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Bows to Sardar Patel who showed indomitable will power for the revival of India’s ancient glory
Remembered Lokmata Ahilyabai Holkar who renovated several temples from Vishwanath to Somnath
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: PM
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: PM
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: PM
For us essence of history and faith is Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas: PM
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': PM
Country is reviving the ancient glory by building modern infrastructure: PM

Jai Somnath! Joining us in the program are our respected Lal Krishna Advani ji, Home Minister Shri Amit Shah ji, Shripad Naik ji, Ajay Bhatt ji, Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Vijay ji, Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat Nitin Bhai, Tourism Minister in Gujarat government Jawahar ji , Vasan Bhai, my colleague in Lok Sabha Rajesh Bhai, Trustee of Somnath Temple Trust Shri Praveen Lahiri ji, all devotees, ladies and gentlemen!

Though I am joining this holy occasion through video conference, but in my heart I feel myself at the feet of Lord Shree Somnath. Being the President of the Somnath Temple Trust, it is my privilege that I continue to serve this holy place. Today once again, we are witnessing the transformation of this holy shrine. Today I have the privilege of inaugurating Samudra Darshan Path, Somnath Exhibition Gallery and Juna Somnath Temple in a new form after its renovation. Along with this, the foundation stone of Parvati Mata Temple has also been laid today.

I believe it is the blessings of Lord Somnath ji that there is such a sanctified coincidence and that too in the holy month of Sawan. On this occasion, I congratulate all of you, all the members of the trust and crores of devotees of Lord Somnath ji in the country and abroad. In particular, I also bow at the feet of Iron Man Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel ji who had the will to revive the ancient glory of India. Sardar Saheb considered the Somnath temple to be associated with the independent spirit of independent India. It is our good fortune that today we are taking forward the efforts of Sardar Saheb by giving new grandeur to the Somnath temple in the 75th year of independence. Today, I also bow to Lokmata Ahilyabai Holkar, who renovated many temples from Vishwanath to Somnath. The confluence of antiquity and modernity which was in her life, the country is moving ahead today considering it as its ideal.

Friends,

Gujarat has seen the results of linking modernity with tourism from close quarters whether it is the Statue of Unity or the rejuvenation of Kutch. It has been the demand of every period that we explore new possibilities in religious tourism and strengthen the links between pilgrimage and local economy. For example, devotees from all over the country and the world used to visit the Somnath temple till now. But now Samudra Darshan Path, exhibition, pilgrim plaza and shopping complex will also attract tourists here. Now the devotees will also see the captivating form of Juna Somnath temple and will visit the new Parvati temple. It will create not only new opportunities in employment, but the divinity of the place will also grow. Moreover, the Somnath Promenade will provide security to our temple standing by the sea. Today the Somnath exhibition gallery has also been inaugurated. This will also give an opportunity to our youth and the future generation to connect with the history and understand our faith in its ancient form.

Friends,

Somnath has been the land of Shiva for centuries. It is said in our scriptures:

"शं करोति सः शंकरः"।

That is, the one who bestows welfare and accomplishment is Shiva. It is Shiva who germinates the seed of development even in destruction and gives birth to creativity even in annihilation. That is why Shiva is enduring, quiescent and eternal. Therefore, our faith in Shiva makes us aware of our existence beyond the limits of time and gives us the strength to face the challenges of time. And, this Somnath temple is an inspiration of our self-confidence.

Friends,

Whosoever looks at this grand structure does not merely see it as a temple, but he sees an existence that has been inspiring for hundreds of thousands of years, proclaiming the values ​​of humanity. It is a place that our sages had described as ‘Prabhas Kshetra’ (abode of enlightenment) thousands of years ago and which is invoking the entire world today that truth cannot be defeated by falsehood. Faith cannot be crushed by terror. So many times this temple was destroyed in the history of hundreds of years, idols were vandalized and every effort was made to erase its existence. But every time it was demolished, it was resurrected. Therefore, Lord Somnath temple today is a belief and solace not only for India but for the entire world. The evil forces which conjure of establishing an empire on the basis of terror may dominate for some time during a particular period, but their existence is never permanent, they cannot suppress humanity for a long time. It remained true even when some despots were demolishing Somnath temple and also holds true today when the world is apprehensive of such ideologies.

Friends,

As we all know, this journey from reconstruction of Somnath temple to its grand development is not just a result of few years or few decades. It is the result of centuries of strong will and ideological perpetuity. Great men like Rajendra Prasad ji, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and K.M. Munshi encountered difficulties in this campaign even after independence. But finally in 1950, the Somnath temple was established as the divine pillar of modern India. Today the country is moving ahead with a commitment to find amicable solution to all its problems. Today an illuminated pillar of pride of New India is also being erected in the form of Ram Temple.

