Varanasi chants "Har Har Mahadev", PM receives "pagdi" from man

  • | Monday | 13th December, 2021

Varanasi, Dec 13 (PTI) Amid chants of "Har Har Mahadev", Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday was showered with rose petals and unbound adulation as he travelled through the Varanasi streets, which have been plastered with huge posters bearing his image and greetings. In the presence of a large number of seers and noted public personalities, Modi inaugurated the first phase of the Kashi Vishwanath corridor project, after taking a holy dip in the Ganga and offering prayers at the temple. After arriving in the town in the morning, he first visited the Kal Bhairav temple, fondly called "Kashi ka Kotwal" and paid his obeisance to the deity. Amid tight security, his convey then moved out of the area as local residents chanted "Har Har Mahadev" and "Modi, Modi". While many showered rose petals, others waved Tricolours from their balconies and verandahs as his car slowly wended its way through narrow streets the river side to take a cruise to Lalita Ghat. The streets posed a challenge for both the SPG and local police forces but amid this a man sought to offer a pink-shade "pagdi" to PM Modi near Kal Bhairav Mandir as security personnel tried to push him away. Modi then motioned from inside the car and the man was allowed to come near and offer the "pagdi" to him. The man, wearing a saffron robe, then offered a "pitambari" (saffron ‘angvastra’) to the PM, which he accepted with folded handed and a smile. Alok Mishra, 30, who runs a saree shop at Kachori Gali that leads to Manikarnika Ghat said, "I went there in the morning only and waited for arrival of Modiji. The man who offered ‘pagdi" to the PM near Sonawala Jewellers, is a Brahmin, who lives in the area only." Modi at times, also walked the streets of Varanasi, acknowledged the cheers and greetings of people. After inaugurating the new corridor, Modi in his address lauded the heritage of Varanasi and said many sultanates rose and collapsed but the town remained. He said the whole new complex of the Kashi Vishwanath Dham is not just a grand building but a symbol of the "Sanatan culture" of India, our spiritual soul and India"s antiquity and traditions. The temple area here, which was only 3,000 sq feet, has now spread to about five lakh sq feet. Now 50,000-75,000 devotees can come to the temple premises, he said. He said a "new history" was being created and "we are fortunate to have witnessed it". As Modi"s programme was broadcast live, the narrow gullies of Varanasi rang with Sanskrit shlokas and percussion sound of drums ("damrus") as people were glued to their TV sets and mobile handsets to watch the event unfolding. When Modi arrived in the corridor carrying Ganga water in an ornamental urn, he was welcomed with a sonorous beating of the drums by a group of drummers, wearing saffron "dhoti" and white vest. Modi halted a couple of times on the red carpet that was laid out for him to enjoy the beats of the drums and even raised his hand in an appreciative gesture. The coverage of the event, "”Divya Kashi, Bhavya Kashi”--was streamed live to people"s homes in high-quality video as 55 high-definition cameras, four jimmy jibs and one huge drone were deployed by Doordarshan team for the coverage. Omkar Dikshit, 37, who runs a perfume ship in Kachouri Gali, was among those watching the programme live but with some reservations. He claimed he had a shop in the area neighbouring the temple premises, which was acquired for the project and later demolished. "So, we moved to this place. Yes, a majority of people are celebrating but for people who have lost their houses or properties in the project, are not so happy," Dikhshit said. Prime Minister Modi in his address during its foundation-laying on March 8, 2019 had said it was difficult to take people into confidence to give their properties and ensure the project did not take a political colour. "I thank people of Kashi, who gave their properties for Baba. This is the biggest "daan" they have given for Baba," the prime minister had said. A large number of cut-outs of Modi and huge posters carrying his image in a devotional posture along with Kashi Vishwanath temple photo have also been mounted throughout the city. PTI KND RDK RDK

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