Modi performs 'aarti' at Dakshineswar templeNew Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday offered prayers at the famed Dakshineswar temple near Kolkata in West Bengal.Modi, who was accompanied by Governor K.N. Tripathi and union minister Babul Supriyo, became the first
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday offered prayers at the famed Dakshineswar temple near Kolkata in West Bengal.
Modi, who was accompanied by Governor K.N. Tripathi and union minister Babul Supriyo, became the first prime minister to visit the Kali temple located on the eastern bank of Hooghly river.
Modi is on his maiden visit to the state since becoming the prime minister.
"Modi is the first prime minister to come here. Besides touching the feet of the idol and seeking her blessings, Modi also performed 'aarti'," said Kushal Chowdhury, a member of the temple's board of trustees.
The temple is dedicated to 'Bhavtarani', an aspect of Goddess Kali, and was built in 1855 by Rani Rashmoni, a philanthropist and a devotee of Kali.
Modi visited the room where 19th century mystic Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa used to stay. He also visited a library and signed the visitors' book.
"Modi signed on the visitors' book in Gujarati, writing 'Obeisance to the goddess, obeisance to the swamy'," said Chowdhury.
The temple authorities gifted Modi a handcrafted Ashoka pillar and a replica of Kali idol.
From Dakshineswar, the prime minister went to Belur Math, the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission's global headquarters.
"Since his early days, Modi has kept his association with the Ramakrishna Mission and Ramakrishna Math. Coming here he was overawed with emotions. His visit here is an occasion of mutual joy and happiness," said a member of the mission.
Elaborate security arrangements were made for the prime minister's visit.
On Saturday, Modi called on ailing Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission president Swami Atmasthananda at Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratisthan hospital here and received the monk's blessings.
Swami Atmasthananda is undergoing treatment at the hospital since February 21.
Their camaraderie goes back to the early days of Modi when he wanted to enlist in the mission as a volunteer but Atmasthananda, who then was posted in mission's Rajkot centre in Gujarat, suggested Modi to look for an alternative career.
In his youth, Modi wanted to be a monk of the order founded by Ramakrishna Paramhansa but was turned away thrice.
In 2013, Modi, who was then the chief minister of Gujarat, visited the Belur Math and sought blessings from Swami Athmasthananda.