HOURS TO GO for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple here, the shrine at the heart of his ambitious city-remodeling project has seen the eventful finish of another makeover.
So when Modi offered prayers on Sunday, February 27, it was in a sanctum sanctorum literally glittering with gold.
A temple trust official said the gold plating of the interior walls, using 37kg of gold, was completed in three days – from February 25 to 27 – although the exercise started there. fifteen days.
In the next phase, gold plating would be done to the exterior walls.
The official, who did not want to be named, said an anonymous devotee from southern India had donated more than 60 kg of gold, saying 37 kg of it would be used to gild the interior walls.
BJP sources said the businessman wanted 37kg for the interior walls as it was “equivalent to the weight” of Modi’s mother, Heeraben. According to party leaders, the businessman believed it was a way for worshipers to express their gratitude to Modi for “his contribution” to the temple and its surroundings, through the construction of the corridor to the Ganges.
Officials said the last time the temple saw gold plating was when Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab offered about 23 ‘mann’ (1 mann equals over 35 kg) of gold to cover the dome, in the 18th century. “This is the first time that such an amount of gold has been donated by someone for the temple. Previously, people gave gold in the form of jewelry,” the trustee said.
The original interior walls have marble up to a height of 12 feet and red sandstone above to the dome. The head of the temple trust said stains had appeared on the marble due to the smoke from the diyas lit for prayers and they could not be cleaned despite several efforts.
Thus, a fortnight ago, a layer of silicon fiber was placed on the marble and the sandstone. Copper frames were also prepared for the sculptures of gods and goddesses and Har Har Mahadev carved on the marble, and the gold plating made of the same and the walls.
The official said that the silver on the four door frames of the sanctum sanctorum will also be replaced with gold very soon.
Om Prakash Mishra, the archak (priest) of the temple, said, “The gold plating has enhanced the aura of the temple. It glows when the lights are on. He added that the temple would be one of a kind when gold plating would be done on the door frames as well as the exterior walls.
Deepak Agarwal, Varanasi Divisional Commissioner, told The Indian Express: “We have received reports that 60kg of gold has been anonymously donated to the temple in the form of a decorative structure. The donor had the structure made by a jeweler from Delhi, who came to install it in the garbh griha (sanctum sanctorum). The remaining gold will be installed in the tower structure. The donor remained anonymous and only details relating to the structure were obtained.
As to whether the gold equivalent of PM’s mother’s weight was used for the interior walls of the sanctum sanctorum, Agarwal declined to comment.
Supporting the idea of gold plating, one official said, “If someone gives gold and other valuables, others can’t see it. But since gold was used for plating, pilgrims and all visitors can see it. They will bless the giver.