Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will arrive in Nepal on August 3 for a two-day visit, is scheduled to offer a “special pooja” at Pashupatinath temple. However, it is not yet certain whether he will be able to visit two other major shrines outside Kathmandu.
Modi had expressed his wish to visit Ram Janaki temple in Janakpur and Lumbini, the birth place of lord Buddha, sources here said. However, “unpredictable weather and the poor condition of roads”, especially in Janakpur, may make that difficult, sources added. “However, if everything goes well, a visit to Lumbini may still be possible,” sources said. The Nepal government has reviewed security at the locations in consultation with the Indian government.
In a first by a foreign dignitary, Modi is scheduled to address the Parliament in Nepal. He will return to Delhi the next day after a series of high-level meetings. “He will be offering a special pooja at Pashupatinath in the morning that may take about half an hour,” Pashupati Authority Development Trust sources said.
The temple has a system of conducting special prayers for a price ranging between Rs 1,100 and Rs 25 lakh in Nepali currency. The trust declined to divulge which category of prayer Modi will offer.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had also performed a special pooja, which cost Rs 5,100, before leaving for Delhi last week.
Nepal PM Sushil Koirala has constituted a three-member team with a representative each from the Nepali Congress, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist and the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists to prepare a “consensus based agenda”, especially on the likely agreement the two sides may sign on power and energy during Modi’s visit.