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  • June 21, 2019
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10 temples to visit in Varanasi if you’ve got the quest for moksh

10 temples to visit in Varanasi if you’ve got the quest for moksh

1. KAAL BHAIRAV MANDIR

 

One of the oldest Shiva temples in Varanasi, the Kaal Bhairav Mandir is dedicated to a fierce form of Lord Shiva wearing garland of skulls and carries a club of peacock feathers. ‘Kaal’ means both ‘fate’ and ‘death’. Legends say that even death is afraid of ‘Kaal Bhairav’. An interesting fact about the temple is that in the inner sanctum of the temple is a silver face of Kaal Bhairav seated on his vehicle, a dog and is holding a trident, a three-pronged spear and rest of the icon is covered with a piece of cloth. On the back door of the temple there is another icon of Bhairav, Kshetrapal Bhairav. Another aspect that attracts the devotees is that Kaal Bhairav is known as the Chief police officer of Creation. Even God(s) have to take permission from Kaal Bhairav to exist. It is also believed that without Kaal Bhairav’s permission, no one can touch the Sati Pind. Because Kaal Bhairav is often referred to as the ‘Kotwal’ of Creation, we start our list with the KAAL BHAIRAV TEMPLE.

2. KASHI VISHWANATH TEMPLE

Holding the 12th Jyotirlinga, one of the most sacred aspect of Lord Shiva, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most famous Hindu temples. Originally, it was named as Vishveshvara in which Vishwa means ‘Universe’, Ish being the ‘Lord’ and Vara meant ‘Excellent’ or Lord of the Universe. Jyotirlinga is the supreme partless reality out of which Shiva partly appears. The temples that contain the Jyotirlinga are places where Shiva appeared as a fiery colun of light. Each Jyotirlinga is considered as a different manifestation of Shiva. It is believed that visiting this temple is one of the many tasks towards salvation. It is also believed that people who worship Lord Shiva,after death are taken to Shiva and are free from the burden of death and re-birth. According to the ‘Shiva Purana’ in the Hindu Mythology, when a person dies naturally in the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Shiva himself blows the mantra of salvation into his ears. With the tremendous amount of faith attached to this temple, Kashi Vishwanath Temple undoubtly has to be placed at second position.

3. NEPALI MANDIR

Shri Samrajeswar Pashupatinath Mahadev Mandir, the oldest and most famous in the holy city of Varanasi . It is also known by other names like the Nepali Mandir, the Kanthwala Mandir and the Mini Khajuraho. Replica of the famous Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, it was built by the King of Nepal, Rana Bahadur Shah while he was serving his exile in Varanasi and titled himself as ‘Swami Nirgunananda’ in the 19th century A.D . Kanthwala in means wooden. The construction material used in the temple mostly consists of terracotta, wood and stone. Because the sculptors contained in the temple resemble that of Khajuraho Group of Monuments, it is often referred to as ‘Mini Khajuraho’. The temple, adjacent area, Lalita Ghat and a dharamshala, belongs to the Nepali Government because Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah Deva, son of the king completed the project 20 years after the deadline. And then the land was later transferred to Rana Bahadur Shah by Kashi Naresh in the year 1843. Because of the Nepali style of architecture of the temple and the interesting History attached to it, Nepali Mandir had to hold the third position at our list.

Photo Credits- Krishna Chaitanya Chandolu

4. ANNAPURNA DEVI TEMPLE

Annapurna is the Hindu Goddess for nourishment and is a form of Goddess Parvati. The temple was built in Nagara style architecture by the Maratha Peshawa Bajirao I in the 18th century A.D. It houses two icons of Goddess Annapurna, one of gold and the other of brass. This temple could be recognized by other names like Annapurna Maata Mandir or Annapurna Devi Temple. According to a legend, Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva got angry on Lord Shiva’s comment that everything in the world including food is ‘Maya’ an illusion. Parvati being the Goddess of food didn’t like this statement and disappeared food from earth. Shiva finally came to Parvati as the world was suffering from hunger and acknowledged the importance of food by begging for food at her door. Parvati became happy, offered food by her own hands to Shiva and then made a kitchen in Varanasi for her devotees. For the relevance of food and Shiva’s humbleness of accepting His mistake in front of Goddess Parvati this temple teaches us places this temple on number 4 of our list.

