Looked impossible, but Kashi Vishwanath Corridor almost complete, say officials
The grand Kashi Vishwanath Corridor, which connects the Ganga river and the famous and ancient Kashi Vishwanath temple (of Lord Shiva) in Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi, is nearing completion, the city's divisional commissioner Deepak Agarwal said on Wednesday. PM Modi is due to inaugurate it on December 13.
“The corridor has decongested the temple complex, which was earlier surrounded by buildings on three sides. The project will connect the two things Varanasi is well known for - the Kashi Vishwanath Temple (KVT) and the Ganga river,” Agarwal said while speaking to the media persons at a press briefing. The corridor is built over 5.5 lakh square feet.
Prime Minister Modi laid the foundation of the corridor in March, 2019. Over 300 buildings were purchased and demolished to create the space for the project. Chief minister Yogi Adityanath has inspected the work on it three dozen times.
Agarwal said initially it looked like an impossible thing considering the dense structure of the temple premises. "But, with the organised and dedicated efforts of both the Centre and the state governments, despite two waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, the entire process is being completed in record time with utmost transparency," he added.
"The project was taken forward on a war-footing basis right from getting the properties vacated to compensating the owners," he further said, adding, "The execution of the project was done in the most transparent manner, as a result of which the project faced no litigations."
The demolition of buildings in the corridor area led to the recovery of at least 40 ancient temples. All these temples were buried under other construction around them and people had built kitchens, bathrooms and much more atop them.
They are now visible, will be preserved and opened to the public.
The architect of the project Bimal Patel, who was also present at briefing, informed that without tampering with the original structure of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, the facilities for the tourists have been increased.
“The work includes 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. About 70% of the 5.50 lakh sqft area of the project would be kept open for the green cover,” informed Patel.
Divisional commissioner Deepak Agarwal said that nearly ₹1,000 crore has been spent on the entire project, which includes ₹70 crore spent on the rehabilitation of people living in the redeveloped area.
An over 7,000 square metre temple platform for meditation for 10,000 people, seven grand entrance gates, a cafeteria, a food court, a Vedic and spiritual library, a virtual gallery, tourist centre, a multi-purpose hall, and a security hall are part of the corridor. A special sky beam light system was also being installed along the corridor.
Over seven million devotees and tourists visit the Kashi Vishwanath Temple annually. On average, over 10,000 devotees, mostly from Varanasi and adjoining areas, visit it daily. On Mondays, over 40,000 to 50,000 people offer prayers at the temple. The number goes up to 30,00,00 on Mondays during the holy month of Shravan (July-August).