On a visit to his home state, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who turned 69 on Tuesday, offered prayers to goddess Narmada at the Sardar Sarovar dam.
Accompanied by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Modi offered prayers as part of the state government’s Namami Devi Narmade Mahotsav celebrations being held to mark the dam receiving water to its full capacity.
Modi also visited the Butterfly Garden in Kevadiya and named the saffron coloured plain tiger butterfly as the state butterfly.
Modi began the day with a visit to the Statue of Unity and the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the river Narmada.
The Statue of Unity, billed as the tallest in the world, was inaugurated by him on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s birth anniversary on October 31 last year.
He also tweeted a video of the statue, taken from his helicopter.
Modi arrived at Kevadiya on Tuesday morning to take part in the ‘Namami Narmada’ festival being celebrated by the Gujarat government to mark the filling up of the dam to its full reservoir level of 138.68 metres.
For the first time since the height of the dam was raised in 2017, the water level reached its highest peak at 138.68 metres on Sunday evening.
Modi along with Rupani, then performed ‘puja’ at the dam site to ‘welcome’ the water of river Narmada, the lifeline of Gujarat.
The PM, who would be addressing a gathering near the dam, also visited various developmental projects being carried out near the dam and Statue of Unity to boost tourism.
These projects include river rafting, a jungle safari park, a butterfly park and Ekta Nursery, an officil said.
Modi also visited the Khalvani Eco-Tourism site. In the safari, he apparently spotted deer.
He also visited the Dutt Mandir at nearby Garudeshwar village on the banks of Narmada.