PM Modi to inaugurate Rudraksh, the symbol of Indo-Japan friendship in Varanasi

During his Varanasi visit in December 2015, the then Japan prime minister Shinzo Abe gifted the VICCC project to the city.
Former Japan prime minister Shinzo Abe had gifted the VICCC centre, later named Rudraksh by PM Narendra Modi, to Varanasi. (PTI/File Photo)
Former Japan prime minister Shinzo Abe had gifted the VICCC centre, later named Rudraksh by PM Narendra Modi, to Varanasi. (PTI/File Photo)
Published on Jul 14, 2021 09:10 PM IST
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Thursday inaugurate the Varanasi International Cooperation and Convention Centre, built by financial assistance from Japan, by planting a Rudraksh plant on its premises, a senior official of Varanasi Nagar Nigam said. The VICCC has been named Rudraksh in recognition of the ancient city’s connection with Lord Shiva.

On the eve of its inauguration, the centre has been decorated keeping both the Japanese and Indian cultures in mind. Bamboo, pebbles, small bonsai trees, mats, lanterns, ceramic pots, rice paper, straw have been used for decoration in addition to ornamental lights and flowers of different sorts. Over a tonne of marigold flowers have also been used.

During his Varanasi visit in December 2015, the then Japan prime minister Shinzo Abe gifted the VICCC project to the city. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) funded around 186 crore, the cost of the project. Besides, a Japanese company Fujita Corporation was given the contract to construct the convention centre.

Japan’s ambassador Suzuki Satoshi, his wife Chikaga Suzuki, counsellor Kiyose Kazuhiro, secretary Oda Akari and a three-member-team of JICA, led by its chief representative Matsumoto Katsuo, will also be present on the occasion.

As many as 108 Rudraksh have been installed at the convention centre and its roof is shaped like a Shiva Linga, officials said, adding that the entire building will glow with LED lights at night.

The two-storey convention centre has come up in the posh Sigra area on 2.87 hectares of land and has a seating capacity of 1,200 people.

The official said the Rudraksh centre will further boost the city’s tourism potential as it ideal for holding international conferences, exhibitions and music concerts among other events and the gallery is done up with murals depicting Varanasi’s art, culture and music, they added.

Built with assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the VICCC is an environment friendly building, fit for obtaining level 3 Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA).

The CEO of Varanasi Smart City project, Gaurang Rathi, said the centre was equipped with a state-of-the-art building management system and boasted a gallery, meeting rooms, and parking for 120 four-wheelers. Its main hall can be partitioned into smaller chambers or spaces as and when required, he said.

Professor Kaushal Kishore Mishra, dean, faculty of social sciences at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU), said, “The VICCC is a symbol of India-Japan friendship in Varanasi.”

In September 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi named Varanasi Convention Centre as Rudraksh during the India-Japan annual summit at Ahmedabad, where the centre’s design was launched.

“I have named it Rudraksh – the symbol of love, and a Prasad of Lord Shiva to humanity. This Rudraksh will be a garland of love of Japan for Varanasi. It will also be a tribute to our shared Buddhist heritage present at Sarnath,” Modi had then said.

Thereafter, its construction began in 2018 and it was completed in April 2021 before it was handed over to Varanasi Smart City Limited on May 31.

During his visit to Varanasi, Modi will also inaugurate and lay the foundation stones of multiple development projects worth over 1,500 crore, an official aware of PM’s schedule said.

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Saturday, December 04, 2021