- Project will allow easily accessible pathway connecting Kashi Vishwanath Temple to River Ganga
- 23 new buildings constructed that will provide diverse facilities to pilgrims and devotees
- More than 40 ancient temples have been rediscovered, restored and beautified
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Varanasi on 13-14 December. At around 1 PM on 13 December, Prime Minister will visit Kashi Vishwanath Temple and offer prayers, after which he will inaugurate phase 1 of his dream project Kashi Vishwanath Dham, constructed at a cost of around Rs 339 crores. 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 a dip in the holy river, collecting Gangajal and offering it at the temple. There is palpable excitement among the majority of the residents of the temple town and domestic tourists flocking the holy shrine of the Hindus in the run-up to the high-profile event, in view of which the police security in Varanasi has been stepped up.
- Kashi Vishwanath Dham was conceptualised as a project to create an easily accessible pathway to connect Kashi Vishwanath Temple to the banks of the River Ganga. To kickstart the work for this pious endeavor, the foundation stone of the project was laid by the Prime Minister on 8th March 2019.
- The gateways and other structures have been built with stones and other materials using traditional craftsmanship. The prime minister took a keen and active interest at all stages of the project. The project involved purchase and acquisition of more than 300 properties around the temple.
- A total of 23 buildings will be inaugurated in phase one of the projects. They will provide a variety of facilities to pilgrims, including 'yatri suvidha kendras', tourist facilitation crntre, vedic kendra, mumukshu bhavan, bhogshala, city museum, viewing gallery, food court among others.
- Modi's vision to take everyone along was the principle based on which mutual negotiations were done for these acquisitions, it said, noting that around 1,400 shopkeepers, tenants and homeowners were rehabilitated amicably.
- The scale of the project was such it is now spread over a massive area of about five lakh square feet, whereas earlier premises were limited to just around 3000 square feet. Despite the Covid pandemic, the work on the project has been completed on schedule, the PMO noted.
- According to the website of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust, the famous religious site is also known as 'Golden Temple'. In many old maps, this name can be seen mentioned.
- The city, the parliamentary constituency of Modi since 2014, has been decorated ahead of the mega event -- 'Divya Kashi, Bhavya Kashi' -- and the residents of the temple town eagerly await the arrival of the prime minister.
- "The project includes the construction of Temple Chowk, Varanasi city gallery, museum, multipurpose auditoriums, hall, devotee facilitation centre, public convenience, salvation home, Godowlia Gate, Bhogshala, shelter for priests and sevadars, spiritual book space, and others," Patel had said in a statement issued by the Uttar Pradesh government.
- About 70 per cent of the 5.50 lakh sq ft area of the project have been kept for green cover, he said, adding, "We worked towards fulfilling the prime minister's vision of reorganising the temple premises to restore its grandeur."
- Varanasi Divisional Commissioner Deepak Agarwal had earlier said that 40 ancient temples were found following the demolition of buildings around the main temple. These centuries-old temples, which were earlier hidden, are now visible. They will be preserved and opened to the public.