Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the first phase of the newly-constructed Kashi Vishwanath Dham, also known as the Vishwanath corridor, on Monday during a visit to his parliamentary constituency Varanasi. According to Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), “At around 1 PM on December 13, Prime Minister will visit Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple and offer prayers, after which he will inaugurate phase 1 of Shri Kashi Vishwanath Dham, constructed at a cost of around Rs 339 crores.” The foundation stone of the project was laid by the Prime Minister on 8 March 2019.

The Prime Minister said on Sunday that the Kashi Vishwanath Dham project will add to Kashi’s spiritual vibrancy. “Tomorrow, 13th December is a landmark day. At a special programme in Kashi, the Shri Kashi Vishwanath Dham project will be inaugurated. This will add to Kashi’s spiritual vibrancy. I would urge you all to join tomorrow’s programme,” PM Modi tweeted.

To mark the occasion of the inauguration, Varanasi will witness the presence of around 3,000 saints from across the country.

“Kashi Vishwanath temple will be presented as a new ‘Dham’ to the nation and world. It will be inaugurated by PM Modi tomorrow, whose vision and guidance have played a key role…This ‘Dham’ will give a new, global identity to Varanasi,” said Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

The Bharatiya Janata Party conducted cleanliness campaigns and sanitization drives in Varanasi on Sunday.

The statement from the PMO said, “It was the vision of the Prime Minister for a long time, to facilitate the pilgrims and devotees of Baba Vishwanath, who had to encounter congested streets and surroundings with poor upkeep, when they practised the age-old custom of taking a dip in the holy river, collecting Gangajal and offering it at the temple. To realise this vision, Shri Kashi Vishwanath Dham was conceptualised as a project to create an easily accessible pathway to connect Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple to the banks of the River Ganga.”

A total of 23 buildings will be inaugurated in phase 1 of the project. They will provide a variety of facilities to the pilgrims visiting Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple, including Yatri Suvidha Kendras, Tourist Facilitation Centre, Vedic Kendra, Mumukshu Bhavan, Bhogshala, City Museum, Viewing Gallery, Food Court, among others.

The project involved the purchase and acquisition of more than 300 properties around Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

The Prime Minister took a keen and active interest at all stages of the project. Regular briefings, reviews and monitoring were done by the Prime Minister himself, and he constantly gave inputs and insights to improve the project and make it more accessible for pilgrims, including for the disabled.

The project was designed to provide easy access for the disabled and old age people with the provision of ramps, escalators, and other modern facilities.

“Prime Minister’s vision to take everyone along was the principle based on which mutual negotiations were done for these acquisitions. In this endeavour, the rehabilitation of around 1400 shopkeepers, tenants, and homeowners were done amicably. The testimony of the success is the fact that there is no litigation pending in any court of the country regarding acquisitions or rehabilitation related to the development of the project,” the PMO statement said.

Prime Minister’s vision was also to ensure that all heritage structures be preserved during the course of the development of the project. During the process of destruction of the old properties, more than 40 ancient temples were rediscovered. These temples have been restored and beautified while ensuring that there is no change in the original structure.

The scale of the project was such that it is now spread over a massive area of about 5 lakh square feet, whereas earlier premises was limited to just around 3,000 square feet.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the work on the project has been completed as per the planned schedule.

On Sunday morning, BJP workers took to Varanasi’s streets with brooms. The cleanliness drive was started by Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan last week and it was culminated on Sunday by BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh and Party’s co-incharge of Uttar Pradesh, Sunil Oza. The sweeping drive started from Maidagin square and ended at Vishwanath temple. Besides sanitization, fogging was also conducted.

BJP National General Secretary, Tarun Chugh who reached Varanasi along with other BJP members to ensure arrangements told ANI, “Around 3000 saints will witness the inauguration of Kashi Vishwanath corridor tomorrow by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. So we along with other social workers will clean the road which saints will pass by.”

“Volunteers will come out with a water bucket and broom to clean the roads. The chant of ‘Har Har Mahadev’ will be sung along with cleaning the roads. Everybody is giving their participation by every manner,” said Chugh.

BJP national president JP Nadda on Sunday reached Varanasi ahead of the inauguration.