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PM Modi to lay the foundation stone for the redevelopment of Manikarnika and Harishchandra Ghats in Varanasi today

With the objective to improve the entire infrastructure and amenities offered to guests, the reconstruction plans include provisions for public restrooms, waiting areas, wood storage, waste disposal, and eco-friendly cremation pyres

The foundation stones for several development projects totalling more than 12,100 crores will be laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh today, 7th July. The development and renovation of Manikarnika and Harishchandra Ghats are two significant initiatives. PM Modi will put the cornerstone stone for the same.

With the objective to improve the entire infrastructure and amenities offered to guests, the reconstruction plans include provisions for public restrooms, waiting areas, wood storage, waste disposal, and eco-friendly cremation pyres. Notably, the prime minister has given the development of ghats considerable attention over the past few years.

Manikarnika Ghat

One of the holiest and oldest cremation sites among the revered riverfronts is Manikarnika Ghat, which is situated on the Ganges in Varanasi. It is flanked by the Dashashwamedh Ghat and the Scindia Ghat and is one of the five major and oldest pilgrimages and ghats of Varanasi.

Manikarnika Ghat (Source: Wikipedia)

Hinduism views death as a portal into a subsequent existence that will be shaped by one’s karma. When a person is cremated here, it is believed that their soul achieves moksha and therefore ends the cycle of rebirth.

This ghat was named Manikarnika because of the Manikarnika Kund situated there and the story associated with it. It is known that in the beginning, this ghat was one of the major Vishnu pilgrimages and Manikarnika Kund situated at the ghat was known as Chakrapushkarni. According to the belief, when Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were observing the pond, the gem of the latter’s earring fell in it, giving it the name Manikarnika.

Harishchandra Ghat

Harishchandra Ghat is one of the two major cremation grounds and among the oldest ghats in Varanasi. It is highly revered by both locals and visitors and just like Manikarnika Ghat, it is believed that being cremated here leads a person to attain salvation.

Harishchandra Ghat (Source: Varanasi Guru)

The ghat derived its name from King Harishchandra of Ayodhya and the symbol of truth, who was sold at this crematorium to protect the truth. He forfeited his whole kingdom along with all of his wealth and possessions and sold his wife and son into slavery and offered himself up for bondage at the instance of Rishi Vishwamitra.

He never met his son and wife throughout his life until she, broken down with years of toil, hardship and suffering, visited the cremation ground with their son’s dead body in her arms who died from a snake bite. She did not even have enough money to cover his body. This was the final test of the monarch, and he passed it with exemplary strength, honesty and courage. God finally rewarded him for his truthfulness and returned him his throne, kingdom and son.

Other important projects

The prime minister will dedicate the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Junction to the Son Nagar railway line of the Dedicated Freight Corridor in addition to rehabilitating the ghats. He will inaugurate multiple other projects, including the Central Institute of Petrochemicals Engineering & Technology (CIPET)-Vocational Training Centre at the village of Karsara.

He will dedicate three railway lines which include the Ghazipur city – Aunrihar rail line, Aunrihar – Jaunpur rail line and Bhatni – Aunrihar rail line to the nation. This will commemorate the full electrification of all railway lines in Uttar Pradesh.

He will officially inaugurate the four-lane expansion of the Varanasi-Jaunpur section of National Highway-56, which would facilitate and speed up travel from Varanasi to Lucknow 

He is scheduled to initiate 192 rural drinking water schemes under the Jal Jeevan Mission, distribute loans of Prime Minister Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) and keys of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) Rural houses as well as Ayushman Bharat cards to beneficiaries in Uttar Pradesh among other programmes.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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