The Kashi Vishwanath corridor was inaugurated on 13 December 2021 with pomp and gusto. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the local Member of Parliament, inaugurated the corridor in the presence of scores of dignitaries that included saints, seers and chief ministers of other states. This event was not only a symbol of transformation which the grand old holy city of Kashi is undergoing but also an exhibition of the awakening of the Hindu consciousness that is happening across the country. Despite several objections coming from various political and social corners, the corridor was built and inaugurated with fairly minimal hindrances thanks to the meticulous planning and execution carried out by the Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust. 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.
PM Narendra Modi launched this Rs 400 crore project in March 2018. The central idea was to preserve the existing heritage structures, provide new facilities in the temple complex, ease people’s traffic and movement, and connect the temple with the famous ghats of Banaras through a corridor with direct visibility. Earlier what was a congested three thousand square feet structure has now become a 5 lakh square feet open space. The various facilities in the premises include a Mandir Chowk surrounded by emporiums, a spiritual bookstore, Vedic Kendra, bhog shaalas, a Ganga-view Cafe, shops, a VIP guest house, Mumukshu Bhawan, a tourist facilitation centre, three Yatri Suvidha Kendras, toilet blocks, and two museums. THe Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust has appointed private consultants through open tenders for handling the operational planning to ensure the devotees a memorable pilgrim experience.
After the Kedarnath reconstruction project, the Kashi Vishwanath development project proved to be another significant pillar of strength in reviving the Hindu consciousness across the country. From questioning the need for such projects, major objections for such development projects involve preserving the sanctity of the religious site. This shows that there is a shift in the paradigm of thinking among the Hindu community. Fruition of the civilizational aspirations of millions of Hindus started taking place with the Ram Janmabhoomi verdict. The year 2018 and 2019 saw the launch of various development projects such as the Kedarnath reconstruction project and Kashi Vishwanath Dham are significant examples. Two other notable projects are the construction of the ‘Statue of Equality’ which is a 216 ft statue of Sri Ramanujacharya and will be completed in the year 2022 which is the 1000th birth anniversary of the great seer and the construction of the ‘Statue of Oneness’ which is a 108 ft statue of Sri Adi Sankaracharya in Omkareshwar. Such projects not only remind people of the illustrious value systems these seers upheld but also provide significant socio-economic opportunities for the residents. These sites, built with remarkable engineering and architectural prowess, will become mandatory tourist spots for Hindus across the country thereby amplifying the Hindu consciousness in them. These statues introduce the unique Indic concepts which these seers preserved to a larger audience. The erstwhile ignorant common man will have an opportunity to learn from such Masters through such statues and museums. However, the establishment of statues to revive a cultural consciousness and representation of noble values is not a new concept. In 1886, The Statue of Liberty Monument was given to the United States from France to celebrate the friendship the two endured during the American Revolution. Over the years, the Statue of Liberty has symbolised the freedom and the democracy of the United States. Similarly, statues of great seers like Sri Adi Sankaracharya and Sri Ramanujacharya represent the concept of oneness and equality, core tenets of Hindu society.