First of all ” Happy Diwali ” to you and all your family members and May God Showers blessings and utmost happiness in your life.
After long time I am writing about my yatra to Kashi which I did it March 2011 .I had already written 2 posts on Varanasi. One was about Varanasi city and other was about Ganga River and Ghats of Ganga in Varanasi. But after that I was not able to write about this great city due to bad experience I had about this holy city. But this was the best day where I can schedule this post where the readers can have the darshan of great Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga , Maa Annapoorna, Shaktipeeth Visalakshi and Kotwal of Kashi Kaalbhairav. Before I go further I would just say that please be watchful in each and every lane of Varanasi because someone is always watching you. If you are not careful and your attention is distracted then I am sure that you are going to get robbed in those tiny paths and lanes. So always be aware and be careful.
In the lanes of Kashi one can find lot of shops of eateries , pooja materials , religious book shops , idol shops , Benaras Silk Saree shop as seen in the picture.
We stayed three days in Varanasi, in which one day was idle because my wife Sonali was not feeling well. And remaining two days we visited temples and monuments of Kashi , Ganga and Ghats of Ganga. today we will visist the most important temples of Varansi for which we did this yatra. The first one being called King of all Jyotirlings Kashi Vishwanath, Lord of Universe.
As I was staying nearby the Kashi Vishwanath Temple I used to visit all these temples all the three days morning and evening whenever I used to get the time. These great temples have a great historical and religious importance , I am going to describe in detail.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple
At the time of creation when no one was there , only Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu were present. They both started to fight for supremacy. They both used their most powerful weapons against each other after thousands of years fighting. When the two weapons were about to hit each other causing total destruction , an endless pillar of fire rose between the two absorbing their weapons.
Both Brahma and Vishnu wanted to known the end. Brahma assumed the form of Swan and flew up and Vishnu assumed the form of Boar and went down to find their ends and declared that whoever finds the end first would be the winner . Both couldn’t find the ends and came back after 100 years. Vishnu told that he couldn’t find the end whereas Brahma along with false testimony flower Kewada and cow told that he found the end of the pillar.
This angered Lord Shiva and he emerged from the fire and declared that All the three are forms of same Omkaar and Brahma is Creator , Vishnu is Preserver and Shiva as Destroyer. Since Brahma had told lies , Lord Shiva cursed him that no one will worship him and He gave Lord Vishnu the title of Purushottam being the Supreme being . The pillar of fire vanished from then and small portion of it remained at Varanasi as jyotirlinga called Kashi Vishwanath. Lord Shiva being the last to complete the cycle is called Mahadeo or great God and giver of Moksha. Those who have bath in Ganges and worship Kashi Vishwanath , Lord Shiva utters Tarak mantra in his ears at the time of death which gives Salvation.
Kashi Vishwanath is foremost of all jyotirlingas and called king of jyotirlingas. A one time visit to Kashi Vishwanath equals to the visit to the rest of the eleven jyotirlingas. Lord Brahma after his duel with Lord Vishnu mediatated here at Dasaswamedh Ghat worshipped the Jyotirlinga and did Ten Aswamedha yagna on the banks of Ganges to get rid of his sin. Hence this area is very pious.This temple is regarded as the most important temple by most leading Hindu saints including Adi Shankaracharya, Shivananda, Ramkrishna Paramhans , Swami Vivekananda, Dayananda Saraswati, Tulsidas, Guru Nanak who all have visisted this temple.
But nowadays this place is no more than a place for robbers and dacoits delight. People come here for washing their sins and do pious activities and are looted by them.
Construction and Destruction of Kashi Vishwanath temple
As far as proofs are concerned, Kashi Vishwanath temple was built in 490 AD. Then again in 11th century it was built by Hari Chandra . Muhammad Ghori destroyed it in his raid on Indian temples in 1194. Reconstruction started but it was destroyed by Qutbud – din – Aibak. After Aibak’s death Hindu Emperors built that temple again. It was again destroyed by Firuz Shah Tughlaq. It was once again built by the revenue minster of Akbar Todarmal in 1585. Again Aurangazeb ordered its demolition in 1669 and constucted a Gyanvapi Mosque on that site. The original shivalinga was thrown in the well inside the temple by hindus to prevent it from getting in the hands of Muslim rulers. Still now the original lingam resides in the well. The current temple is made by Ahilya bai Holkar the Hindu Maratha queen of Maheshwar in 1770. Many noble families in India make notable contributions to this temple . In 1839, Two domes of the Temple were covered by gold donated by Punjab Kesari Maharaja Ranjeet Singh. Third dome but was remained uncovered, Ministry of cultures & Religious affairs of U.P. Govt. took keen interest for gold plating of third dome of Temple.
Now enjoy the temple and jyotirlinga picture
Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga is placed chanting matras in a silver metal box as shown and everyone is allowed to touch the linga. There is separate queue for abhishek and pooja.
Annapoorna Mata Temple
Annapoorna Mata is the Goddess of nourishment. Anna means food and grains. Purna means full, complete and perfect. She is actually Devi Parvati, the consort of Shiva.
Once Goddess Parvati was told by her Husband Lord Shiva that the world is an illusion and that food is a part of this illusion called maya.The Divine Mother who is worshipped as the manifestation of all material things, including food, became seriously angry. To demonstrate the importance of her manifestation she disappeared from the world.
Her disappearance brought time to a standstill and the earth became barren and dry. There was no food to be found anywhere and all the living beings suffered from the pangs of hunger.
