With a view to revive and make the sacred kshetra at Varanasi more conducive to pilgrims, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundations of Kashi Vishwanath Mandir Vistarikaran- Saundarayakaran Yojana (Kashi Vishwanath Temple Extension and Beautification Plan), on March 8, 2019. Integral to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious project, is improved accessibility for pilgrims, by connecting the Kashi Vishwanath temple with the ghats of river Ganga with a paved walkway, 320 meters long and 20 meters wide. The plan also envisages a spectrum of facilities such as construction of a Yatri Suvidha Kendra (Tourist Facilitation Centre), Mumuksha Bhavan (Salvation Home), a Mandir Chowk, a museum, library, auditorium, bhogsala, shops, cafes and other public conveniences. The developmental activity is being executed by Shri Kashi Vishwanath Special Area Development Board.
One of the biggest challenges to the beautification plan, has been centuries-old encroachment in the immediate vicinity of Kashi Vishwanath temple. Around three hundred buildings spread over 50,000 square meters, were acquired and demolished by the authorities. The removal of encroachment brought to light several ancient, forgotten temples and religious statuary, many of which were hidden within residential and commercial structures that crowded the narrow by-lanes around the temple.
The Kashi Vishwanath corridor project also plans to conserve and restore the temples to their former splendour. Writings in Kashi khanda are testimony to the historical significance of at least thirty temples situated in the corridor. The visionary project seeks to enhance the ritual landscape of Banaras and enrich visitor experience by showcasing its rich cultural and religious heritage.