An aerial view of Dakshineswar Skywalk ~ Dakshineswar railway station is at the left corner and the Temple at the extreme right corner.
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Kolkata: On the eve of Kali Puja, the world famous Dakshineswar Kali Temple in Kolkata today got a gift in the form of a skywalk that has been built by the state government.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee inaugurated the Rs 60-crore Rani Rashmoni Skywalk that connects Dakshineswar railway station to the main gate of the Temple through an elevated pathway.

The arch-shape skywalk made of glass and steel is 340-metre long and 10.5-metre wide. There are 14 escalators, four lifts, and eight staircases to enable visitors to embark and disembark at several points including the busy Dakshineswar traffic rotary.

Along the centre of the skywalk have been set up 137 permanent stalls where the hawkers from the pathway below will be rehabilitated over the next seven days, the Chief Minister said on inaugurating the skywalk. Devotees will be able to buy items for worship from these stalls while proceeding through the walkway on both sides.

Mamata Banerjee walks through the skywalk after inaugurating it on Tuesday.

Going by a rough estimate, around 1.4-crore people from all over India and abroad visit Dakshineswar Kali Temple every year, and the skywalk will be of convenience to them as they will no longer require to negotiate through the busy traffic.

The skywalk has also added to the charm of the Temple as the surroundings are visible through the transparent glass walls. Speaking on the occasion, Mamata Banerjee hit out at the BJP-RSS for trying to create division in people on religious lines.

“Who are they to lecture us on Hinduism? They did not exist when Hinduism took shape. One cannot become a Hindu just by wearing saffron robes. BJP is pseudo-saffron,” she said.

Banerjee said that plan is afoot to build a similar skywalk at the famous Kalighat Temple.