From the Kashi Vishwanath Dham to Gujarat’s Somnath Temple, Kedarnath Mandir in Uttarakhand, and now, the Mahakal Lok Corridor in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain, the tenure of Narendra Modi government has been marked with restoration of India’s iconic temples.
The Mahakal project is much similar to the Kashi Vishwanath Dham in terms of expansion of the area of the temple complex. Under the Mahakal project, the temple precinct will be expanded nearly seven times, similar to the Kashi Vishwanath Dham, which had a big corridor built from the Ganga Ghats till the temple complex.
The first phase of 900-metre-long Mahakal Corridor is spread across Rudrasagar Lake, and has two gateways – Nandi Dwar and Pinaki Dwar. The corridor will house around 200 statues and murals of Lord Shiva and Goddess Shakti.
Both the Shiva temples are among 12 Jyotirlingas in the country.
Let us look at the temples, which are being revamped:
Kashi Vishwanath Corridor: PM Modi had inaugurated the first phase of the project last December, and the idea to connect Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple to the banks of River Ganga was conceptualised on March 8, 2019. A total of 23 buildings were unveiled in the first phase of the project, costing Rs 339 crore. The buildings provide tourist service, Vedic Kendra, museum, gallery and food court. The project, which boasts of a massive area of about 5 lakh square feet, involved acquisition of more than 300 properties around the temple, rehabilitation of 1,400 shopkeepers, tenants and homeowners.
Kedarnath Project: The Kedarnath shrine in Rudraprayag was ravaged in 2013 floods in Uttarakhand. A Rs 500 crore project is underway to reconstruct and redevelop Kedarnath Dham area. PM Modi in 2017 laid the foundation stones of major reconstruction projects at Kedarnath shrine, which included facilities for devotees, construction of retaining walls and ghats at the Mandakini and Saraswati rivers. Modi also unveiled the idol of Adi Shankaracharya at the Kedarnath Temple last November, which was damaged during the flash floods. He is also scheduled to lay foundation stones for several other projects in the area worth Rs 180 crore. The Char Dham project was launched to connect four pilgrimage sites of Yamunoti, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. It aims to provide all-weather road network connecting the Char Dhams and a rail link between Rishikesh and Karnprayag.
Somnath Temple: The restoration of Somnath Temple in Gujarat has been done under the Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASAD). After Modi became the PM and also the Chairman of the Somnath Trust, the scale of the improvements increased further with a Seaside Promenade and an Exhibition Centre being completed this year. The Samudra Darshan Path is around 1.5-km long and 27 feet wide, and a wall that shows attractive paintings of Lord Shiva. Tourists can get a glimpse of the ocean and the grandeur of the Somnath temple from here. Along with this, Ahilyabai temple complex has been reconstructed known as Juna Somnath temple. Under the second phase of PRASAD, a public plaza will be built which will have facilities for the tourists such as a parking facility for the differently-abled. All this will be complete in 2-3 years.
Kashmir Temple Revamp: The government had said it plans to restore and reopen temples that were closed in Jammu and Kashmir following the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits. The restoration of Raghunath Temple, which was built by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1835 on River Jhelum in Srinagar, began in October 2020. The government decided to revamp Raghunath Temple after the abrogation of Article 370. Another, Sheetalnath Temple was opened for public in February 2021 for the first time in 31 years, according to Union minister Jitendra Singh.
Ram Temple in Ayodhya: The total cost of constructing the temple and complex is nearly Rs 1,800 crore. The work involves three superstructure comprising the ‘Garbha Girha’, the sanctum sanctorum, and five mandaps (porches) on the ground floor. The Ram Janmabhoomi temple trust had said around 40% of the construction work of the temple is over. As many as 166 pillars will be installed on the ground floor of the Ram temple, 144 on the first floor and 82 on the second floor. The temple will be 161 feet high from the floor of the sanctum sanctorum.
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