Prime Minister Narendra Modi is known as a tough taskmaster but often we have seen his softer side emerge when he travels and comes into close contact with the public. The same happened at Kedarnath shrine that the PM was visiting today. Crowds gathered at the temple witnessed this when an affectionate PM Modi saw and patted a child. It happened that, after paying obeisance at the Himalayan shrine in Uttarakhand, PM Modi greeted the crowds gathered there. While he was walking, he noticed a child in a jawan’s arms. He quickly approached the child, spoke to the jawan and patted the child with a big smile on his face. In another such incident last month, in Tapi district in Gujarat, the Prime Minister had even stopped his convoy to meet a four-year-old girl on the streets who was seen approaching the speeding cars. In doing so, PM Modi had broken his own security protocol, reports had said.
Earlier in the morning, PM Modi offered prayers at Kedarnath temple as the portals of the Himalayan shrine were reopened for devotees after remaining closed for six months for the winters.
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Modi is the first prime minister to visit the famed temple in 28 years after former prime minister VP Singh had paid a visit to the temple in 1989.
Accompanied by Uttarakhand Governor K K Paul and Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, Modi arrived in an army chopper at the helipad built close to the temple and headed straight for the shrine located at a height of over 11000 ft.
The temple doors were opened at 8.50 AM and the prime minister arrived just about half an hour later to offer prayers and perform a ‘rudrabhishek’ in the sanctum sanctorum of the age-old shrine.
After 20 minutes, Modi, who was wearing a brown overcoat, emerged out of the temple and waved to the crowds waiting outside for a glimpse of the Prime Minister.
He was gifted a shawl, a rudraksha, a wooden replica of the temple and books on the Himalayas by the priests of the temple as he came out of the shrine.
He did a ‘parikrama’ of the Nandi statue outside the temple before making way through the crowds to the convoy that was to take him back to the helipad.
The Prime Minister also went to the spot where a huge rock named Bhimshila had rolled down from the mountains in the wake of the June 2013 Uttarakhand flood tragedy and got stuck at the back of the temple.
Christened Bhimshila after the tragedy, also known as the Himalayan Tsunami, the truck-sized rock is credited with protecting the shrine from major damage.
After spending about an hour at the temple, the Prime Minister left in an army chopper for Haridwar where he is scheduled to inaugurate an ayurvedic research centre at Ramdev’s Patanjali Yogpeeth.
Gangotri and Yamunotri have already opened on the occasion of Akshay Tritiya whereas Badrinath is slated to reopen on May 6 when President Pranab Mukherjee will visit the temple.