Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday offered prayers at a Matua temple in Bangladesh's Orakandi, the birthplace of Hindu mystic figure and Matua community's spiritual guru Harichand Thakur. Modi, who was wearing a mask, offered prayers at the Harichand-Guruchand Temple, where he was welcomed with 'Dhaak, Shankh, Ulu' in line with local rituals. Orakandi is the abode of hundreds of Hindu Matua community, a large number of whom are residents of West Bengal.
Ahead of his visit, Modi had said he is looking forward to his interaction with representatives of the Matua community at Orakandi, from where Sri Sri Harichand Thakur disseminated his pious message.
Analysts said Modi's planned temple visit carry a political significance at the time of the ongoing assembly elections in West Bengal.
Earlier during the day, the prime minister also paid a visit to the centuries-old Jeshoreshwari Kali temple in Ishwaripur village in Bangladesh's southwestern Shatkhira district, bordering India. Modi, who is on a two-day visit to Bangladesh, was welcomed in a traditional way upon his arrival at the temple. Inside the temple, Modi, who was wearing a mask, offered prayers and sat on the floor while the priest was reciting the religious texts.
According to Hindu mythology, the Jeshoreshwari Kali temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peeths, scattered across India and neighbouring countries. Records suggest a Hindu king set up the temple in the 16th century.
Ahead of his visit to Bangladesh, Modi said on Thursday that he looks forward to offering prayers to Goddess Kali at the Jashoreshwari Kali temple located in Ishwaripur village in Shyamnagar upazila of Satkhira, which borders West Bengal.
The Hindu community and temple authorities with the government support redecorated the temple ahead of Modi’s visit.
Last time when Prime Minister Modi visited Bangladesh in 2015, he offered puja at Dhakeshwari temple in the national capital.
Bangladesh has taken extra security measures for the Indian premier's visit in the wake of protests by few leftist and Islamist groups.
In 2016, the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) said their latest vital sample statistics report found the country’s total population to be 15.89 crore by the end of 2015 with the number of Hindus at 1.70 crore in the Muslim-majority nation.
Modi also visited the 'Mausoleum of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman' in Tungipara of Gopalganj district.
The Bangladesh authorities have renovated the Jeshoreshwari temple in Satkhira ahead of Prime Minister Modi's visit.
Before departing for Bangladesh, Prime Minister Modi had tweeted that he looks forward to offering prayers to Goddess Kali at the ancient Jashoreshwari Kali Temple.
Dedicated to Goddess Kali, Jeshoreshwari Kali Temple is a famous Hindu temple located in Ishwaripur -- a village in Shyam Nagar, Upazila of Satkhira.
The second temple, which is situated in Gopalganj's Orakandi, is the abode of hundreds of Hindu Matua community, a large number of whom are residents of West Bengal.
"I am particularly looking forward to my interaction with representatives of the Matua community at Orakandi, from where Sri Sri Harichandra Thakur ji disseminated his pious message," Prime Minister Modi had said in a statement on Thursday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday arrived in Bangladesh on a two-day visit to the nation, his first tour to a foreign country since the COVID-19 outbreak last year.
He was received by his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka.