Whenever an Aurangzeb has arisen in India, a Shivaji has also emerged as the soil of this country is different from the rest of the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday after he inaugurated the first phase of the Kashi Vishwanath Dham here.
Addressing the gathering, Modi lauded the civilizational heritage of Varanasi, and said many sultanates rose and collapsed but Benaras remained.
"Invaders attacked this city, tried to destroy it. History is witness to Aurangzeb's atrocities, his terror. He tried to change civilisation by the sword. He tried to crush culture with fanaticism. But the soil of this country is different from the rest of the world. Here if an (Mughal Emperor) Aurangzeb comes, a (Maratha warrior) Shivaji also rises," Modi said.
"If a Salar Masud marches ahead, warriors like Raja Suhaldev make him realise the power of our unity," he said.
Modi said the whole new complex of the Kashi Vishwanath Dham is not just a grand building, but a symbol of the "Sanatan culture" of India, our spiritual soul and India's antiquity and traditions.
The temple area here, which was only 3000 square feet, has now spread to about five lakh square feet, Modi said.
Now 50,000-75,000 devotees can come to the temple premises, he said.
He said "new history" was being created and "we are fortunate to have witnessed it".
Modi also spoke in local dialect during his speech.
After arriving in the holy city, also his parliamentary constituency, Modi paid obeisance at the Kaal Bhairav Temple and then took dip in Ganga from where he collected holy water for worship at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
People chanted hymns as the prime minister's carcade rolled through the city. Modi also stopped at some places to accept felicitation.
Before the inauguration, Modi attended a prayer ceremony and later showered workers involved in building the project with flower petals in a gesture to acknowledge their work. He also sat with them for a group photograph.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, BJP President J P Nadda and a large number of saints from across the country attended the ceremony.