Varanasi: The Shri Kashi Vishwanath Dham in Varanasi has emerged as a prominent pilgrimage destination in India, attracting a record-breaking 12.92 crore devotees in the span of two years. As the expanded Kashi Vishwanath Dham corridor approaches its two-year anniversary on December 13, the significant increase in Mahadev's devotees has been noted since its inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the same date in 2021. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the temple trust, Sunil Kumar Verma, revealed that the number is anticipated to surpass the 13 crore milestone by the end of December.
During special occasions and festivals, especially during the auspicious month of Shrawan, the temple witnesses a massive influx of devotees. According to official data, during the extended 59-day Sawan month this year, more than 1.6 crore devotees visited the temple. In July, over 72 lakh devotees were recorded, with the number increasing to 95.6 lakh in August. From January 2023 to December 6 of the same year, the total number of devotees visiting the temple reached 5.3 crore.
Over the past two years, the Kashi Vishwanath Trust has enhanced facilities for tourists and devotees, making their visits more convenient. The temple premises were expanded from 3000 square feet to about 5 lakh square feet in 2021, accommodating 50,000 to 75,000 devotees. CEO Sunil Kumar Verma highlighted the efficient management in the temple, providing amenities such as German hangers for sun protection, mats, coolers, pure drinking water, free wheelchairs for disabled individuals during Shrawan, and medical treatment facilities. In a related development, it is anticipated that around 10 crore devotees will visit Ayodhya's Ram Mandir in 2024 following the consecration ceremony led by PM Narendra Modi on January 22, 2024.