PM Modi offers prayer at centuries-old Jeshoreshwari Kali temple in Bangladesh

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Dhaka, Mar 27 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday offered prayers at the centuries-old Jeshoreshwari Kali temple in Ishwaripur village in southwestern Bangladesh and announced that India would construct a community hall-cum cyclone shelter attached to the temple.

On the second day of his two-day visit to Bangladesh, Prime Minister Modi performed pooja at the temple in Satkhira, which is one of the 51 Shaktipeeths in the Puranic tradition.

Modi also placed handmade mukut, made of silver with gold plating on Goddess kali. This mukut was handmade over three weeks by a local artisan.

'Feeling blessed after praying at the Jeshoreshwari Kali Temple,” Modi tweeted after offering prayers at the temple.

Speaking outside the temple, Modi said that he prayed to Goddess Kali to free the human race from COVID-19.

Noting that a large number of devotees from across the border and Bangladesh visit during ‘Maa Kali mela’ at the temple, Modi said a community hall is needed which should be multi-purpose so that when people come here during Kali puja, it is useful to them too.

Modi said India will build a multipurpose community hall at the temple.

'It should be useful for social, religious and educational events for local people. Most importantly, it should act as a shelter for all at the time of disasters like cyclones. India will do construction work. I express my gratitude to the Bangladesh government that they have wished us well for this,” Modi said.

The structure would be used by the devotees during the annual Kali Pooja and Mela of the temple and would also be used by broader community of all faiths as a storm shelter and community facility, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. The grant amount for the new facility was not mentioned.

According to Hindu mythology, the Jeshoreshwari Kali temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peeths, scattered across India and neighbouring countries. Records suggest a Hindu king set up the temple in the 16th century.

Ahead of his visit to Bangladesh, Modi said on Thursday that he looks forward to offering prayers to Goddess Kali at the Jashoreshwari Kali temple located in Ishwaripur village in Shyamnagar upazila of Satkhira, which borders West Bengal.

The Hindu community and temple authorities with the government support redecorated the temple ahead of Modi’s visit.

Last time when Prime Minister Modi visited Bangladesh in 2015, he offered puja at Dhakeshwari temple in the national capital.

Bangladesh has taken extra security measures for the Indian premier's visit in the wake of protests by few leftist and Islamist groups.

Modi, who is visiting Bangladesh on his first trip to a foreign country since the outbreak of the coronavirus, on Friday attended the celebrations of the golden jubilee of the country's independence, the birth centenary of ‘Bangabandhu’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in Dhaka.

In 2016, the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) said their latest vital sample statistics report found the country’s total population to be 15.89 crore by the end of 2015 with the number of Hindus at 1.70 crore in the Muslim-majority nation. PTI ZH AKJ AKJ