With Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rise to power, the fate of the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir has changed magnificently. On December 13, PM Modi inaugurated his dream project, that is, the Kashi Vishwanath Dham Corridor project. The project has dramatically uplifted the surroundings of the sacred shrine, and the workers involved in construction deserved the grand appreciation they received, when PM Modi felicitated them by showering flowers on them and heaping praise. A galaxy of BJP leaders, including chief ministers of various states, was present in Varanasi for the grand ceremony that was being live-streamed at 51,000 different locations across the country.
The ostentatious inauguration:
After taking a holy dip in the river Ganga, PM Modi performed a puja at the mandir. He later dedicated the corridor to the people of India, and with a flower basket in his arms, he walked amongst the workers and felicitated them by showering petals on them. The workers, wearing the usual construction site jackets, clapped, cheered and greeted the Prime Minister with folded hands. PM Modi also had lunch with the workers at a hall in the complex.
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) December 13, 2021
‘Here if an Aurangzeb comes, a Shivaji also rises’:
Applauding the civilisational heritage of Varanasi, Modi asserted that despite the existence of various sultanates over the years, the holy city of Kashi has withstood the test of time.
He stated, “Invaders attacked this city, tried to destroy it. History is witness to Aurangzeb’s atrocities, his terror. He tried to change civilisation by the sword. He tried to crush culture with fanaticism. But the soil of this country is different from the rest of the world. Here if an (Mughal Emperor) Aurangzeb comes, a (Maratha warrior) Shivaji also rises. If a Salar Masud marches ahead, warriors like Raja Suhaldev make him realise the power of our unity.”
While addressing people, he also said that “Kashi (ancient name of Varanasi) has been the centre of spiritual consciousness. And, now in a grand form, Kashi will now add energy to this consciousness.”
He added that “Varanasi has been the karmabhoomi and janmabhoomi of many great personalities”, lauding Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar for constructing the mandir in around 1780.
Kashi and its journey:
Relentless attacks on the Kashi Vishwanath mandir startedJust after the Islamic invaders made their way into India. First, in the 11th century, Qutb al-Din Aibak attacked it. It was demolished again during the rule of either Hussain Shah Sharqi (1447–1458) or Sikandar Lodi (1489–1517). The final assault on the mandir was executed by Mughal tyrant Aurangzeb. In 1669 CE, Aurangzeb destroyed the mandir out of sheer hatred for Hindu culture, and built the Gyanvapi masjid in its place.
Finally, it was in 1780 that Rani Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore built a new temple next to the Gyanvapi complex, which we know today as the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir. In 1828, Baiza Bai, who was a widow of the Maratha ruler Daulat Rao Scindhia of Gwalior State, built a low-roofed colonnade with over 40 pillars in the Gyanvapi precinct. Thereafter, between, 1833 and 1840, the boundary of Gyanvapi well, the ghats, and other nearby mandirs, were constructed.
And then, in 1885, the first Sikh emperor, Sher-e-Punjab Maharaja Ranjit Singh donated 1 ton gold for the new mandir’s domes.
Kashi Vishwanath Mandir re-established:
Narendra Modi has become the latest name to join a long list of people who have contributed to keeping the soul of Kashi, that is, its ancient mandir, alive. The various facilities that have been built in the corridor include a Ganga-view cafe, a Mandir Chowk surrounded by emporium space in three floors, food courts, shops, spiritual bookstore, a VIP guest house, Mumukshu Bhawan, Vedic Kendra, Bhog Shaala, a tourist facilitation centre, three Yatri Suvidha Kendras, toilet blocks, and two museums — City Museum and Varanasi Gallery.
The Kashi Vishwanath Mandir still needs more refurbishment at the site of the Gyanvapi masjid, as the shoddy work done by the Mughal tyrant Aurangzeb could not cover up his monstrous destruction of the original mandir. Furthermore, despite intense protests witnessed at the time of the announcement of the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor project, PM Modi, as he promised, has now inaugurated his dream project to critical acclaim, and his efforts to maintain the glory of Kashi and Hinduism need to be appreciated by each and every Hindu in the world.