THE BOARD of trustees of Shree Somnath Trust (SST) reappointed incumbent Keshubhai Patel as its chairman for one more year at a meeting attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah on Wednesday. They also decided to revive Chandrabhaga Shaktipeeth.
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The 116th meeting of SST, the religious trust which manages the famous Somnath temple, was held at Sagar Darshan Atithi Bhavan, the VVIP guest house adjacent to the temple. All the seven trustees — Modi, Shah, senior BJP leader L K Advani, former Gujarat CM Keshubhai Patel, retired Gujarat chief secretary Pravin Laheri, retired Sanskrit teacher Professor Jivan Parmar and industrialist Harshavardhan Neotia — attended the meeting which lasted for about an hour.
“As per the constitution of our trust, the annual election of the chairman of trust was due. Modi proposed the name of Keshubhai as chairman for the year 2017. L K Advani seconded it and the board then unanimously elected Keshubhai chairman for the year 2017,” Laheri, secretary of SST, announced after the meeting.
The election gives octogenarian Keshubhai one more year at the helm of SST. He has been holding this post since 2004. He had joined the board of trustees of SST in 1999. Though he has rarely been seen in public of late due to age, Keshubhai was happy to serve as chairman of the SST for one more year, sources said.
In another important decision, the SST board decided to revive Chandrabhaga Shaktipeeth in Somnath. “Chandrabhaga, the 38th shaktipeeth, used to be here. There is detailed description of it in Kathopanishad. But its existence has eroded with the passage of time. The trustees discussed this matter and decided to revive this shaktipeeth in form of virtual reality. The project will come up on the seashore between Somnath temple and Triveni Sangam,” Laheri said.
A trustee later told The Indian Express that the PM was of the view that rather than building a conventional temple for the shaktipeeth, modern technology should be used to create it in a virtual form. “Most probably, it will be a creation of water and laser,” he said. Laheri added that the Central government had given its in-principle approval for developing an integrated parking lot with recreational space, a reception centre and a project of managing solid waste generated on the temple precincts. “Financial and other details of these projects are being worked out,” said Laheri, adding that the PM suggested to add more recreational spaces around the main temple. Modi also offered prayers at the temple. He performed “Jalabhishek” to offer his respects to Lord Shiva amid chants by the temple priests.