Around 60 temples were found in the vicinity of famous Kashi Vishwanath temple after demolition work began for creation of a corridor in the area in 2018.(AP Photo/File)
Around 60 temples were found in the vicinity of famous Kashi Vishwanath temple after demolition work began for creation of a corridor in the area in 2018.(AP Photo/File)

Soon, a virtual tour of 60 ancient Kashi temples hidden for a long time

The work on the ambitious project to restore the glory of the Kashi Vishwanath complex has begun. People will soon be able to learn about the 60 ancient temples discovered recently in the area.
Hindustan Times, Varanasi | By Sudhir Kumar | Edited by Abhinav Sahay
UPDATED ON JUL 15, 2020 10:34 PM IST

A virtual museum-cum-web repository of 60 ancient temples and sculptures found among the buildings acquired for the development of the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor, will be created to preserve and showcase the history and art of these structures and artefacts. On account of their historical importance and magnificent architecture, these ancient temples will also be renovated and preserved.

An initiative by the Kashi Vishwanath Temple administration, the museum will be set up with the help of the department of history of Arts, Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and the National Museum of Archives.

An ambitious project backed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor is being constructed in around 5 lakh square feet area. To meet the requirement of land for the corridor, around 300 buildings, including houses, were acquired and demolished. This led to the discovery of about 60 temples and several sculptures in the area. Some of the temples were among the buildings, while others were inside the houses.

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Gaurang Rathi, chief executive of Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple, said, “Architecture of about a dozen of these temples is amazing and carving on stones is magnificent and very special. In addition, 30 (out of 60) of these temples are mentioned in Kashi Khand (section) of the Skanda Puran. So it is very important to renovate and preserve these temples in Shri Kashi Vishwanath Dham area. We are going to do the preservation with the help of BHU and the National Museum of Archives.”

The temple administration has also started working on a project to create a virtual museum of the ancient temples. It will showcase the history and the art of the ancient temples along with the style of architecture used in these ancient temples.

Divisional commissioner Deepak Agarwal said, “A joint team of BHU and National Museum of Archives will together collect information about the temples, like how old they are, which style of architecture was used in their construction and which ruler built them.”

He added that each temple’s high resolution picture with 3- D effect, along with information, would be available in the virtual museum which would also showcase the scenic view of river Ganga and Kashi Vishwanath Corridor.

The virtual museum will be made available on the Kashi Vishwanath Temple for a virtual tour, which will recreate temples’ actual physical locations on the corridor premises.

The first part of the museum is likely to be ready by September end.

Prof Pradosh Mishra, head of the department of history of Arts, BHU, said, “The project intends to bring out the temples unearthed from the complex and promote research. The web repository will help to reconstruct the history of the site as well as safeguard the cultural heritage of Varanasi.”

“All the temples unearthed are of historical importance,” Prof Mishra said and added that the work on the web repository project had already begun.

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