Vrindavan, 2017.10.03 (VT): At a meeting on Thursday, the Mathura-Vrindavan Development Authority (MVDA) discussed the beautification of the neighborhood around Banke Bihari. Other government departments were also involved in the meeting, during which various plans were discussed, such as the beautification and widening of the roads around the temple, as well as better parking areas.
The discussion of improved parking around the temple comes as some surprise to many, since the current parking area is located on the Yamuna floodplain (khadar) and is probably illegal. If the government were to build a fancy parking lot on the Yamuna floodplain, where dozens of homes and ashrams were recently demolished by order of the Allahabad High Court, that could cost the government dearly in public faith.
Similarly, locals are concerned about the road-widening and beautification plans.
“They have been talking about this project for a long time,” said Gaura Nagar resident Jagadbhushan Mishra. “The government has financing from the World Bank, so naturally they want to spend the money. But the people of Vrindavan deserve to see the government’s plans before anything is done.”
Widening the roads around Banke Bihari Temple would entail demolishing smaller temples, shops and homes in the vicinity, many of them centuries old. A wider road would not necessarily mean a less dense crowd. Similarly, adding parking close to the temple would simply bring more traffic into an already tight space.
“Something certainly needs to be done, but I don’t know what that is,” said Haribol Baba of Raman Reti. “On crowded days it is almost impossible to go anywhere near Bihariji. I tried on Gopashtami and gave up before we even got to the narrower portions. But knocking down temples and old houses where people have lived for generations is not the solution we need. Perhaps controlled one-way traffic. In temples like Neelkanth near Rishikesh or Vishwanath in Kashi, people line up for hours to get darshan. This will probably have to be done here too.”
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