Narendra Modi's visit to Japan is turning out to be fruitful, and his visit to Kyoto's Toji temple with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has resulted in an agreement to develop Varanasi as per the Kyoto model. Modi is on a five day visit to Japan that will conclude on August 4.

The Toji temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Kyoto itself is frequently hailed as an epitome of blended heritage and modernity. The 1200-year-old temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

Modi is said to have been very impressed with what he saw in Kyoto, and the result is the Kashi-Kyoto protocol that will employ Japanese expertise to realign Varanasi towards a new future. "Kyoto has been able to preserve its thousand year legacy and cultural heritage while also staying abreast of all technological advances that is necessary in today's life. We are planning to do something similar in India as well, where we can achieve a similar union between preservation of culture and technological progress," said Modi.

Varanasi is currently as well know for its temple and culture as it is for its garbage and filth. A tough task faces Modi in cleaning up the city, his PM constituency. A film city, top-class transport systems, a botanical garden and several establishments for weavers are part of the plan. The plan will also beautify the Ganga's banks and turn the surroundings of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple into a more tourist-friendly place.

Kashi, Banaras, or Varanasi is probably the oldest city in the world. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Kashi or the "City of Light" was already a thriving religious and commercial center long before Rome was even born. The city lies on the banks of the Ganga between the rivulets Varana in the north and Asi in the south.