Seeing all the suffering, Mother Parvati was filled with compassion and reappeared in Kashi and set up a Kitchen.
Hearing about her return, Lord Shiva ran to her and presented his bowl in alms saying, now he realised that the material world, like the spirit, cannot be dismissed as an illusion. Devi Parvati smiled and fed Lord Shiva with her own hands.
Since then Parvati is worshipped as Annapurna, the Goddess of Nourishment.
Annapoorna Temple is located just besides Kashi Vishawanath temple. Just after having darshan of Kashi Vishwanath linga one can immediately see Annapoorna Mata temple in front.
The temple of Visalakshi or Divine mother Sati is just behind kashi Vishwanath temple and it is said to be one of the 51 shaktipeeths. It is said that when Lord Vishnu was cutting the body pieces of Sati by Sudarshana Chakra the earing fell here ( Manikarni ) hence some pundit says that its a Upapeetha or a sub centre. Some say that third eye aksha fell here hence she is called Vishalakshi ” Vast eyed “.
Lord Shiva here is called Kaalbhairva.
To go towards Kaalbhairav temple, one has to come out of kashi Vishwanath lane at Chowk Godowlia road and then via cycle rickshaw or auto rickshaw can go towards Kaalbhairava Temple which is One KM away . It is said that unless you visit Kaalbhairav Temple , Kashi Yatra is incomplete.
In Kashi Vishwanath legend, when Lord Shiva gets angry on Lord Brahma , he creates a dangerous form called Kaalbhairava . Bhairava beheaded one of Brahma’s five heads and since then Brahma has only four heads. When depicted as Kala Bhairava, Bhairava is shown carrying the decapitated head of Brahma. Cutting off Brahma’s fifth head made him guilty of the crime of killing, and as a result, he was forced to carry around the head for years and roam as Bhikshatana, a mendicant, until he had been absolved of the sin.His head was released when he reached the city of Kashi . From there on he lived in the city of Kashi and started guarding it. Hence he is called The Kotwal of Kashi. No one can enter Kashi without the permission of Bhairava.
The full temple is painted in orange colour . One has to take black threads and offer them to Kaalbhairav and take them an tie them on the hand for his protection. The whole atmosphere in Kaal Bhairav Temple is mesmerising with immnese power and mantra chanting. When one looks at the idol he is allured by his emmision of powerful rays , such is the beauty of the temple. Its a must visit and not to be missed.
Hotel Information, Varanasi
Before going to other temples and monuments of Kashi I will talk about Hotels to stay near Kashi Vishwanath Temple and the main ghat which is called Dasaswamedh Ghat where much of the things happen so that one may easily go through all the places without much travel. In Internet one can find lot of hotels in Varanasi , but always be sure that how far is the hotel away from Dasaswamedh ghat because this ghat is the centre point of Varanasi. from here you can go Kashi Vishwanath temple and kashi Visalakshi Devi Temple , and other temples like Shitala Mata , Nepali Temple , Kedareshwar Temple. Apart from this you may get a boat ride from here itself to have darshan at all the ghats and Ganga aarti evening. So staying near this ghat is the most feasible option.
Now I have taken a map from Google and marked some important points so that devotees can be benefited. Please go through the map.
1… Ganga River
2… Kashi Vishwanath Temple
3… Kashi Visalakshi Temple
4… Dasaswamedh ghat
5… Gate No.1 Kashi Vishwanath Temple
7… Gate No.2 Kashi Visalakshi Temple
9… Godowlia Chowk
10.. Jaipuria Bhawan
Advice to my readers for Kashi Vishwanath Darshan to take from gate no. 2
I would advice my readers to come at Dasaswamedh ghat , point 4 (map) , have a dip in Ganga or pour some drops of Ganga river on the body and then go for Kashi Vishwanath darshan via gate No. 2 at point 7 ( map) rather than going to gate no.1 at 5 which is more crowded. After coming to Dasaswamedh ghat point 4( map) ,go to gate no. 2 , point 7 ( map) nearby river while crossing the ghats and then take darshan via gate 2.
Hotels near Dasaswamedh Ghat
There are many hotels ranging from Rs. 300 to Rs. 5000 near Dasawamedh Ghat. There are lot of dharamshalas and small hotels also.They don’t have advance booking facilities on phone. If one wants to stay near Dasaswamedh ghat and if he has no prior booking then he need not worry. From railway station he need to pick up auto or cab and reach Godowlia Chowk. Further from here, vehicles are not allowed. From here one can find lot of hotels on both the sides of Dasaswamedh road.
At Godwlia chowk there are two very good hotels where I stayed
Jaipuria Bhawan , point 10 ( map) NR Marwadi Hospital, Godowalia chowk, Godowlia, Varanasi – 221001.
+(91)-(542)-2412674, 2412766, 2412709.They do advance booking on phone itself. Rs. 800 – 1000 / day
Hotel Palace : which is just besides Jaipuria Bhawan near the Godowlia chowk . Rs. 400 – Rs 500/ day.
Hotel Ganpati Guest house with river view : Rs. 700 to Rs. 1000 +91-542-2390057 ,+91-542-2390059,+91-542-2391678.
There are also three star and four star hotels near Ganges River whose information can be easily obtained on internet.
Thanks for reading ,
In the next post I will cover other important temples of Varanasi and Ramgarh Fort. Till Then
Dear Readers if you want to read my other Yatras with more pictures PLEASE CLICK BELOW