LUCKNOW: PM Narendra Modi’s dream project the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor — construction for which commenced on January 15, 2020 — has run into a temple hurdle.
Thirteen ancient temples, housed in different residential buildings, are situated in the path of the corridor. These temples need to be temporarily relocated before commencing construction of the ambitious project.
According to sources, the temples are situated on hillocks and the ground beneath has become supple and weak. As a result, the use of heavy machinery may lead to cracks in the temples.
Now, the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor project managers have urged the Kashi Vishwanath Management Temple Trust to relocate the temples temporarily.
“We have urged the Kashi Vishwanath Temple Management to relocate the temples temporarily following Vedic rituals till the construction of the corridor,” said one of the project managers.
The corridor aims to provide devotees easier access to the Kashi Vishwanath temple that houses one of the pre-eminent Shiva lingas and is thus considered among the most sacred temples.
Last month, the wall of a house of an erstwhile Mahant of Kashi Vishwanath temple had collapsed under the impact of heavy machines.
Work on the corridor is on in full swing as the state government has set 2021 as the deadline for its completion. Modi, who represents Varanasi in Lok Sabha, had laid the foundation stone of the project on March 8, 2019.
Rejecting the charges on the reported demolition of hundreds of temples in the path of the corridor, secretary, Varanasi Development Authority and CEO Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust Vishal Singh said all temples were restored to their original forms after the cleaning of the corridor area.
These temples are being restored by the Shri Kashi Vishwanath Vishisht Kshetra Vikas Parishad as part of the project.
While 291 buildings were vacated and purchased by the government for the corridor, the project also witnessed the relocation of around 500 families. Singh said only 30 per cent of the area covered under the corridor will be constructed to maintain the originality of the location.
The buildings, to be constructed as part of the corridor, will be a maximum of two-storey high and not taller than the Kashi Vishwanath temple.
The Kashi Vishwanath Corridor, after completion, is believed to change the look of the ancient city of Varanasi
The corridor project
Estimated area: 5 lakh sq ft
Estimated cost: Rs 399 crore (first two phases)
January 15, 2020
500 families living in area relocated to make way for the corridor
350 Rudraksha plants will be planted in Rudra forest area
The last restoration of the Kashi Vishwanath temple — which houses one of the 12 Jyotirlingas —was constructed by queen of Indore Ahilya Bai Holkar in 1780
Why the corridor?
The corridor, which is 50 feet wide, connects the Kashi Vishwanath temple with Varanasi’s famous ghats.
Upon completion, the corridor will help ease congestion giving pilgrims access to amenities such as clean drinking water, better street lighting, cleaner lanes and roads