The popular Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Bhupendrabhai Patel ji, President of Shree Kalika Mataji Mandir Trust Shri Surendrabhai Patel ji, Minister in State Government Bhai Purnesh Modi ji, all the revered saints present here, all the faithful and ladies and gentlemen!
Today I got the privilege to spend a few moments at the feet of Pavagadh Maa Kali and get her blessings after many years. It is a very blessed moment of my life. When a dream becomes a resolution and when the resolution is accomplished, then you can imagine how much joy it can be. Today’s moment fills my heart with special joy. One can imagine that the flag was not hoisted on the summit of Maa Kali till after five centuries and even after 75 years of independence. Today there is a flag on the top of Maa Kali. This moment gives us energy and inspires us to live with devotion to our great tradition and culture. Gupt Navratri is starting at the end of this month. This Shaktipeeth Mahakali temple of Maa Kali in Pavagadh is in front of us in its grand and divine form ahead of Gupt Navratri. This is the specialty of ‘Shakti’ (power) and ‘Sadhana’ (practice). Gupt Navratri is there but ‘Shakti’ does not become extinct. When faith, practice and penance become productive, the power manifests itself in its full glory. With the blessings of Mahakali in Pavagadh, we are witnessing the manifestation of the same power of Gujarat and India. After several centuries, this temple of Mahakali in its huge form makes us proud. Today the flag is once again hoisted on the summit in the Pavagadh temple after centuries. This summit flag is not only a symbol of our faith and spirituality! It is also a symbol of the fact that centuries change, eras change, but the peak of faith remains eternal.
Brothers and sisters,
You must have seen the grand Ram Temple taking shape in Ayodhya. Be it Vishwanath Dham in Kashi or Kedar Baba’s Dham, today the spiritual and cultural glory of India is being restored. Today New India along with its modern aspirations is continuing with its ancient heritage and identity with the same zeal and enthusiasm and every Indian is proud of it. These spiritual places are becoming mediums of new possibilities along with our faith. The reconstruction of Maa Kalika Temple in Pavagadh is a part of our glorious journey. On this occasion, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to all of you while bowing at the feet of Maa Mahakali. Today’s occasion is also a symbol of ‘Sabka Saath’, ‘Sabka Vishwas’ and ‘Sabka Prayas’.
I have got the privilege of hoisting the flag and worshiping at Shree Maa Kalika Mandir. While having ‘darshan’ of Maa Kali, I was wondering what I should ask while being at the feet of Maa Kali today. History is witness that Swami Vivekananda ji got immersed in public service by taking the blessings of Maa Kali. Mother, bless me also so that I can continue to serve the people of the country as their ‘sevak’ (servant) with more energy, sacrifice and dedication. Whatever strength I have, whatever virtues I have in my life, I should continue to dedicate them for the welfare of the mothers and sisters and the country.
I also remember the Amrit Mahotsav of the country’s independence today from the feet of Maa Kali and from this glorious land of Gujarat.
As much as Gujarat has contributed to the freedom struggle of the country, it has contributed equally to the development of the country. Gujarat is synonymous with pride and grandeur of India. Gujarat also led India’s trade and tried its best to preserve India’s spirituality as well.
When India became independent after centuries of struggle, we were afflicted with the wounds of slavery and tyranny. We had the challenge of re-establishing our existence. This cultural independence of India also started from Gujarat under the leadership of Sardar Saheb. The reconstruction of the Somnath temple was in a way a resolution to rebuild the nation.
Pavagadh and Panchmahal are today carrying forward the tradition of Somnath which had given recognition to Gujarat in the entire country. The flag that has been hoisted today is not only the flag of Mahakali temple, but also the flag of the cultural pride of Gujarat and the country. The people of Panchmahal and Gujarat made efforts for the grandeur of this temple for centuries. With this gold-plated urn, that dream associated with this temple has been fulfilled. Today the penance of Pavagadh and Panchmahal has been realized.
I don’t know much about the practice now, but in earlier times, the faithful of Panchmahal and this region used to put the wedding invitation card before the feet of Maa Kaali. The priest of the temple used to read those invitation cards to Maa Kaali after the evening prayers. They used to read them with devotion. Surendra Kaka tells me that this practice still continues.
The temple later used to send the gift with the blessings of Maa Kaali to those who sent invitation cards. What a great blessing! And this tradition has been going on for a long time. But this time, the Mother has given us the biggest gift. What can be a greater gift to the worshippers of Shakti than the revival of Mother’s courtyards and flag hoisting. And it could not have been possible without the blessing of the Mother.
