Modi on Nepal's prlgrimage as Karnataka goes to poll

Modi on Nepal's prlgrimage as Karnataka goes to poll

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be in the much-revered Muktinath temple

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be in the much-revered Muktinath temple of Nepal on the day Karnataka votes for its Legislative Assembly.

This will be Modi's third trip to the Himalayan nation. After his official engagements in Kathmandu on May 11, Modi will fly to Muktinath next day to offer a special prayer.

Located in northern Nepal close to the China border, Muktinath is famous both as one of the 51 Shakti Peeth as well as one of the 108 Divya Desam (premium temples) by a section of the Vaishnavites. However, because of its challenging access, not many Indian tourists can travel to the temple.

He would return to Nepal's capital on the same day to attend a felicitation ceremony in which he would be presented a ceremonial key to the city by the mayor of Kathmandu.

A day before Modi will reach the Janakpur town believed to be the birthplace of Sita. He would be received by Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli. The two prime ministers will visit the historic temple together. Modi would also be given a civic reception at Janakpur.

In Janakpur, Modi is likely to make an announcement to connect the town with Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Ram. While no official announcement has been made on the proposed link, sources said the project was linked to the Ramayana tourism circuit, promoted by the tourism and culture ministry.

The official part of the visit of Modi's visit would focus on rebuilding the trust and establish connectivity between the two neighbours.

The trust factor is on the wane since the 2015 blockage of the road links between India and Nepal, crippling the economy of the landlocked nation.

To rebuild the trust and counter growing Chinese influence in the Himalayan nation, India now offers several connectivity and infrastructure projects.

On the Raxaul-Kathmandu railway link, New Delhi finalised the finances required to do the survey work and identified the agency for the task. “The survey work should be completed by the first quarter of 2019,” sources said.

An inland waterway between India and Nepal with a transhipment port in Bihar is also on the table.

The two prime ministers will also inaugurate the 900 MW Arun-3 hydroelectricity project, to be built by an Indian PSU at a cost of Rs 5,724 crore over 60 months.