Friends,

Our thinking should be to improve the present by learning from history and create a new future. Therefore, when I talk of 'Bharat Jodo Andolan', it is not limited to geographical or ideological affiliations only. It is also a resolve to connect us with our past to build India of the future. With this belief we have built modern glory on the ruins of the past while cherishing the inspirations of the past. We have to always remember what Rajendra Prasad ji said when he came to Somnath. He said: "Centuries ago, India used to be a treasure house of gold and silver. A large part of the world's gold used to be in the temples of India. In my view, the reconstruction of Somnath will be completed on the day when along with the huge temple on its foundation, the grand building of a prosperous India will also be ready, the building of a prosperous India, whose symbol will be the Somnath temple." This dream of our first President, Dr. Rajendra ji, is a great inspiration for all of us.

Friends,

For us, the essence of history and faith is-

'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas.

The 12 Jyotirlingas that have been established in our country begin with 'Saurashtre Somanatham' from the Somnath temple itself. From Somnath and Nageshwar in the west to Baidyanath in the east, from Baba Kedarnath in the north to Shri Rameshwar, at the extreme end of India in the south, these 12 Jyotirlingas serve to connect the whole of India. Similarly, our Char Dhams (four abodes), the concept of our 56 Shakti Peethas (holy places of cosmic power), the establishment of different pilgrimage centres across the country is actually an expression of the spirit of 'Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat' (One India, Supreme India). The world has been wondering for centuries that how India with so many diversities is united as one. But you realize the power of India when you see the devotees walking thousands of km from the east to west to visit Somnath or thousands of devotees from south India applying the soil of Kashi on their foreheads. We may not understand each other's language, our clothes are different, our food habits are different, but we feel that we are one. Our spirituality has played an important role in binding India in the thread of unity and establishing mutual dialogue for centuries. And we all have the responsibility to keep strengthening it.

Friends,

Today the entire world is getting attracted towards India's yoga, philosophy, spirituality and culture. There has also been a new awareness in our new generation to connect with our roots. Therefore, there is national and international potential in the field of tourism and spiritual tourism. In order to realize this potential, the country is building modern infrastructure and reviving the ancient glory. The example of Ramayana Circuit is in front of us. Today Ram devotees from the country and abroad are getting to know about new places related to the life of Lord Rama through the Ramayana Circuit. Today we are getting to experience how Lord Rama is the Ram of the entire India by visiting these places. Similarly, the Buddha Circuit is facilitating the visit of Buddhist followers from all over the world to India. Today, the work is progressing rapidly in this direction. Similarly, the Ministry of Tourism is developing tourist circuits on 15 different themes under the 'Swadesh Darshan Scheme'. These circuits will also create opportunities for tourism and development in many neglected areas of the country.

Friends,

Such was the vision of our ancestors that they worked to connect the far-flung areas with our faith, made us aware of their belongingness. But unfortunately, when we became competent, when we got modern technology and resources, we discarded these areas considering them inaccessible. Our mountainous regions are a great example of this. But today the country is also bridging the distance of these holy pilgrimages. Be it development around Vaishno Devi temple or hi-tech infrastructure in the Northeast, today the distance is shrinking in the country. Similarly, in 2014, the country had also announced the 'Prasad Scheme' for the development of pilgrimage places. Under this scheme, about 40 major pilgrimage centers are being developed in the country, out of which 15 projects have also been completed. In Gujarat also, work is progressing on three projects worth more than 100 crores rupees under the Prasad Scheme. Special attention is being paid to connect Somnath and other tourist spots and cities in Gujarat. The idea is that when tourists come to visit one place, they should also go to other tourist places. Similarly, 19 iconic tourist destinations have been identified across the country and being developed. All these projects will give a new boost to our tourist industry in the future.

Friends,

Today the country is not only binding the common man, but is also progressing itself through tourism. As a result, our country, which was ranked 65th in the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index in 2013, is now positioned 34th as per the 2019 index. Many policy decisions have also been taken in these seven years to promote international tourism, which are benefiting the country today. The country has expedited steps like e-Visa regime, visa on arrival, and has also reduced visa fees. Similarly, the GST on hospitality in the tourism sector has also been reduced. This will greatly benefit the tourism sector and will also help in recovering from the effects of Covid. Many decisions have also been taken keeping in mind the interests of tourists. For example, some tourists are enthusiastic about adventure. Keeping this in mind, 120 mountain peaks have been thrown open for trekking. Guides are being trained to ensure that tourists do not get inconvenienced and get detailed information about the new places. This is also creating a large number of employment opportunities.

Friends,

The traditions of our country inspire us to come out of the difficult times, leave behind our sufferings and move forward. We have also seen that tourism is a ray of hope for the people during Corona. Therefore, we have to continuously expand and promote the uniqueness and culture of our tourism and move forward. But at the same time, we also have to keep in mind necessary precautions. I am sure the country will continue to move forward with this spirit and our traditions and glory will continue to guide us in the making of modern India. May we continue to be showered with the blessings of Lord Somnath to do more for the welfare of the poorest of the poor with new energy so that we can serve the common man and bring a change in his life! With these best wishes, thank you all so much!! Jai Somnath!

DISCLAIMER: This is the approximate translation of PM’s speech. Original speech was delivered in Hindi.

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Social Media Corner 27th November 2021
November 27, 2021
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