salats Style, development of GarbhaGriha and Nritya Mandap.