New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Kashi Vishwanath temple corridor in Varanasi on 13 December.
The project, worth approximately Rs 800 crore, is one of the key one that the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government wants to showcase ahead of the assembly elections in the state early next year. It is also one of Modi’s pet projects, as he is the MP for Varanasi.
The PM was involved in the redevelopment of the Kashi Vishwanath corridor right from the initial briefing to reviewing the Master Plan, and giving specific inputs throughout, the project’s architect Bimal Patel told reporters in an online briefing Wednesday.
“Right from making all key stretches on the corridor disabled-friendly to improving the design of the main stretch, the PM gave inputs for the project right from the beginning,” Patel said.
No change in structure
Patel, who is also the architect for another of the PM’s pet projects — the Central Vista redevelopment in New Delhi — said there has been no change in the Kashi Vishwanath temple’s original structure.
“We have not tinkered with the architecture in any way. Whatever we have built only complements and blends with the existing architecture. Nothing sticks out,” he said.
Varanasi Divisional Commissioner Deepak Agrawal said the first phase of the Kashi Vishwanath project, which comprises redevelopment of the temple precincts area, will be opened to the public after the inauguration by Modi. The second phase, which involves the redevelopment of the banks (ghats) of the Ganga, will be ready by January next year.
Currently, to reach the temple, visitors have to go through densely populated lanes, with shops on either side. The entire temple complex has 24 buildings and was earlier spread over 300 square metres. Now, it has been expanded to make the temple area much more spacious. “We acquired 314 private properties and have increased the temple area to 3,000 square metres,” Agrawal said.
The sanctum sanctorum of the temple can now accommodate around 5,000 people and the entire temple complex can hold anywhere between 50,000 to 75,000 people, the divisional commissioner said.
He added that despite the fact that many private properties were acquired around the temple, currently there is no litigation involving any of them. “This is because the land owners agreed to the market price offered for the land.”
(Edited by Saikat Niyogi)