Updated: December 13, 2021 7:38:14 am
On the eve of the inauguration of Shri Kashi Vishwanath Dham Corridor by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a festive fervour gripped Varanasi on Sunday with the holy town – from its road crossings to government buildings and the ghats along Ganga – bathed in colourful lights.
The Rs 339-crore project, the foundation of which was laid by Modi on March 8, 2019, has been completed in less than three years as planned, despite the Covid pandemic. The corridor project was conceptualised to create an easily accessible pathway for the pilgrims, who had to meander through congested streets to take a dip in the Ganga and offering the water of the holy river at the temple.
A government release said 23 buildings – tourist facilitation centre, Vedic Kendra, Mumukshu Bhavan, Bhogshala, city museum, viewing gallery, food court among others — will be inaugurated as part of the project.
“Tomorrow, 13th December is a landmark day. At a special programme in Kashi, the Shri Kashi Vishwanath Dham project will be inaugurated. This will add to Kashi’s spiritual vibrancy,” the Prime Minister, who will be on a two-day tour of the temple town, tweeted on Sunday.
Varanasi is also the Lok Sabha constituency of Modi.
According to officials, the PM took an active interest in all the stages of the project with regular briefings, reviews and monitoring. “He constantly gave inputs and insights to improve the project and make it more accessible for pilgrims, including the disabled,” an official said.
The project involved purchase and acquisitions of more than 300 properties around the temple, the release said, adding: “Mutual negotiations were done for these acquisitions. In this endeavour, the rehabilitation of around 1,400 shopkeepers, tenants and homeowners were done amicably… During the process of destruction of the old properties, more than 40 ancient temples were rediscovered. These temples have been restored and beautified, while ensuring that there is no change in the original structure.”
The project is now spread over about 5 lakh square feet, whereas earlier premises was limited to just around 3,000 square feet, the release stated.
Facades of buildings located on streets leading to the shrine have been painted in uniform light pink colour, said an official.
Over 3,000 seers, people associated with different religious mutts, artistes and other noted personalities are set to assemble at the venue on Monday to witness the inauguration. The programme will last about 2-3 hours.
Later in the evening, the PM will witness Ganga Aarti while onboard a Ro-Ro Vessel with chief ministers and deputy CMs of various BJP-ruled states accompanying him. On Tuesday, he will address a conclave of 12 BJP CMs and nine deputy CMs where they will share best governance practices in their respective states, an official said.
“There will be grand celebrations. The inauguration ceremony will be streamed live to over 51,000 places across the state and other parts of the country, and jalabhishek will be performed in Shiv temples across Varanasi. Also, 8 lakh packets of prasad will be distributed along with a booklet about the history of the temple in all the households across Varanas,” said BJP spokesperson Ashok Pandey.
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