Somnath temple remains open despite Cyclone Vayu, minister says can't shut for 'Kudrati aafat’
New Delhi, June 13: Devotees of Lord Somnath offered prayers at the Somnath Temple on Thursday morning situated in the Gir Somnath district of the western coast of Gujarat overlooking the red alert set across the state apprehending cyclone Vayu.
Speaking to ANI, Gujarat minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama on why the temple is open despite alerts, said, "Temples cannot be closed. We have requested tourists not to visit but the aarti that is performed at the temple for many years cannot be stopped."
He also said, "Ye kudrati aafat hai, kudrat hi rok sakti hai, to kudrat ko hum kya rokein (this is a natural calamity, only nature can stop it, who are we to stop nature)".
Meanwhile, Cyclone Vayu has changed its course overnight and will now be skirting the Saurashtra coast in Gujarat with wind speed around 135-145 kmph.
On Wednesday, cyclone Vayu got more intense with forecasts revising its wind speed up to 155 km-165 km per hour and gusting at 180 km when it makes landfall.
Taking stock of the situation, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) had issued a red alert for entire Gujarat, Maharashtra coastline, and isolated places of Saurashtra and Kutch region for June 12-13.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Amit Shah said that authorities have evacuated about 3.1 lakh people living in the low-lying areas. "Gujarat has evacuated about 3 lakh people and Diu has evacuated over 10,000 people from low-lying areas to safer places...(the) MHA is in continuous touch with state govts/UT and central agencies. The NDRF has pre-positioned 52 teams equipped with boats, tree-cutters, telecom equipment etc," Shah tweeted.