There is an important element in the initiatives that have been taken regarding the Shree Kalika Temple. The sanctum sanctorum was kept intact while giving a grand shape to the Mahakali Temple. The Government of Gujarat, the Pavitra Yatra Dham Vikas Board and the trustees worked together in this yagna of service. I have been told by Surendrabhai that a ‘parikrama path’ connecting Dudhiya Talab and Chhasia Talab would also be prepared for the circumambulation of the entire temple complex. Facilities like Yagyashala, Bhojanshala, Bhakti Niwas for tourists and a lift from Chhasia Lake to Mataji’s temple will also be constructed. Along with this, a guest house and a multilevel parking lot will also be constructed near Manchi.
Earlier it used to take many hours for the devotees to reach here. One had to go through several hardships while climbing stairs. Those visiting the temple earlier know the condition of the stairs. Now the stairs have been well prepared. Now stairs towards the temple have been constructed with better stones. The height of the stairs is also not high so that people should not face any problem while climbing them. Earlier, even two dozen people could not reach the temple premises together. Today more than a hundred people can come here together and offer prayers. Along with less crowd burden, the security of the faithful has also increased. We have to remain on guard against incidents of stampede. With the expansion of the temple complex, the number of passengers will probably increase. We have to keep worrying about all those arrangements. And I pray to all Kali devotees to maintain discipline to avoid accidents because the approach to the temple is arduous. There used to be many accidents earlier causing concern, but things used to be normalized with the blessings of the Mother. Therefore, I would like everybody to follow discipline because this is an arduous journey and it’s quite high. One has to navigate difficulties. So if we maintain discipline, the journey will be smooth and we will also get the blessings of the Mother. The Dudhiya Talab on top of the hill is also being developed. A ‘parikrama’ (circular path) has been made around this pond. This has also resulted in the convenience for the people.
It is natural to be at the feet of Maa Mahakali to seek her blessings again and again. But, earlier the journey to Pavagadh was so difficult that people used to be content with a visit to the temple once in their lifetime. With the increase in facilities, the visit to the temple has become very easy. Mothers, sisters, elders, children, young people and Divyang can now easily take the blessing of the Mother.
I myself used the ropeway to reach here. Ropeway has not only made this journey easy, but one gets to enjoy the scenic beauty of Pavagadh. Today many pilgrimage and tourist places in Gujarat are being connected with such ropeways. People are getting a lot of convenience due to the ropeway in Pavagadh, Saputara, Ambaji and Girnar.
Gujarat has become Garvi (glorious) Gujarat only with the blessings of Pavagadh, Maa Amba, Somnath and Dwarkesh. While describing the cultural glory of Gujarat, the great poet Narmad has written-
उत्तरमां अंबा मात, पूरवमां काली मात। छे दक्षिण दिशामां करता रक्षा, कुंतेश्वर महादेव। ने सोमनाथ ने द्वारकेश ए, पश्विम केरा देव छे सहायमां साक्षात, जय जय गरवी गुजरात।
Mata Amba in the north, Kali Maa in the east, Kunteshwar Mahadev protecting in the south direction, Somnath and Dwarkesh are the Gods of the west and Jai Jai Garvi Gujarat for help …)
Today this identity of Gujarat is touching the sky.
The cultural centers that poet Narmad has named as the identity of Gujarat are moving forward on a new development journey. Along with faith, modern technology is being used in the development of pilgrimages and temples. Passenger facilities have been developed at all the shrines. Now there is divinity, peace, solution and contentment in the pilgrimages of Gujarat. What can be greater happiness than this?
If we talk about the Mata temples and the power of Shakti, then we the people of Gujarat have been very blessed as there is a complete power wheel in Gujarat for the devotees who worship Mother Shakti. There is a ‘Shakti Raksha Chakra’ which is working as a defence shield of Gujarat. Mothers present in different regions of Gujarat constantly bless and protect Gujarat. There is Amba ji in Banaskantha, Maa Kali in Pavagadh, Chamunda Maa in Chotila, Umiya Maa in Unjha, Asapura Mata in Kutch Mata No Madh, Unai Mata near Navsari, Devmogra Mata near Dediapada, Khodiyar Mother at Matel near Bhavnagar, Bahuchara Mata ji in Mehsana and then there is Amba Maa at Khodaldham, Uniyadham and above Girnar. There are many Mothers in every corner. We are constantly blessed and we can say that we have the blessings of a power.
Our Bhupendrabhai was just describing that a 3D video projection mapping show has been started at the foothills of Ambaji Gabbar. ‘Maha Aarti’ has also been started. Gabbar shrine is also being revitalized under the Centre’s PRASAD scheme. Work is also underway on the development of Ambaji temple complex. Development of virtuous places like Koteshwar Mahadev Temple and Rinchadiya Mahadev Temple is also being carried out.
Not long ago, I also got the opportunity to inaugurate many development works in Somnath temple. Beautification of Ghats, temples and improvement in passenger facilities has been completed in Dwarka. I request the people of Panchmahal to tell the devotees coming from outside to visit all these places. Rukmini temple will also be redeveloped at Madhavpur where Lord Krishna and Maa Rukmini got married. As Bhupendrabhai said, our President had come here to inaugurate the Madhavpur Ghed Mela.
The development of pilgrimages is not limited only to the issue of faith, but our pilgrimages are also very important living symbols of the dynamism of the society and the unity of the nation. The devotees visiting these pilgrimages and temples also bring with them many new opportunities. With the growth of tourism in any area, employment also picks up and infrastructure is also developed. Not only do we introduce our pilgrims to the local culture, arts, skills and crafts are also promoted. We are all witnesses to the fact that the number of tourists has increased in Kevadiya at Ekta Nagar after the Statue of Unity was built. Today, it has come to be known as an important destination in the world. It has also made a place in the world. Similarly, the number of devotees in Kashi Vishwanath Dham and Char Dham Yatra is also making new records with renewed facilities. So many pilgrims have reached Kedarnath this time that it has broken all the records.
With the development of Pavagadh, the number of devotees coming to the temple will increase and it will lead to huge benefits to our tribal brothers and sisters in the entire forest belt of Vadodara and Panchmahal. The devotees visiting the temple will also go to Virasat Van also. Virasat Van can become a center of great attraction and inspiration for the country on subjects like nature, environment, tradition and Ayurveda. Similarly, the attraction for the Archaeological Park and Pavagadh Fort is also going to increase. These development works will help Panchmahal emerge as a major tourist destination in the country.
Along with spirituality, there is also history, nature, art and culture in Pavagadh. Here on one side is the Shaktipeeth of Maa Mahakali, and on the other side, there is also a heritage Jain temple. That is, Pavagadh has in a way been the center of all-religion composure with the historical diversity of India. UNESCO has registered the Archaeological Site of Champaner as a World Heritage Site. The increasing tourism here will further strengthen the identity of the place.
Along with the possibilities of tourism in Panchmahal, a large number of new opportunities are going to be created for the youth here. New employment opportunities will be created especially for our tribal brothers and sisters. The art-culture and traditional skills of tribal society are also going to get a new identity.
And our Panchmahal has been the land of great singers like Baiju Bawra. That talent is still in the soil here. Wherever heritage, forest and culture are strengthened, art and talent also flourish. We have to develop this talent and also give a new identity to it.
Champaner is the place where the Jyotigram scheme, which made Gujarat proud in 2006, was started. When I became the Chief Minister, people used to tell me to at least arrange electricity during dinner time. We ensured round-the-clock electricity for the first time in Gujarat through the Jyotigram scheme. Our then President Shri APJ Abdul Kalam ji launched that scheme. Jyotigram Yojana added a new chapter in the development of Gujarat. The people of Gujarat started getting electricity round the clock due to this scheme.
The name of Pavagadh means a stronghold of the wind. Here, there is special grace of Vayu Dev. I am sure that the fragrance of our cultural uplift and development blowing in Pavagadh will also reach the whole of Gujarat and the country. With this sentiment, I once again bow down at the feet of Maa Mahakali and wish you all the very best. Countless devotees of Mata Kali from Gujarat and other states come here with great reverence. I also congratulate all the devotees because the dream of their ancestors has been realized. Their ancestors would come here with hope but had to return in despair. Now their children can proudly tell them that you might have suffered, but the era has changed. Now Mata Kali is blessing us with full glory. I sincerely appreciate the work done under the leadership of Bhupendrabhai, the trust board and the Gujarat government. Congratulations to all of you.
DISCLAIMER: This is the approximate translation of PM’s speech. Original speech was delivered in Hindi.