Shri Kashi Vishwanath Dham was conceptualised as a project to create an "easily accessible pathway" to connect the Temple to the banks of the River Ganga. Prime Minister Narendra Modi constantly gave inputs and insights to improve the project and make it more accessible for pilgrims, including for the disabled.
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will touch base at his parliamentary constituency in Varanasi when he visits the temple city on December 13 and 14. He will visit Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple and offer prayers, after which he will inaugurate phase 1 of the Shri Kashi Vishwanath Dham.
This has been constructed at the cost of around Rs 339 crores, a PMO statement said. "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 practiced the age-old custom of taking dip in the holy river and collecting Gangajal and offering it at the temple," it said.
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. To kick-start the work for this pious endeavour, the project's foundation stone was laid by the Prime Minister on March 8, 2019, the release said.
The Prime Minister also took a keen and active interest at all stages of the project. Regular briefings, reviews and monitoring was 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 ramps, escalators, and other modern facilities.
A total of 23 buildings will be inaugurated in phase 1 of the project.
They will provide various 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 PMO said.
The project involved the purchase and acquisitions of more than 300 properties around Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple, and it said, adding, "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 ensured "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".
The Prime Minister's vision was also to ensure that all heritage structures are preserved during the project's development.
"This foresight came 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 pandemic, the work on the project has been completed as per the planned schedule.
The release further said that during the visit to Varanasi, the Prime Minister would also visit Kaal Bhairav Temple at around 12 noon and witness Ganga Aarti while onboard a Ro-Ro Vessel at around 6 PM on Monday, December 13.
On December 14, at around 3:30 PM, Mr Modi 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 unique conclave of Chief Ministers of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The Deputy CMs from Bihar and Nagaland are also expected to attend the same.
"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' spirit," the release said.
There will be a festival in Kashi every day from December 13 to January 14 (2022), and this programme will be telecast/shown live at 51,000 places in the country, BJP general secretary Tarun Chugh has said.