Varanasi, the spiritual heart of India, is a city that has captivated the imaginations of pilgrims, tourists, and scholars for centuries. Along the ghats of the Ganges, the city's history, culture, and spiritual essence come alive in myriad ways. One of the most profound symbols of this essence is the temples that dot the cityscape. Here, we dive deep into the tales of five iconic temples of Varanasi, revealing stories that are as timeless as the city itself.
Varanasi's Temples: Tales of Timeless Faith
Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Often regarded as the most revered temple in Varanasi, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple enshrines one of the twelve revered Jyotirlingas. Legend has it that Lord Shiva manifested here as an endless pillar of light. Over the ages, the temple has been a spiritual beacon, drawing millions of devotees seeking blessings and liberation. Apart from its spiritual significance, the temple has faced several invasions and was rebuilt multiple times, standing today as a testament to the resilience and faith of the people of Varanasi.
Adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is the Annapurna Temple, dedicated to Goddess Annapurna, the deity of food and nourishment. Here, she is depicted holding a ladle and a bowl of rice. According to Hindu beliefs, Lord Shiva once proclaimed the world to be an illusion and a place of no real substance. Goddess Annapurna then invited him to her kitchen and offered food, making him realize the importance of material existence and nourishment. The temple embodies the message that spiritual pursuits are essential, but so is recognizing and valuing our basic needs.
Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple
This temple, located near the Assi Ghat, is dedicated to Lord Hanuman, the great devotee of Lord Rama. The Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple is believed to be the place where the sage Tulsidas had a vision of Hanuman. Devotees throng here to seek Lord Hanuman’s blessings, believing that he dispels troubles and grants wishes. A special feature of this temple is the offering of Besan Laddoo, which is a favourite sweet of Lord Hanuman. Many also come here to get relief from the malefic effects of the planet Saturn.
Durga Kund Mandir
Built-in the 18th century, the Durga Kund Mandir, also known as the Monkey Temple due to the numerous monkeys residing there, is a sight to behold with its striking red edifice. Dedicated to Goddess Durga, the temple is associated with the legend that the idol enshrined here emerged on its own from the waters of the Durga Kund (pond). The temple becomes a focal point during the Navratri festival when thousands come to worship and celebrate the power of the Goddess.
New Vishwanath Temple
Located in the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) campus, the New Vishwanath Temple is also known as the Birla Temple, as it was built by the Birla family. Unlike other temples, this temple is open to people from all religions. Made of white marble, it stands as a symbol of peace and unity. The temple's walls are engraved with teachings from the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads, making it not just a place of worship but also of learning.
The temples of Varanasi are not merely structures of stone and art; they are living chronicles that encapsulate the city's spirit, history, and timeless wisdom. As we wander through the narrow lanes and immerse in the spiritual vibes of the temples, we don't just witness faith; we experience stories etched in time, beckoning us to dive deeper into India's sacred heart.
Test your knowledge of India. Visit: https://www.quizzop.com/india-quiz/category