PM inaugurates Kashi Vishwanath corridor weeks before elections to be announced in UP
At least 290 buildings comprising small and big residential and business buildings were demolished to construct the corridor. Over 1400 families were displaced
Amid the chants of Vedic hymns, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Kashi Vishwanath corridor in Varanasi on Monday weeks before the election to the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh would be announced.
Modi also offered prayers at the Vishwanath Temple, the temple of Lord Shiva, one of the 12 most revered Shiva Temples, called Jyotirlinga.
“Today history is created reviving the socio-cultural history of this ancient city which is vibrant with Hindu philosophy as enshrined in our religious books,” Modi said while inaugurating the corridor.
Modi had laid the foundation on March 8, 2019.
Varanasi city, located at the banks of river Ganga, is the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Modi. The city was decked up with lights, festoons, and decorative gates as people thronged the main city area called Gadaulia to witness the historic occasion. Big LED screens were put up at the main city crossings for the people to witness the function live.
“I could have stayed back and witnessed the function from home. But then, I would have missed this festivity,” Manoranjan Sinha, a resident of the city said, pointing to the crowd around him that was shouting religious slogans Har har Mahadev and Modi zindabad.
The local administration has closed schools and government offices to allow people to attend this festivity.
The restructuring of the temple complex was at the agenda of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is in power in Uttar Pradesh. ”The BJP Government has fulfilled its promise made to the people as it has restored the pristine glory of the Temple. Every Hindu across India must be proud of it,” Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath said.
To ensure that this inauguration gets a political message, senior leaders of the BJP were asked to offer prayers at prominent temples across the state when Prime Minister was offering prayers at the temple in Varanasi. Over 16 lakh packers of ladoo (sweets) were distributed among 7 lakh families across Uttar Pradesh.
The Kashi Vishwanath Dham, which houses Kashi Vishwanath Corridor, is built in about 5 lakh square feet area at the cost of Rs 750 crore. It has 23 small and big buildings and 27 temples. The Kashi Vishwanath Corridor has four gates and is divided into three-part and connects the temple complex with the river Ganga.
At least 290 buildings comprising small and big residential and business buildings were demolished to construct the corridor. Over 1400 families were displaced.
Rajendra Tiwari, one of the residents whose house was demolished to construct the Corridor said that initially, they had opposed the proposal to construct the corridor because it would have damaged the ancient culture of the city. “We have been relocated and administration has paid us compensation. The money we got is less than the agreed amount and we have lodged a complaint to the Administration,” Tiwari told Associated Press.
Sachchidanand Mishra, one of the priests of this temple said that initially the compound was just a 5000 sq feet area but now it is a huge complex that is adding sheen to the majestic grandeur of this temple.
Varanasi is one of the holiest cities of Hindus. It is believed to be the home of Lord Shiva, whom Hindus believe to be the God of destruction. Historians say that the Vishwanath temple was demolished and reconstructed by many rulers during the course of history.
Dr Rajeev Dwivedi, Professor, Department of History, Kashi Vidyapeeth in Varanasi said that the temple was rebuilt by Raja Todarmal, a counselor of Mughal emperor Akbar. It was further demolished by another Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.
He said history says that there was no Vishwanath temple here for about 125 years and in 1735, a queen of Indore, Ahilyabai, rebuilt the Kashi Vishwanath temple.
“For thousand years, the Kashi Vishwanath temple endured the cruelty of foreign invaders. Today, that injustice has been undone,” Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who is also a monk of the Temple in Gorakhpur, said.