The Uttar Pradesh government is planning to renovate and beautify the Panchkosi Parikrama in Varanasi at a cost of Rs 55.93 crore which will be completed in three phases.
According to an official statement issued by the state government, the amount will be spent on renovation and beautification of religious places and riverfront development, including Rs 9.92 crore in the first phase, the second phase (Rs 23.86 crore) and Rs 22.15 crore in the third phase.
Panchkosi Yatra occupies an important place in rituals of Sanatan Dharma. The Jyotirlinga-shaped Parikrama route of Kashi is of special significance since ancient times.
As per the plan, temples, ponds, tourist shelters and inns (dharamshalas) are being beautified to give the entire 70-km route a facelift of international standards.
There is also a proposal to organise various events and programmes spread over a year. The facelift and events will lead to the creation of new avenues of employment and business.
The General Secretary of the Kashi Vidvat Parishad, Prof Ram Narayan Trivedi, says that the devotees undertake a barefoot walk to traverse this 70-km Panchkosi Yatra. There are five halts on this route – Kandva, Bhimchandi, Rameshwar, Paancho Pandav and Kapildhara. The five-day yatra includes one-night stays every day.
There are old temples, ponds and shelter houses for the pilgrims along the route. "A very important aspect of this route is that all the religious places are situated on the right side of the yatra," he adds.
The Yogi Government has prepared a plan for the overall development of this stretch to make the yatra easier and comfortable for the pilgrims. Upon completion, the devotees will be able to traverse on the route throughout the year and thus a lot many more people will come to know about its significance.
The Government has also planned a series of events and programmes on the Panchkosi Marg, that will lead to the creation of jobs and new business opportunities. These include wellness centres, resorts, hotels and tourism-related ventures.
The VC of Varanasi Development Authority (VDA) Isha Duhan said that there are 108 main temples, 44 dharamshalas (pilgrim shelters or night shelters) and ponds along the yatra route. As per the plan, wells and chaupal structures will also be repaired and beautified.
All the ponds having historical significance located at the shelters will be beautified. The gardens at open spaces or at discourse lawns will be beautified with landscaping. Temporary shelters and resting places will be created near the halts and temples for the convenience of the pilgrims.
In addition, the signages to be put up along the Panchkosi Yatra route will show the way to pilgrims. All information regarding the religious sites and places of shelter will be available at all halts. For the convenience of visitors coming from outside Varanasi, information regarding the Panchkosi Yatra will be displayed at bus stops and railway stations, besides at other public places.
The State Department of Archaeology will soon launch an initiative for the conservation of all temples having high architectural and archaeological value. A Heritage Conservation Scheme will be prepared for the Panchkosi Yatra and the passage will be created to facilitate pedestrian movement.
The VDA vice-chairman said that a detailed project report (DPR) in this regard has already been sent to the government. Work will be started as soon as the permission is received. (ANI)