POKHARA, May 3: Preparations for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Muktinath Temple in Mustang district are in full swing.
The Indian prime minister is set to arrive in Nepal on May 11. According to the District Administration Office, Mustang, Prime Minister Modi will fly to Muktinath from Janakpur by a helicopter.
“We are making preparations to make the Indian prime minister’s trip a well-managed affair,” said Chief District Officer Shishir Paudel. “The Muktinath Temple premises is being cleaned up for the visit. Likewise, we have also readied a helipad.”
Starting three days prior to Modi’s visit, trekkers in route to Muktinath from Thorang-la would be barred from trekking in the area, said CDO Paudel.
“Trekkers would be stopped at Chame of Manang starting three days prior to Modi’s visit. We would coordinate with the administration of Manang to implement the ban,” he said. “Aside from that, no one would be allowed to enter the Muktinath Temple premises on the day of Modi’s visit.”
After visiting Muktinath, Modi’s helicopter may land briefly in Pokhara for refueling and then head for Kathmandu. “We are also preparing for that possibility although we have not received any instruction from the official source,” said a source at the Pokhara airport.
Mustang district has given high priority to Modi’s trip also as a symbolic gesture. The site is popular among Indian pilgrims. A large number of Indians visit the temple every year as it holds religious significance. Successful conclusion of the Indian prime minister’s visit to Muktinath is expected attract more Indian tourists to the site, according to local tour operators.