Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the Shri Mahakal Lok project at the revered Mahakaleshwar Temple in Ujjain on Tuesday evening, adding to the series of transformations that prominent Indian temple sites have seen under his watch in the last eight years.
From the Kashi Vishwanath Dham which the PM inaugurated year ago in Varanasi to the revamp of Somnath Temple in Gujarat and Kedarnath Temple in Uttarakhand, Modi’s tenure has been marked with such moves to restore and enhance the glory of iconic Indian temples, senior leaders in the BJP point out. The Centre is also working at great speed on the Char Dham Paryojana in Uttarakhand and the majestic Ram Temple in Ayodhya is expected to be ready for darshan by the end of next year as well.
The Shri Mahakal Lok project is similar to the Kashi Vishwanath Dham in which the area of the temple complex has seen a big increase and the same has been beautified and made easy for pilgrims to pay obeisance. Under the Shri Mahakal project, the temple precinct will be expanded nearly seven times, similar in nature to the Kashi Vishwanath Dham which saw a big corridor being built from the Ganga ghats till the temple complex. Both these Shiv temples are among the holy jyotirlings in India.
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple saw the pilgrim rush more than double since the inauguration of the new corridor and, similarly, the government expects to double the existing footfall of the Mahakaleshwar temple, which is currently around 1.5 crore per annum, after the new project is unveiled by the PM on Tuesday.
Another famous jyotirling of India, the Somnath Temple in Gujarat, got a face-lift when Modi was the chief minister of the state. After Modi became the Prime Minister and also the Chairman of the Somnath Trust, the scale of the improvements increased with a Seaside Promenade and an Exhibition Centre being completed this year.
Similarly, at the Jyotirling of Kedarnath which saw massive destruction in the 2013 floods, Modi personally reviewed the restoration work by visiting every year and a big transformation was unveiled by him last year.
The ongoing work on the Char Dham Paryojana will be linking the four holiest Hindu shrines of Uttarakhand — Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamnotri and Gangotri -by an all-weather road.
What’s Special About Shri Mahakal Lok?
The Rs 850-crore Mahakal Lok project will help in enriching the experience of pilgrims visiting the temple by providing them with world class modern amenities, the government says. The project aims to decongest the entire area and also put special emphasis on conservation and restoration of heritage structures. Development of the project has been planned under two phases.
The Mahakal Path contains 108 stambhs (pillars) which depict Anand Tandav Swaroop (dance form) of Lord Shiva. Many religious sculptures depicting the life of Lord Shiva are installed along the Mahakal Path. The mural wall along the path is based on Shiva Purana stories such as act of creation, birth of Lord Ganesha, story of Sati and Daksha, among others.
The plaza area, which is spread over 2.5 hectares, is surrounded by a lotus pond and contains the statue of Shiva along with fountains. The entire premise will be monitored 24×7 by Integrated Command and Control Centre with the help of artificial intelligence and surveillance cameras.
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