At Kedarnath, PM prays for strength
At 9.45 Prime Minister Narendra Modi emerged from the IAF Mi-17 helicopter at the Kedarnath helipad wearing a traditional Garhwali Dhohya, saffron kamarband and Pahadi cap amidst chants of Har Har Mahadev.
He greeted devotees at the Kedarnath shrine at an altitude of 11, 500 feet and then entered the 8th century shrine. Inside the temple amidst chants of mantras the chief priest guided the prime minister through the 'Rudrabhishek' or special prayers to please Lord Shiv.
The Prime Minister then emerged from the temple and then over the course of the next two hours he carried out a periodic review of the restoration work at the Kedarnath shrine including the construction of a memorial for Jagat Guru Adishankaracharya behind the shrine.
After that the PM walked up another 500 feet to an isolated cave for an approximately 15 hour long 'Ekantvaas' or solitude to meditate. This is being seen as the Prime Minister's special 'dhyan and saadhnafor big strength before the last phase of elections and results on May 23.
The 10 feet by 8 feet cave has a small wooden cot for the PM to meditate. The WiFi and telephone enabled cave also has an adjoining toilet with basic facilities.
The PM plans to meditate in solitude for 15 hours and emerge on Sunday morning to pray again at the Kedarnath Shrine before flying off to the Badrinath temple. "The PM's prayers were to emerge stronger. The Rudrabhishek is to please Lord Shiva and seek inner strength," Teerth Purohit Pravin Chandra Tiwari told India Today TV.
"We were lucky to get a glimpse of the PM. We were behind the security barricade. But we too are praying for him to emerge stronger," Sonali Bhattacharya, a devotee from Bengal said. A large number of devotees from Bengal and Odisha have come for a special prayer today on Budha Poornima. Despite the rain and biting cold a large number of devotees thronged the shrine for a special darshan. The Kedarnath shrine is open between April and November each year and remains shut in winters because of heavy snowfall.