Varanasi, dressed in its best, has rolled out the red carpet for Prime Minister Narendra Modi who will inaugurate the ambitious Kashi Vishwanath Corridor, a mega project that is expected to boost tourism in the ancient city in a big way, on Monday.
With a paved 75-metre-wide corridor, the ambitious project worth more than Rs 900 crore, connects Kashi Vishwanath temple and Ganga River.
As many as 23 buildings, constructed at a cost of around Rs 339 crore, will also be inaugurated.
The buildings will provide a variety of facilities to the pilgrims visiting the temple, including yatri suvidha kendras, tourist facilitation centre, Vedic kendra, Mumukshu bhavan, bhojshala, city museum, viewing gallery, food court, among others.
The project, whose foundation stone was laid by the Prime Minister in 2019, connects the main temple with Lalita Ghat. Grand gateways and ornamental arches have been built in heritage architecture style in four directions, facing the ancient temple at its core.
The project involved the purchase and acquisition of more than 300 properties around the temple. Nearly 1,400 shopkeepers, tenants and homeowners were rehabilitated amicably to pave way for the construction. Around Rs 450 crore was spent on the purchase of buildings.
During demolition of buildings to pave the way for the project in 2018, over 40 ancient temples were found buried under the layers of concrete and plaster. They have now been conserved and made part of the project.
The project is now spread over a massive area of about over five lakh square feet while the earlier premises was limited to just around 3,000 square feet.
The architect of the project is Bimal Patel, who is also in-charge of the Central Vista redevelopment project in New Delhi. He said that without tampering with the original structure of the temple, beautification work was carried out and world-class facilities had been put in place.
About 70 per cent of the 5.50 lakh square feet area of the project has been kept for green cover.
Meanwhile, top spiritual gurus like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Awadheshanand Giri, Yoga guru Baba Ramdev and Swami Rambhadracharya along with Tamil Nadu’s Adheenams, Karnataka’s Lingayat and Veerashaiva sects will join Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he opens the corridor project at a grand function amid chanting of Vedic mantras in Varanasi on Monday.
Varanasi, the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi since 2014, has been decorated ahead of the mega event titled ‘Divya Kashi,Bhavya Kashi’.
Facades of buildings located on streets leading to the shrine have been painted in uniform light pink colour and illuminated.
After the inauguration, the Prime Minister will hold an informal meeting with several chief ministers on a river cruise and witness Ganga ‘aarti’ and grand festivities being hosted at Varanasi ghats.