Varanasi: After inaugurating the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold an informal meeting with several chief ministers on a river cruise and witness Ganga ‘aarti’ and grand festivities being hosted at Varanasi ghats, a top official said on Sunday.
Varanasi District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said Prime Minister Modi, who is the MP from the ancient city, had expressed his desire to “showcase the grandeur of Kashi” to the chief ministers.
“The PM is expected to reach Varanasi airport on Monday morning, from where a helicopter will take him to the campus of Sampurnanand Sanskrit University where a makeshift helipad has been made. He will then travel to Kal Bhairav Mandir for ‘darshan’ of the deity, and then travel by river route to reach the ghat adjoining the corridor,” he said.
The mega corridor, whose foundation stone was laid by Modi on March 8, 2019, connects the main temple with Lalita Ghat, and grand gateways and ornamental arches have been built in heritage architecture style in four directions, facing the ancient temple at its core.
“Prime Minister Modi will reach Kashi Vishwanath Dham from the ghat side, and then inaugurate the corridor. He will take a walk in the premises of the new corridor, and see the buildings erected. The event will take place in the presence of a large number of saints and seers from all parts of the country, many of whom have already arrived,” the Varanasi DM said.
“It was his desire to enter the corridor from the river side, where all arrangements have been made. Rehearsal of river cruise is also underway. By evening, all arrangements should be done,” he said.
Varanasi: Preparations in progress at Kashi Vishwanath temple, ahead of the inauguration of Kashi Vishwanath corridor by PM Narendra Modi tomorrow, December 13 pic.twitter.com/4yzKwcTIEz
— ANI (@ANI) December 12, 2021
At Lalita Ghat, labourers were busy working on an earthen ramp that has been built to facilitate the movement of the prime minister from the cruise jetty to the starting point of the corridor, one of the dream projects of Modi.
Over 3,000 seers, people associated with different religious mutts, artistes and other noted personalities are to assemble at the venue on December 13 to witness the inauguration.
The programme will last about 2-3 hours.
“In the evening, the PM will take part in an informal ‘baithak’ with CMs and deputy CMs on the river cruise. Being the MP from Varanasi, he had expressed his desire to showcase the grandeur of Kashi, situated on the banks of the river, to the chief ministers. Also, from his cruise, PM will witness Ganga ‘aarti’ and grand festivities on the ghats, which will culminate with fireworks and laser show,” the DM said.
Sharma said ghats are being decorated and the plan is to light up “five lakh diyas” on the ghats and observe the occasion on a scale of ‘Dev Deepavali’.
The prime minister will stay at the guest house on the Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) campus after finishing his engagements on the day one of his visit.
“Next day, he will take part in a formal meeting with chief ministers and other events, and later in the day will participate in an annual event of Swarved Mandir in Umraha,” he said, adding his two-day engagement will end at around 5 pm on Tuesday.
After laying the foundation stone of the corridor, Modi had said the project would be a model for “protection and preservation” of temples and a combination of modern technology with ancient faith.
He had also said this project would become a model for similar projects elsewhere and give a new global identity to Kashi.
Posters have been put up on ornate lamp posts in streets near the iconic temple — one of the 12 Jyotirlingas — hailing Modi for “realising the vision of this project”.
The current structure of the temple was constructed by Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar around 1780, and in the 19th century, Maharaja Ranjit Singh had got it crowned with golden ‘shikhar’.
A posse of police personnel are guarding the temple premises and public roundabouts and patrolling the streets to ensure everything goes smoothly.
“Given the scale and importance of the programme, security has been stepped up across the city, especially in the areas surrounding the temple and the corridor. A large number of high-profile guests are slated to attend the event. And, a very large number of people are expected to attend it,” a senior police official said.
The city, the parliamentary constituency of Modi since 2014, has been decorated ahead of the mega event — ‘Divya Kashi, Bhavya Kashi’ — and the residents of the temple town eagerly await the arrival of the prime minister.
Facades of buildings located on streets leading to the shrine have been painted in uniform light pink colour, and many buildings have been illuminated. Many hotels located near Godowlia Chowk have also been lit up by their owners to celebrate the occasion.