In his inaugural speech, the PM said, “Kashi is a symbol of our spiritual soul! It is a symbol of India’s antiquity, traditions! India’s energy, mobility.’’
Explaining the grandeur of this ancient city, PM Modi said, ”Kashi is Kashi! Kashi is imperishable. There is only one government in Kashi, those who have ‘damru’ in their hands have their government.”
”Kashi is the land of four Jain Tirthankaras, the epitome of non-violence and austerity. Banaras is the city from where Jagadguru Shankaracharya got inspiration from the purity of Sridom Raja, he resolved to tie the country in the thread of unity. This is the place where Goswami Tulsidas ji created a supernatural creation like Ramcharitmanas with the inspiration of Lord Shankar,” the PM said.
The PM also lauded the UP government and CM Yogi Adityanath for the project. “Along with all this, I also congratulate the UP government, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who united day and night to complete the Kashi Vishwanath Dham project,” the PM said.
The PM also expressed his gratitude towards every labourer who worked for the construction of this grand complex. “Today, I would also like to express my gratitude towards every labourer who has worked for the construction of this grand complex. Even during COVID19, the work did not stop here,” PM Modi said at the inauguration of the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor project here.
During his speech, the PM said that he wants ”three resolutions” from the people, ”not for anyone, but for the country – cleanliness, creation & innovation and continuous efforts to create a self-reliant India.”
PM Modi earlier braved the December chill and took a holy dip in the Ganga river before formally inaugurating the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor complex. The Prime Minister reached the Kaal Bhairav temple first and offered elaborate prayers. ‘Kaal Bhairav’ is known as the first deity of Varanasi and is also known as ‘Kashi Ke Kotwal`.
PM Modi then went to the banks of the Ganga river and waded into waist-deep water to take the holy dip. He offered prayers to the Sun God and the Ganga River. He also collected the waters of the holy river for the ‘Jal Abhishek’ at the temple.
Locals gave a rousing welcome to PM Modi, showering flower petals and raising slogans of ‘Modi, Modi’ and ‘Har Har Mahadev’. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also later inaugurated phase 1 of Kashi Vishwanath Dham, constructed at a cost of around Rs 339 crores.
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 the 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 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. 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. A grand Kashi will be seen after crores of years now. Ayodhya is progressing with Ram Temple.