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HENB | New Delhi | May 11, 2015:: Twelve ancient cities with pilgrimage connections have been identified by the Union Ministry of Tourism for development under the Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spirituality Augmentation Drive (PRASAD), according to a source availed here on Monday.
The cities are Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh), Gaya (Bihar), Dwarka (Gujarat), Amritsar (Punjab), Pushkar-Ajmer (Rajasthan), Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu), Vellankani (Tamil Nadu), Puri (Odisha), Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Mathura (Uttar Pradesh), Kedarnath (Uttarakhand) and Kamakhya (Assam).
To implement the PRASAD scheme, a mission directorate has been set up in the Ministry of Tourism. A budget provision of Rs. 15.60 crore has been made for development of basic facilities at the Vishnupad temple at Gaya in Bihar.
Under this scheme, the first instalment of Rs. 85.78 lakh has been released.
The development of the cities will be dovetailed with the Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) scheme, aimed at revitalising the unique character of the heritage cities in India.
Cities identified for the HRIDAY scheme are Amaravati, Gaya, Dwarka, Badami (Karnataka), Puri, Amritsar, Pushkar-Ajmer, Kanchipuram, Vellankani, Warangal (Telangana), Varanasi, and Mathura.
The criterion for selection of these cities is their rich heritage and cultural history the release said.
For the HRIDAY scheme under the Ministry of Urban Development, an amount of Rs. 453.90 crore has been allocated.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a new thought in mind while offering prayers to Godess Kali Mata at the famed Dakshineswar temple near Kolkata in West Bengal on Sunday, May 10, 2015 during his official visit in West Bengal.
Modi is the first prime minister to come Dakshineswar. Besides touching the feet of the idol and seeking her blessings, Modi also performed ‘aarti’ for 10 minutes.
The temple is dedicated to ‘Bhavtarani’, an aspect of Goddess Kali, and was built in 1855 by Rani Rashmoni, a philanthropist and a devotee of Kali. This temple was the world famous for its union with Ramakrishna Paramhans Dev.
From Dakshineswar, the prime minister went to Belur Math, the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission’s global headquarters. Ramakrishna’s chief disciple Swami Vivekananda established the Ramakrisnha Mission and Math and spent his last days here.
“Since his early days, Modi has kept his association with the Ramakrishna Mission and Ramakrishna Math. Coming here he was overawed with emotions. His visit here is an occasion of mutual joy and happiness,” said a member of the mission.
From a source it is known that Ministry of Tourism for development under the Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spirituality Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) may sanction Rs 10 crore for the composite development of Dakshineswar-Belur Math pilgrimage circuit. The Urban Development Ministry is finding the scopes to revive the ancient atmosphere of this pilgrimage centers as well.