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Varanasi's Kashi Vishwanath Dham witnesses record footfall

Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) : Over five lakh devotees visited the Kashi Vishwanath Dham in Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi on January 1. This came days weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated phase 1 of the newly-constructed Kashi Vishwanath Dham. The local administration in Varanasi had not expected such an unprecedented number of devotees. At best, they were expecting not more than a lakh visitors for the day. Even on Mahashivratri, the peak time at Kashi Vishwanath, the number of devotees had never exceeded 2.5 lakh. Such a huge number turning up on a non-festival day at the temple shows the immense enthusiasm across the country to visit the Kashi Vishwanath Dham after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated it. The local administration has also requested the devotees, especially the VIPs, to stagger their visit to Kashi Vishwanath Dham to ensure proper crowd management. Earlier on December 13, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated phase 1 of the newly-constructed Kashi Vishwanath Dham at a cost of around Rs 339 crores. The foundation stone of the project was laid by the Prime Minister on March 8, 2019. 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 were inaugurated in phase 1 of the project. They are providing 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 scale of the project was such that the project is now spread over a massive area of about 5 lakh square feet, whereas earlier premises was limited to just around 3000 square feet. Despite the Covid pandemic, the work on the project was completed as per the planned schedule.

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