Varanasi’s famous Kashi Vishwanath temple registered a record five-fold increase in offerings by devotees within a year of the inauguration of a corridor that connects the temple with ghats Ganga river.
The Shiva temple received offerings worth more than ₹100 crores since December 13, 2021, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ambitious Kashi Vishwanath corridor. The offerings include various precious metals like gold and silver worth ₹50 crores.
More than 7.35 crore devotees visited Kashi Vishwanath temple since the corridor’s inauguration, according to its administration. July 2022 saw the highest number of monthly visitors at 76.8 lakh. The administration has installed scanning machines at various places to count the footfall.
Sunil Kumar Verma, an official of the trust governing the temple functioning said that devotees from India and abroad offered 60 kgs of gold, 10 kg of silver and 1500 kgs of copper this year.
The value of the offerings is the highest ever that the temple received, the official said.
“40 per cent of the ₹50 crores donated by devotees was received through online facilities like UPI (Unified Payment Interface),” said chief executive officer (CEO) Verma, adding that the temple expects the footfall of devotees to increase in the years to come.
The gold and copper offered by devotees have been used for covering the internal and external walls of the sanctum sanctorum with sheets of these metals.
The Kashi Vishwanath administration believes that the cost of construction of the corridor, around ₹900 crores, could be recovered in the next 5 years.
“With the expansion of facilities at the Vishwanath Dham corridor, the number of devotees is expected to rise further in the upcoming days. Besides offering, there will be additional income from the buildings constructed on the corridor. The cost of construction will be expected to recover in 4 to 5 years,” informed Verma.
Giving details about temple employees, Verma, who also heads the Varanasi Development Authority (VDA) said: “As many as 50 people are employed in the ‘Sugam Darshan system’, 100 for sanitation and 200 people are deployed at different places of the temple to provide better security and convenience to visitors.”
He said that the temple will organise a grand celebration on the completion of one year of Kashi Vishwanath Dham corridor on Tuesday evening – with Vedic hymns and bhajans of Anuradha Paudwal echoing the temple premises.