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PM Modi unfurls flag atop Gujarat temple after dargah shifted amicably

PM Modi unfurls flag atop Gujarat temple after dargah shifted amicably
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Ahmedabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday unfurled a traditional flag on the famous Mahakali temple in Gujarat's Panchmahal district, after a dargah which stood atop the temple was shifted with the consent of its caretakers.

The flag unfurled at the temple is not just symbol of our spirituality, but shows that our faith remains strong despite passage of centuries, he said.

The flag was not unfurled for five centuries, and not even during 75 years after Independence, he said.

The shikhara or spire of the temple was destroyed by Sultan Mahmud Begada nearly 500 years ago. It has been restored now as part of the redevelopment of the 11th century temple, situated on the Pavagadh hill.

Modi inaugurated the redeveloped Mahakali temple, which is nestled within Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site, and attracts millions of devotees every year.

The original spire of the temple was destroyed by Sultan Mahmud Begada during his invasion of Champaner in the 15th century, a temple functionary said.

Soon after, a dargah or shrine of Sadanshah Peer, a Muslim saint, was built on top of the temple, he said.

"To hoist a flag, a pole on a spire is needed. As there was no spire, no flag was put up all these years. When the redevelopment started a few years ago, we requested the caretakers of the dargah to allow it to be shifted so that the spire could be rebuilt," he said.

"We had an amicable settlement and the dargah was relocated to a place close to the temple," he said.

The redevelopment, which included widening of the steps leading to the temple from the foothill and beautification of the surrounding area, cost around Rs 125 crore.

The new temple complex is built over three levels and spread over 30,000 square feet.

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