New Delhi: Devotees of Lord Somnath visited 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.

Gujarat Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama refused to shut down Somnath Temple of the western coast of Gujarat even though lakhs of people have been evacuated from the region.

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Cyclone Vayu is set to make landfall near the Gujarat coast around Thursday afternoon and strong winds have already caused some destruction in the region. Strong winds hit the area and damaged the shed of the coastal temple of Somnath.

However, Bhupendrasinh Chudasama told the news agency ANI that it is not in his hands to close the temple due to a cyclone.

He said, “Ye kudrati aafat hai, kudrat hi rok sakti hai, to kudrat ko hum kya rokein (this is a natural disaster, only nature can stop it, who are we to stop nature).”

He added that tourists have been requested not to visit the temple but the rituals that have been ongoing for years cannot be halted at this instance.

As a result, while the district remains deserted otherwise, some devotees continue to visit the temple offering their prayers and performing rituals.

As a precautionary step ahead of the landfall, more than 1.60 lakh people have been evacuated from Saurashtra and Kutch regions. Moreover, all ports and flight services in Gujarat have been suspended. Accordingly, services to airports in Porbandar, Diu, Bhavnagar, Keshod and Kandla have been ceased till midnight on Thursday.