Kashi Vishwanath Temple is the most famous temple of Varanasi and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is also one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India.
The original temple was destroyed by Qutb-ud-din Aibak but was rebuilt by Ahilya Devi Holkar in the 18th century.
The most important day to visit the temple is Makar Sankranti when devotees take a dip in Ganga and pray to the Sun God. It is a wonderful experience.
1. Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Located on the bank of Ganga in Varanasi, this majestic temple is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas and a popular place of pilgrimage in India. Known for its immense sanctity, this temple is the ultimate goal of every pious Hindu. They believe that if they die in Kashi, they will achieve liberation from the cycle of birth and death.
According to the Skanda Purana, once Lord Vishnu and Brahma had a quarrel regarding the supremacy of creation. In order to test their patience, Shiva perforated the three words in the form of an endless pillar of light called a Jyotirlinga.
The linga of the presiding deity at this temple is self-manifested and hence is called Swayambhu. It is also believed that a once-in-a-lifetime visit to this sacred shrine is equivalent to visiting all 12 Jyotirlingas together. The temple is visited by thousands of devotees every day and is considered to be the center of all religious activities in the city.
2. Durga Temple
The shrine of Goddess Durga is another renowned temple in Varanasi. She is known as the Goddess of Food and Nourishment hence devotees from across the country visit her to get rid of hunger issues. The idol of Goddess Durga is made up of gold. Interestingly, this place of worship also has a well which people believe cures diseases.
The temple exhibits a combination of Dravidian and Nagara style of architecture. The oblong and apsidal plan is characteristic of this architecture type. It also features a multi-tiered spire which was built by a Bengali queen in the 18th century.
The front pillars of the mantapa have four moldings with diaper, lotus petal and bead patterns. They also feature octagonal shafts that are circular in cross-section and have a kumbha capital. Devotees should also pause and look at the intricate carvings of Hindu Gods and Goddesses on the devakoshtas or niches located in the walls of the corridor. They will surely be mesmerized by the beauty of the temple.
3. Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple
Located near Durga temple is the famous Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple. The word “Sankat” stands for deliverer of sorrows, and it is believed that worshipping Lord Hanuman at this holy place helps in overcoming the malefic effects of Saturn (Shani). The renowned Vedic Astrologers suggest people with ill-placed Saturn in their horoscope to offer pooja to this divine monkey god to get rid of the problems.
The temple features an idol of Hanuman, who is adorned with a marigold flower garland. Moreover, the statue has a unique feature of having him facing his Lord Rama who he always worshipped and loved in a selfless manner.
Every year in April, this temple organizes a classical music and dance festival, known as the ‘Sankat Mochan Sangeet Samaroh’. Various acclaimed musicians and artists from all across the country take part in this event. It is a great cultural extravaganza that was first introduced about 88 years ago. The temple is also open to public on Tuesday and Saturdays.
4. Tulsidas Temple
Tulsidas Temple, or Tulsi Manas Mandir as it is also known, is a beautiful marble edifice that houses a pond and garden area. It is believed that this is the place where Tulsidas wrote the Ramcharitmanas, the devotional epic of the Hindu god Ram.
Tulsidas was born in 1554 in Rajapur village, Chitrakoot district of Uttar Pradesh. His father Atmaram Dubey was a well-known Saryuparin Brahmin. The nakshatra under which Tulsidas was born was considered to be inauspicious, and so his parents were worried about his future.
However, Tulsidas was an exceptional soul and was deeply in love with Rama. One day as he was reciting Ramcharitmanas, an old leper approached him. The old man told Tulsidas that he had a desire to see Ram and asked him to help fulfill his wish. Tulsidas agreed to do so. This is how the Sankatmochan Hanuman Temple came into existence. The temple’s ghats feature statues of various subjects from the Hindu epic Ramanaya with a center statue of Ram and Sita. Each bank of the pond features different statues like those of Shri Kakbhushundi, Yagywalkaji Maharaj, Ashutosh Shankar, and Goswami Tulsidas.