Varanasi, Sep 18 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that the Centre was making serious efforts to develop Varanasi, his parliamentary constituency, as the "gateway to East India".
Addressing a large gathering at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) amphitheatre, the Prime Minister detailed the many projects being launched and inaugurated in the city and nearby villages so that the face of Varanasi could change.
He said in the bid to make Kashi a smart city, care was being taken not to disturb the ancient flavour of the temple city and conserve its rich history and culture.
The Prime Minister who celebrated his 68th birthday on Monday with school children and party workers in the city, also said he was "doubly" delighted each time he saw the people of Varanasi posting pictures of the city on social media.
"The changed face of the city can be seen by people right from the time they step down from the trains that bring them here," the Prime Minister said alluding to the pictures of the railway stations here posted on the social media.
He also exhorted the people to roll out a never-before hospitality to the hundreds who would coming here for the 'Uttar Pradesh NRI (Non-Resident Indian) Diwas' in January 2019.
Modi also launched and inaugurated projects worth Rs 557 crore.
He was earlier welcomed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and state BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey and gifted a 'Panchmukhi Hanuman' (five-faced Hindu monkey god) made of wood, a major handicraft product of the region.
Modi started his address in Bhojpuri, much to the delight of the hundreds of youngsters present at the rally.
The Prime Minister was on a two-day visit to his parliamentary constituency. On his birthday he visited the Kashi Vishwanath temple to propitiate Lord Shiva and seek his blessings.
Modi is slated to leave for New Delhi in the afternoon.