Locals of Mustang offered a grand welcome to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he visited Muktinath, a renowned shrine in the mountainous district, on Saturday morning. Modi has become the first Indian PM to visit Muktinath, a temple which is very much revered by Indian pilgrims.
After reaching the temple, Modi offered prayers for around 20 minutes. He spent more than an hour on the temple premises. He had flown to the temple in a helicopter of the Indian Army from Kathmandu.
Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari and chief minister of Province 2, Prithvi Subba Gurung, jointly welcomed Modi as he landed in a helipad constructed near the gate of Muktinath.
After offering prayers, Modi also took a bath in the 108 taps on the temple premises. Lamas of the temple played drums to pay homage to Modi. The Indian PM even tried to play the traditional drums himself along with the Lamas. He also posed for photos with the locals. Security was heightened on the temple premises considering his visit.
Dhara Gurung, a chairperson of Bahragaun Muktishetra, said that Modi's visit has brought a great enthusiasm among the locals. According to him, it has helped for the promotion of Muktinath among Indian pilgrims.
"Muktinath was already known among Indian pilgrims but we expect this visit to help increase the number of visitors here," said Chairperson Gurung.
According to Krishna Prasad Subedi, chief priest of the temple, Modi is the first foreign dignitary to get special treatment at the temple. Other visitors are not allowed to enter the main temple. Though Modi had expressed his desire to visit Muktinath four years ago, he couldn't do so due to various reasons.
Indian security personnel bar Nepali mediapersons from taking photos
Indian security forces had not allowed anyone to enter the temple during Modi's visit. Though Nepali media persons were banned from taking pictures of Modi inside the temple, media persons of Indian television channel Doordarshan were allowed to do so without any obstruction. After the irked Nepali media persons protested, they were allowed to take some photos at the end of the prayer. Even the Nepali security personnel were helpless in front of the Indian security officers.
Source: My Republica