Decked up with hundreds of mono and multi-colour lights with a special-effects system synchronised with soothing music, the entire stretch from Rajghat Bridge to Samne Ghat Bridge on the Ganga river is being spruced up to welcome delegates to the upcoming Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) celebrations in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Varanasi Parliamentary constituency.
Beside ghats on the bank of Ganga which are main attractions of the holy city, the TV Tower, Town Hall, Manikarnika Gate, Old Kashinath Temple, BHU Temple, Durga Temple, Railway Station and Sarnath Museum will also be showcased with facade lighting for the three-day PBD event being held here for the first time from January 21.
Adding more colour to the massive lighting-up exercise, over 1,800 heritage street light poles are being installed with about 2,500 lights at 26 stretches of roads in the city to receive international guests.
The Central Public Works Department, the Centre's construction agency under the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, has been roped in to undertake the special-effect lighting job, including facade lighting and street lighting, at an estimated cost of about Rs 50 crore for the global meet.
Lighting up the entire city along with those ghats before the PBD event was a challenging task, said a senior CPWD official involved with the job.
The Varanasi ghats are riverfront steps leading to the banks of the River Ganges and the main attraction spots of the city. Most of the ghats are bathing and puja ghats, while a few are used as cremation sites. Most Varanasi ghats were built after 1700, when the city was part of the Maratha Empire.
Concerted efforts are on to make the evening arati a memorable experience for the PBD delegates at the Ganga ghats.
Though there are total 84 ghats between Assi Ghat and Rajghat, the facade lighting system will cover only 62 ghats as some of the othes are in a highly dilapidated state.
Facade lighting has been installed along most of the seven km stretch between Assi Ghat and Rajghat, including the double-decker Rajghat bridge, said the official.
While the facade lighting will have total 3,000 LED lights, there will be 1,867 heritage street light poles and 2,451 street light fittings operational to dazzle up the holy city.
A tent city comprising 12 massive structures in white has come up in the heart of the township to host the PBD event.
Arrangements have been made for the PBD delegates to travel to Allahabad for participating the Kumbh Mela at Prayag.
Three special trains will be pressed into service to ferry PBD delegates from Allahabad to New Delhi on January 24 evening to enable them witnessing the Republic Day Parade on January 26.
(Arun Kumar Das can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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