Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will visit Varanasi on 13-14 December. At around 1 PM on 13 December, 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.
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, collecting Gangajal and offering it at the temple.
To realise this vision, Shri Kashi Vishwanath Dham was conceptualized as a project to create an easily accessible pathway to connect Shri 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.
Prime Minister 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 provision of ramps, escalators, and other modern facilities.
A total of 23 buildings will be inaugurated in the 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 purchase and acquisitions 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.
Prime Minister’s vision was also to ensure that all heritage structures be preserved during the course of development of the project. 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.