Ujjain: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to inaugurate the first phase of the Rs 856-crore Mahakaleshwar Temple corridor development project here on Tuesday that is expected to significantly boost tourism in this holy city of Madhya Pradesh.
A large-size ‘shivaling’ covered in strands of ‘moli’ (sacred) threads has been placed below the grand gateway — Nandi Dwar — of the ‘Mahakal Lok’, sources on Monday said, adding that according to plan, the PM is to officially unveil the ‘shivaling’ to symbolically mark the opening of the mega corridor.
The new corridor measures over 900 metres in length, is dotted with 108 ornate sandstone columns in a row bearing decorative ‘trishul’ design on top and ‘mudras’ of Lord Shiva on its faces.
It also has gushing fountains surrounded by artistic sculptures of the deity as well as 53 illuminated murals depicting stories from Shiv Puran.
Madhya Pradesh cabinet minister Bhupendra Singh had earlier said PM Modi will land in Ujjain around 5:30 PM on October 11.
Modi’s chopper will land at a helipad here located in the Police Line campus. The span of the designated helipad has been widened to facilitate landing on the mega event day.
“Mega arrangements have been made for the opening of the ‘Mahakal Lok’ that will be dedicated to the people by the PM. After reaching Ujjain, he will drive to the temple complex in his motorcade, and perform a ‘puja’ at the Mahakaleshwar Temple.
“After that, he will go to the ‘Nandi Dwar’ and inaugurate the corridor,” said a senior official of the Ujjain Smart City Ltd, which has executed the project.
As he will travel through the corridor, a large number of artistes will perform along the route. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Sunday evening took stock of the preparations and oversaw dress rehearsal of various cultural performance that will be held in the corridor premises — from Nandi Dwar to the temple — to welcome Modi.
Later, at a grand event the same day at Kartik Mela ground, well-known singer Kailash Kher will perform a special anthem — ‘Jai Shri Mahakal’, a ‘Shiva Stuti’ dedicated to Lord Shiva, the residing deity of the ancient temple.
The Mahakaleshwar Temple is one of the 12 ‘jyotirlings’ in the country and gets devotees throughout the year. The mega corridor in Ujjain is located around 200 km from the state capital Bhopal.
Ahead of Modi’s visit, Ujjain has been decked up with colourful flags on a large number of lamp posts, while many streets and flyovers have been decorated with lights, including on the Hari Phatak flyover that overlooks the new corridor which has turned into a selfie point of sorts for local residents.
From October 7, several cultural events have been hosted in the run-up to the inauguration, including a laser show, Ramlila at Ram Ghat, and daily ‘mahaarti’ on the banks of Kshipra river.
Ujjain Smart City had dubbed the project with a tagline — “Adbhut. Anupam. Allokik”. Twitter feeds of various government departments and other agencies are filled with images of the Mahakaleshwar Temple and cultural events being held prior to the opening.
Singh had described PM Modi as an “ardent ‘bhakt’ of Mahakal Maharaj”, and said he is expected to spend about 2-2.5 hours in Ujjain before returning.
Acccording to the tentative travel plan of the prime minister, Modi is to undertake the journey to Indore airport by air, and then fly in a chopper to Ujjain in the evening, officials had earlier said.
The Mahakaleshwar Temple is considered one of holiest places on earth by the Hindus, and lakhs of people converge here from all parts of the country during the Shravan month of Hindu calendar or Mahashivratri.
Chief Executive Officer of Ujjain Smart City, Ashish Kumar Pathak told PTI that after the opening, the excitement of people will only multiply and lead to a “huge jump” in tourist footfall.
The mega project after completion will expand the temple complex area from 2.87 ha earlier to 47 ha, and the holding capacity will be significantly enhanced, officials said.
‘Mahakal Lok’ development also includes a mid-way zone, a park, a multi-storied parking lot for cars and buses, florist and other shops, solar lighting, a facility centre for pilgrims, water pipeline and sewer line, among others.
A light and sound system has also been developed, and work on phase two of the project is currently underway, under which Rudrasagar Lake has been rejuvenated.