5. BHARAT MATA MANDIR

Making you feel like a true patriot, this temple could provide you with the virtue of loving your country and thereby finding ‘moksh’ maybe. The Bharat Mata Temple is the only temple in Varanasi that contains no idols but an undivided map of India depicting India’s unity in diversity. Constructed in 1936 by freedom fighter Babu Shiv Prasad Gupta, The Bharat Mata Temple was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi. The temple contains the map of India engraved on a marble. Interesting fact about the map is that that all the oceans, mountains and plains are up to scale. Babu Shiv Prasad Gupta had the vision of an undivided India and therefore he worked really hard to make this temple possible. He wanted to make a place of worship where the country could be worshipped because Indians often consider their country as a Goddess and that’s where the temple gets its name from, ‘Bharat Mata’ meaning Mother Goddess of India. With the different kind of spiritual approach this temple has appeals us to place at number 5 of our list.

Photo Credits- Hariom Pal

6. MRITYUNJAY MAHADEV TEMPLE

Mritunjay Mahadev Temple is amongst the oldest temple in Varanasi wherein Lord Shiva is worshipped as ‘Mrityunjay Mahadev’ by devotees who perform the ‘Mrityunjay Path’. A number of people believe the temple has powers to protect its worshippers from unnatural death and cures illness. Another legend attached to this temple is that Dhanvantari, Avatar of Vishnu and the god of Ayurvedic medicine, poured all his medicines in the well, giving it the healing power. It is a popular belief that while performing the Mrityunjay Path when the devotees pour water onto themselves from the well, all their illness is cured and they’re saved from the risk of unnatural death. The interesting facts attached to the temple makes us put it at number 6 of our list.

Photo Credits- Divya Singh Rajput

7. PARSHAVANATH JAIN TEMPLE

It is believed that Parshavanath, the 23rd of the 24th Thirthankaras and was born in Bhelpur, a town situated at a distance of only 5 km from Varanasi. A beautiful temple to honour Parshavanath is built here. The idol built is 75 cm high and black in colour. An interesting fact about the temple is that it belongs to both the sects of Jainism (Shwetambaram and Digambaram) and is a very important pilgrimage centre for Jains. It has idol of Tirthankara Parshvanath and many of his representations in form of serpent as serpent is the Symbol of Parshvanath. With many legendary stories on its walls and premises the temple stands tall in buildings of Varanasi. Because of the religious importance of the temple in Jainism and the different kind of spiritual path it offers to attain salvation pleases us to put it at number 7 of our list.

Photo Credits- Arpit Shah

8. DURGA MANDIR VARANASI

Durga Mandir is also known as Durga Kund Mandir and plays a very important role in the Hindu religion. Constructed in the 18th century by the Queen of Bengal, a state in India. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga,the warrior Goddess. It is believed that the idol was not constructed by man but appeared by its own in the temple. According to a legend, Kashi Naresh, the king of Varanasi had organized a Swayamvar (a practice wherein princes of all provinces are invited and the prince who is able to proof his worth is considered eligible to marry the princess) for his daughter Sashikala but the king later found out that she was in love with a prince named Sudarshan. Kashi Naresh quietly married his daughter to the prince and when the other kings came to know about it they declared a war against Kashi Naresh and then Sudarshan,prayed to Goddess Durga to help them, Durga then appreared with Her lion and helped Kashi Naresh to fight the war and since then because of the request of Kashi Naresh,Goddess Durga has been protecting Varanasi. The teaching that the temple offers that God always helps those who do the right thing makes us put the temple at number 8 of our list.

Photo Credits- Deepak Patel

9. SANKATA DEVI MANDIR

Sankata Devi Mandir is yet again the most famous temple in the holy city of Varanasi. Built by the king of Baroda in the late 18th century, the temple is dedicated to Sankata Devi,the Goddess of Danger. It is said that Goddess Sankata was originally a Matrika (a group of mother goddesses who are always depicted together in Hinduism) and believed that Sanakata Devi has ten hands and the power to protect far away husbands. It is also believed that Pandavas (the five acknowledged sons of Pandu, by his two wives Kunti and Madri in the Mahabharata, a Hindu epic text) during their exile paid homage to Sankata Devi. The nineth day of Navratri (the nine holy nights in Hinduism) is dedicated to Goddess Sankata wherein the devotees offer prayers to the Goddess to save themselves from danger and relieve themselves from the existing dangers. Because of the importance, the temple holds in Hindu mythology persists us to mark the temple on number 9 of our list.

Photo Credits- Shivam Dave

10. TIBETAN TEMPLE

Last but not the least constructed in 1955, the Tibetan Buddhist monastery is located in Sarnath, a place 10 km away from Varanasi. The Tibetan Temple is maintained by the Lhadhan Chotrul Monlam Chenmo Trust. This temple was built to denote tribute to all those who died in Tibet’s freedom struggle and those who continue to suffer oppression in Tibet. Within the temple is a large image of colossal Sakyamuni, another form of Buddha. The visitors can pay some amount in the monastery and stay there. Because of the peaceful and traditional Tibetian culture the temple depicts,allows us to place it number 10 of our list.

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