A fillip to turn Kashi into Kyoto

A fillip to turn Kashi into Kyoto

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe’s visit to Varanasi is likely to give the much needed boost to the efforts to develop “Kashi-Kyoto” partnership.

Modi and Abe, who met eminent personalities from the town at a “friendship dinner” here after attending the “Ganga Arati”, took the suggestions of the people on this regard.

The people here also want Modi to announce a bullet train project for Varanasi as they felt that it would put Kashi on the world map and also bring in investment that would provide employment to the locals.

Varanasi is not only a popular destination for the Japanese tourists but a large number of them have made Varanasi their home and have entered into wedlock with the locals.

“There is a lot of similarity between Kashi and Kyoto... both are considered to be temple towns,” said a Japanese tourist, who was taking a walk on the famous Assi Ghat on the bank of the Ganga here.

Like Sarnath, few kilometres from Varanasi, where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon, Kyoto, too, is an important centre of Buddhism.  “Developing Kashi on the lines of Kyoto will certainly prove to be a boon for the temple town,” said Ashok Anand, a tourist guide. Some residents, however, remain skeptical.

“There is a need to change the people’s mindset if we want to develop Kashi....the authorities here did a lot for the visit of Modi and Abe...but they focused only on the route to be taken by them and left out other areas,” said Sumeru Yadav, an autorick shaw driver.

Sumeru’s observations seem to be true if one visit the ghats on the Ganga. Barring Dashashwamedh Ghat and a few others, where the effect of the cleanliness drive was clearly visible, the other ghats were still in a poor condition with dirt everywhere.

“Let us see if the authorities display the same efficiency later also...the roads which have been repaired and given a new look will acquire their old shape if not properly maintained,” quipped Radheylal Sharma, a resident.

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