Continuing my Benares tales..
BANARAS # 2
On a fine Sunny day (Summer was just starting at the time I visited benares) about 3 o clock in the noon we set out to the market area again, To visit the famous Kashi Vishwanath temple..
Ohh you should google and read about the origin of the temple in detail, soo many fascinating stories surrounding it…
I will share a few as told to me and what I have read..
This famous Vishwanath Temple has been destroyed and re-constructed a number of times in history.
The famous Kashi Vishwanath temple..
The old temple was demolished during the Mughal invasion by Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal emperor, who constructed the Gyanvapi Mosque on its site..
The present structure was built on an adjacent site by the Maratha ruler, Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore in 1780.
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is also popularly known as the ′Golden Temple′ due the gold plating done on its 15.5-meter high domes apparently donated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh..
The gold plated domes of the temple..
The Jyotirlinga present in the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India..
However, the original Jyotirlinga of Kashi Vishwanath, as was told to me, lies buried in a well situated inside the campus of the temple called Jnana Vapi or Wisdom well..
The story is that during the Mughal invasion the main priest of the temple jumped into the well along with the original jyotirlinga to protect it from the invaders..so I guess it lies there buried inside the well even today..
The temple is situated in the market area where in from the main market you enter a lane called Vishwanath galli and keep walking and walking..
Entrance to Vishwanath Galli
You have shops on either side selling stuff ranging from puja articles , curios to bangles article sarees..
Photography is strictly prohibited inside the temple..So we had to leave our cellphones, cameras and footwear at shops which have lockers..
After collecting our Puja thali..( Plate with puja items like flowers, sweetmeats, a glass of milk) we set out for our darshan..
Boy, you have heavy duty security checks there…
We waded through to have a darshan of the Annapurna devi (Goddess of food), the original statue made of gold ( or so i was told) is actually not on display and taken out only on a festive day when they feed 100s of people..
Inside the courtyard is the temple of Vishwanatha( Lord Shiva) surrounded by many subsidiary shrines.
With a quick darshan of all the other gods we made our way to the main temple..
The Vishwanatha temple consists of a mandapa and a sanctum.
Inside the sanctum a Lingam is set into the center of the floor in a square silver altar..The Lingam is of black stone..
Pic from google images as photography inside the temple is prohibited..
Though the interior of the temple is not large and elaborate, it presents a peaceful atmosphere ideal for worship
It being a Thursday and an off season we were lucky as it wasn’t much crowded..
Oh this was my second visit to this shrine and yet I was feeling nostalgic..A feeling which can’t be explained..
We had to form a queue and wait for our turn..
When my turn came, I poured the glass of milk on the Shiv ling and offered flowers, the garland went right around the idol, I was all ecstatic..
We had to keep moving a tad bit too soon..
I again joined the queue and this time I got a huge garland taken from around the idol and some flowers in return..
I just could not have enough of gazing at the Shiv ling, So I again went around and got my chance to pray..
I stood far away and kept gazing and thinking..All these years so many poets, sages, sanyasis, great personalities and soooo many people came here just to have a darshan of this Shiv ling and here I was standing at the same spot staring away as the same famous Shiv ling..I was going all wheeeee at the thought…
Photo of a painting of Varanasi taken at Taj Ganges
So after having an heartfull and eyefull darshan , I walked away happy and satisfied with the holy Prasadam in my hand..ahhh happy happy as can be..
Soo many stories and mythology surrounding this place..
People especially from South India do make it a point to travel so far just to have a darshan of Lord Shiva and m here today at the same place..Really the feeling was great..
Hindus consider that they attain Moksha( Liberation) by visiting this holy place followed by a bath in the river Ganges..
Hence every Hindu atleast once during their lifetime makes it a point to visit this place…
Many legends also state that a true devotee achieves freedom from death and worldly ties by the worship of Lord Shiva..
Shiva’s devotees on death being directly taken to his abode on Mount Kailasa by his messengers and not by Yama (The Lord of Death)
It is also said that Lord Shiva himself blows the mantra of salvation into the ears of people who die naturally at benares, hence you find many people in their last days wanting to come to Kashi and attain Moksha here..
So much for the legends and stories of Kashi..giving me goose flesh even as I type away..
More in the next post until then have a great weekend all…🤗🤗🤗