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PM Modi anchors Varanasi as cultural hub with inauguration of novel ropeway

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi on Friday (Image courtesy: PIB)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in Varanasi for a day today, launched multiple developmental projects including a 3.75-kilometre passenger ropeway that would connect the Varanasi Cantonment Station and the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor. The total outlay for all the projects is estimated at Rs 1,780 crore.

“Be it roads, bridges, railways or airports, the connectivity to Varanasi has completely eased”, the Prime Minister said. Today it takes about 10-11 hours by road from Delhi to Varanasi. The newly built state of the art multi-lane expressways including the Purvanchal Expressway inaugurated in 2021 connects the two cities.

In 2014, Modi for the first time contested from the Varanasi constituency. The landscape of the city has dramatically changed since then.

The number of tourist inflow has steadily increased. In 2015 Varanasi– erstwhile Kashi — received about 55 lakh domestic tourists. Last year, the city considered the most holy destination of the Hindus attracted more than 7 crore tourists—both domestic and international.

Residents of the city told India Narrative that the transformation of Varanasi from just being a religious destination has been “dramatic.”

“There is no off season in Varanasi. The city is now thronged with tourists throughout the year…the ghats have been cleaned, the overall city is no more dull and dirty as it was even a few years ago,” said a devotee of the temple.

In 2013, Al Jazeera published an article – “‘Hotels of death’ in an Indian holy city” highlighting how thousands flocked to this city wishing to die. “To house those wanting to die, all sorts of hotels and lodging have sprung up over the years,” it said.

But over the last few years, Varanasi has got its mojo back. The city is now a vibrant seat of culture, cuisine and spirituality leading to an economic boom. The connectivity to Sarnath, an important Buddhist destination has got a facelift too.

“People do come here for spiritual experience but that is far from what Varanasai had been projected for through the decades,” the devotee added.

Starting from the famous Banarasi sarees to other handicraft items and the local cuisine—have all got highlighted on the global map.

Modi also addressed the One World TB Summit that was held today at his constituency.

Also read: Uttar Pradesh’s first Ashti bank to preserve mortal remains coming up in Varanasi