For the past few months, the political temperature in the country is rising because of upcoming elections. PM has been making several trips to poll-bound UP and inaugurating new developmental projects and particularly grand religious temples.
The BJP Government is developing the religious temples and pilgrimage sites into grand structures. As per culture, these grand cultures are a symbol of divinity. Recently, the inauguration of the Kashi-Vishwanath corridor was one such grand structure that has been dedicated to the country. It happens to be a site at PM Modi’s constituency, Varanasi.
The PM himself performed the rituals and brought the holy water from the nearby Ganga River for the same. Everyone who watched the telecast of the scene has been left with a deep impact of the event. Particularly, the people who have been worshipping at the temple.
It is not just about one religion. Before that, PM inaugurated an international Airport in Kushinagar. It is a religious site for Buddhists because it is believed that Lord Gautam Buddha delivered his last sermon and attained salvation in Kushinagar. The first flight arrived at the airport and brought a Sri Lankan delegation with foreign Diplomats from 11 countries.
The people have a deep connection, belief, and devotion for Pilgrimage and religious sites of worship. This impact in the minds of people is not just limited to the local people, but also to the people who live miles away. An interesting trend is connecting the developmental prospects of the government with building temples.
There can be many inferences from these recent developments:
Firstly, these grand pilgrim sites give life to the nearby area along with it. New hotels and Lodges are built around the site for visiting tourists. There is a development of new local sweets shops, dhabas, flower shops, shops selling items for worship, and much more. These shops contribute a lot to the local and state economy, giving Livelihood to locals. The local authorities work on improving the facilities and developing infrastructure for daily visitors. The BJP is working on linking the culture with development. A new form of religious tourism is finding its way owing to the countless vital religious sites in India. There are centuries-old religious sites with historical significance that attract people around the globe.
Secondly, the religious sites in India have a deep link with the identity of the community. They symbolize diverse communities in India. The grandness of communities gives a sense of pride and happiness to the communities. These sites give a place for the people of communities to gather at the particular religious site and play an active role in developmental works.
Thirdly, it is a way to address the sentiments of a community and satisfy its identity. This can make the people of these communities express their pleasure by politically supporting those political parties in the elections. It is quite possible that the political parties might not aim at this development for political benefits. But, as a by-product, it is associated with the development of pilgrimage sites.
If we talk about Kashi-Vishwanath Corridor, then it will benefit seven million devotees. Tourists regularly visit the temple. On average, over 10,000 devotees, mostly from Varanasi and the adjoining areas, visit it daily. On Mondays, over 40,000 to 50,000 people offer prayers at the temple. The number goes up to 30,00,00 on Mondays during the holy month of Shravan (July-August).
Many people have pointed out that the construction at Kashi, Kushinagar, and other places overlap with the upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Manipur, and other states. So, will the development of the grand pilgrimage and religious sites benefit BJP? How much benefit can it get?
These questions are commonly being asked in the political sector. But, the answers will be available after the results of upcoming polls are announced. For the country, these developments will boost religious tourism, benefiting the economy at various levels.