KATHMANDU, NOV 08 – Kathmandu and Varanasi (Kashi) share many similarities historically, culturally and religiously. Very soon these two ancient cities in Nepal and India will have another link—sister cities.
For Hindus all over the world, Kathmandu is the city of Pashupatinath and a metropolis famous for other big and small temples and cremation sites called ghats. Varanasi boasts of Kashi Bishownath, one the revered temples for Hindu devotees, and is home to numerous temples and ghats.
The two neighbouring countries are set to sign a memorandum of understanding during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Kathmandu for the 18th Saarc Summit to be held on November 26 and 27.
Another religious connection will be established during the visit, when the delegates of the two nations establish sisterly relations between Janakpur and Ayodhya. According to Hindu mythology, Ayodhya prince Ram visited Janakpurdham and married its princess Sita after demonstrating his ability to string the divine bow.
“The rationale behind linking the cities is religious and cultural as both the sides want to promote them,” said Khaganath Adhikari, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Pashupatinath temple is on the banks of the Bagmati river while Varanasi is on the banks of the Ganga. Both the governments have been giving due importance to clean up these holy rivers. The proposed MoUs aim to protect the significance of these cities, preserving their cultural and religious heritage, and to explore direct linkage between the sites.
Apart from this religious venture, according to officials involved in talks with the Indian side, four more agreements will be reached during Modi’s visit.
Besides handing over the trauma centre built in Kathmandu with an Indian aid, preparations are on to form an understanding on bilateral motor vehicle agreement, and finalising the terms and reference for the $1 billion line of credit offered during Modi’s Nepal visit in August. Officials from the two countries are also working to decide projects that Nepal undertakes with the soft loan.
Officials at the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Finance hope the project development agreement between the Investment Board Nepal and Satluj
Jal Vidyut Nigam for developing the 900-megawatt Arun III hydroelectricity project will conclude during Modi’s visit.