Kashi Vishwanath corridor unveiled – Indian Express

Kashi Vishwanath Temple

The Indian ExpressThe Kashi Vishwanath Temple is located in the Vishwanath Gali of Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi, standing on the western bank of the holy river Ganga. It houses one of the twelve sacred jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. – The Indian Express 

There are many pilgrim sites in India and for the Hindu community, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi holds a great spiritual and religious significance. On December 13, 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the Kashi Vishwanath corridor, which will connect the ancient temple to the ghats of the Ganga.

The Rs 800-crore project was launched by the PM in his parliamentary constituency in March 2019, and it is said to be his “dream project”. The corridor, built over an area of 5,000 hectares, seeks to decongest and transform the temple complex.

For the uninitiated, the Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple receives pilgrims and tourists from many parts of India and even the world. It also finds mention in many books on ancient India. As mentioned earlier, it is one of the most revered and famous Hindu temples that is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the God of Destruction and one of the holy Hindu trinity.

Modi doing puja to Sri Vishwanath at Kashi (Dec 13, 2021).

The temple is located in the Vishwanath Gali of Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi, standing on the western bank of the holy river Ganga. It houses one of the twelve sacred jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva.

The temple gets its name from the presiding deity Shri Vishwanath or Vishweshwara, meaning the “Lord of the Universe” or the “Keeper of the Universe”. In ancient India, Varanasi or Benaras, was called Kashi, and this is what gives the temple its name.

Interestingly, the current structure of the temple that you see here was built by Maratha ruler, Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore in the year 1780. The original temple was destroyed by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb—whom history remembers as an autocrat—who instead raised the Gyanvapi Mosque which [today] co-exists on an adjacent site.

The temple is managed by the government of Uttar Pradesh.

The temple is located in a congested part of the city, which can be accessed by walking through a narrow gully, which humans have to share with cattle, too. The road is flanked by shops and buildings, throttling it. The current corridor intends to give pilgrims a spiritual experience by decongesting the area and restoring the “lost glory”.

Previously, the temple lacked direct access to Ganga. A 20-foot-wide corridor was envisaged to connect the Lalita Ghat to Mandir Chowk within the temple premises. An official of the Ministry of Culture said that people can now “take a dip in the river every morning and worship the lord in the temple, which will now have direct visibility from the ghat”.

Sadhus at Kashi Vishwanath Temple (Dec. 13,2021)

Big boost for pilgrims

Naturally, accessibility will lead to a tourism influx. The infrastructural changes will benefit the holy city as well as the Buddhist pilgrimage site of Sarnath. A total of 23 buildings were inaugurated today, including a tourist facilitation centre, Mumukshu Bhavan, bhogshala, city museum, viewing gallery and food court.

Additionally, the Rudraksh Convention Centre—constructed like a Shiva lingam—can seat 1,200 people, and has divisible meeting rooms, an art gallery, and multipurpose pre-function areas. Ganga cruises are also planned for tourists.

During the process to de-clutter the area by removing properties that were clogging the proposed corridor, more than 40 “lost” temples—with a history going back a few centuries—like the Gangeshwar Mahadev temple, the Manokameshwar Mahadev temple, the Jauvinayak temple, and the Shri Kumbha Mahadev temple were discovered. – The Indian Express, 13 December 22021

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