New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be on a two-day visit to his parliamentary constituency Varanasi from Monday, during which he will inaugurate phase 1 of the newly-constructed Kashi Vishwanath Dham.
According to Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), “At around 1 PM on December 13, Prime Minister will visit Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple and offer prayers, after which he will inaugurate phase 1 of Shri Kashi Vishwanath Dham, constructed at a cost of around Rs 339 crores.”
The foundation stone of the project was laid by the Prime Minister on March 8, 2019.
“It was the vision of the Prime Minister for a long time, to facilitate the pilgrims and devotees of Baba Vishwanath, who had to encounter congested streets and surroundings with poor upkeep, when they practised the age-old custom of taking a dip in the holy river, collecting Gangajal and offering it at the temple. To realise this vision, Shri Kashi Vishwanath Dham was conceptualised as a project to create an easily accessible pathway to connect Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple to the banks of the River Ganga,” it said.
The Prime Minister took a keen and active interest at all stages of the project. Regular briefings, reviews and monitoring were done by the Prime Minister himself, and he constantly gave inputs and insights to improve the project and make it more accessible for pilgrims, including for the disabled.
The project was designed to provide easy access for the disabled and old age people with the provision of ramps, escalators, and other modern facilities.
A total of 23 buildings will be inaugurated in phase 1 of the project. They will provide a variety of facilities to the pilgrims visiting Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple, including Yatri Suvidha Kendras, Tourist Facilitation Centre, Vedic Kendra, Mumukshu Bhavan, Bhogshala, City Museum, Viewing Gallery, Food Court, among others.
The project involved the purchase and acquisition of more than 300 properties around Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
“Prime Minister’s vision to take everyone along was the principle based on which mutual negotiations were done for these acquisitions. In this endeavour, the rehabilitation of around 1400 shopkeepers, tenants, and homeowners were done amicably. The testimony of the success is the fact that there is no litigation pending in any court of the country regarding acquisitions or rehabilitation related to the development of the project,” it said.
Prime Minister’s vision was also to ensure that all heritage structures be preserved during the course of the development of the project. This foresight came in handy when, 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 scale of the project was such that the project is now spread over a massive area of about 5 lakh square feet, whereas earlier premises was limited to just around 3000 square feet. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the work on the project has been completed as per the planned schedule.
During the visit to Varanasi, the Prime Minister will also visit Kaal Bhairav Temple at around 12 noon and witness Ganga Aarti while on-board a Ro-Ro Vessel at around 6 pm on December 13.
On December 14, at around 3:30 pm, Prime Minister will attend the 98th-anniversary celebrations of Sadguru Sadafaldeo Vihangam Yog Sansthan at Swarved Mahamandir in Varanasi.
During the two-day visit, Prime Minister will also participate in a conclave of Chief Ministers of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, along with Deputy Chief Ministers from Bihar and Nagaland.
The conclave will provide an opportunity to share governance-related best practices and is in line with the Prime Minister’s vision of furthering team India’s spirit.