Varanasi's famous Kashi Vishwanath temple will be given a major facelift and the salaries of the priests will be increased, the Uttar Pradesh government announced Tuesday.
After a meeting of the temple trust, Religious Endowments Minister Anand Singh said that other than making provisions for booking online 'darshan' of the deity, fibre glass roofs will also be installed at places where devotees stand in long queues to have darshan of Lord Shiva.
The management also approved a 35 percent hike in the salary of all priests (archak) employed by the shrine board. A new 'prasad' system will also be implemented soon, officials informed.
For the long term development and beautification of the temple premises, a masterplan was being made and it would be approved soon, the minister said.
To complete the pending projects in and around the temple, a budget of Rs.904.5 lakh has also been approved by the trust. The government has also okayed the purchase of three buildings - Panch Pandav Bhawan, Mirzapur Bhawan and Srivastava Bhawan, which fall in the vicinity of the temple. After renovation they would be used by the temple staff.
Soon after the salary hike of the temple priests was announced, they broke into celebrations at the temple premises in Varanasi and thanked the "people responsible for the hike".
Priest, Pandit Srikant Mishra told IANS that he was overjoyed at the news and wished them well. Another priest, Neeraj Pandey said that with the salary hike, much of their problems would be sorted out.