Varanasi ban on liquor, non-veg near shrines

Varanasi: A complete ban has been imposed on sale and consumption of liquor and non-vegetarian food within a 250 metre radius of all temples and heritage sites in Varanasi.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had, earlier in April, announced a ban on liquor shops and sale of non-vegetarian food at all places of worships, including Varanasi, Vrindavan, Ayodhya, Chitrakoot, Deoband, Dewa Sharif and Misrikh-Naimisharanya. He had

also directed officers of the Excise Department to prohibit the sale of liquor within a kilometre of Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi, Krishna Janambhoomi in Mathura and the Sangam area in Allahabad.

The Varanasi Municipal Corporation (VMC), two days ago, passed a proposal for a complete ban on alcohol and non-vegetarian food in a 250-metre periphery near temples and heritage sites in this ancient pilgrim town, a top official said.

In support of his proposal, the mayor said that alcohol and non-vegetarian food should be banned near temples and heritage sites on the lines of similar rules in force in Haridwar and Ayodhya. The committee passed the proposal after a discussion. It will now be sent to the state government for final approval.

The Kashi Vishwanath temple, in 2017, had started the facility of online booking of 'aarti' and purchase of tickets for 'darshan'. Those who are unable to visit the temple personally can see the 'aarti' online and get the 'prasad' by post.

Varanasi is Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Lok Sabha constituency. It is also regarded as the country's spiritual capital with some 2,000 temples, including Kashi Vishwanath, and is a top destination for performing funeral rites. The holy city also draws Hindu pilgrims for bathing in the sacred waters of the Ganga.

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