Prime Minister Narendra Modi emerged from a cave in Kedarnath on Sunday morning after spending a night of meditation in this temple town in Uttarakhand.
Speaking to the media, the PM said that he would want Indians to explore different parts of the country and see the diversity.
“I want people of our nation to see the country. While I don’t have any objection to them travelling to foreign countries but they should also travel to see the different places in our country,” he said.
“It has been my good fortune that I have been getting the opportunity to come here often. My development mission here is nature, environment and tourism,” he added.
Before speaking to the media, the PM also greeted devotees at Kedarnath.
A day before the seventh and last phase Lok Sabha elections, the PM visited the Kedarnath shrine on the Garhwal hills and offered prayers. He then chose to meditate in a cave and spend the night there.
Located at an isolated spot, the cave was not visited by many. The Uttarakhand government did some renovation work on the cave only last year, giving the chamber an improved and attractive look.
The small cave – an 18-feet-long and 7-feet-wide chamber – can comfortably accommodate three persons.
Traditional hill architecture was used for modification of the structure. Cement and stone used to create the outside wall of the cave were replaced with cut stone. The roof was made with slate stone. An attached toilet adds to the luxury to the cave.
The Uttarakhand government plans to develop many more such chambers, to be utilised by spiritual seekers.
Donning the traditional ‘pahari cap’ of Himachal along with a grey suit with a saffron ‘gamchha’ around his waist, PM Modi also reviewed the redevelopment projects at Kedarnath, which was extensively damaged in the June 2013 flashfloods.
He held a meeting with Chief Secretary Utpal Kumar to discuss the projects.
This is PM Modi’s fourth visit to Kedarnath in the past two years.
The Prime Minister will also visit the Badrinath temple on Sunday before returning to Delhi later in the afternoon.
The Election Commission gave its nod to PM Modi’s visit to Kedarnath and Badrinath shrines while “reminding” the PMO that the model code of conduct is still in force.