Ganesh Bhatt, the head priest of the Pashupatinath temple, will lead the special prayers that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will offer on Monday morning at one of the most sacred Hindu sites.
“We have been told to expect him between 9.30 am and 11 am. He will perform a ‘rudra abhishek’ in the sanctum sanctorum. The special puja will last 10 minutes and if he takes a round of the temple complex, it may take 30 minutes. Sushma Swaraj had planned to spend 30 minutes when she was here (on July 26) but she stayed for an hour,” Gobinda Tandon, member secretary of the Pashupati Area Development Trust, told The Sunday Express. Pilgrim movement will be restricted while Modi is at the temple. “Only he and his entourage will be allowed inside,” Tandon said.
On Saturday, Modi tweeted, “one significance of my Nepal trip is that I will have the good fortune to have a darshan of Lord Pashupatinath on a Shravan Monday.”
Modi is expected to announce assistance for the renovation of the 17th century temple premises and construction of a dharamshala. Mythology places the origin of the temple to 400-500 BC but the Gopal Vanshavali, the genealogy of the monarchs, says it has existed since the 7th century.
PADT sources said 2,000 kg of sandalwood had arrived from India and may be offered to the temple during Modi’s visit. The sandalwood is used to prepare chandan and is distributed as a ‘prasad’ to devotees.