Featured Archives - Varanasi Guru https://www.varanasiguru.com/category/featured/ Unlock The Secrets of Kashi With Varanasi Guru! Sat, 22 Oct 2022 07:25:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.1.1 https://www.varanasiguru.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/cropped-favicon-32x32.png Featured Archives - Varanasi Guru https://www.varanasiguru.com/category/featured/ 32 32 Nakkataiya Mela – A Nail in Coffin of British Raj https://www.varanasiguru.com/nakkataiya-mela/ https://www.varanasiguru.com/nakkataiya-mela/#respond Sun, 02 Oct 2022 13:01:42 +0000 https://www.varanasiguru.com/?p=7962

Introduction to Nakkataiya Mela Nakkataiya/Nakataiya/Nakataia or Nak Kataiya is an annual procession that takes place in different areas of Varanasi every year. The term Nakatiya means nasal amputation and is specifically related to an incident from the Indian epic Ramayan. The Mela usually takes place around midnight between 12 AM to 3 AM after the […]

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Introduction to Nakkataiya Mela

Nakkataiya/Nakataiya/Nakataia or Nak Kataiya is an annual procession that takes place in different areas of Varanasi every year. The term Nakatiya means nasal amputation and is specifically related to an incident from the Indian epic Ramayan. The Mela usually takes place around midnight between 12 AM to 3 AM after the play of Ramleela where the Nakatiya scene is imitated.

Nakkataiya of Choti Piyari 2022

History & Legend related to Nakkataiya Mela

Nakkataiya Mela was initially started by Baba Fatehram in the Chetganj area of Varanasi in 1887. Nakkatiya Depicts the scene from the Ramayan where Meenakshi AKA Shurpanakha the sister of Ravan stumbles upon Lord Ram in the forest of Panchvati. She ends up being mesmerized by his charm of Ram & expresses her desire to coitus with him but Ram being loyal to Sita politely denied her proposal. Shurpanakha kept insisting and to get rid of her Ram asked her to pursue Laxman.

A portrait of mother India from Nakkataiya of Choti Piyari 2022

When Shurpanakha tried to pursue Laxman, he also denied her and tried to get away from her. This dual rejection made her angry and she tried to attack Sita to take out her frustration. Enraged Laxman stopped her in between and cut off her nose & ears out of anger. This event is one of the most important parts of Ramayan as it sets the plot for the further story where Sita is abducted by Ravan and Ravan is killed by Ram.

Nakkataiya of Choti Piyari 2022

In 1887 when Fatehram started this Mela he had a very different purpose behind it. In the late 19th century, India was still under British rule & the urge to get freedom was growing among the citizens but it was very hard to unite everyone as protests were not allowed. Baba Fatehram got a unique idea to execute the impossible. He got permission for a religious procession and organized it with the help of wealthy merchants.

In the procession, tableaus full of metaphors and sarcasm were presented to hint at the atrocity of the Britishers and aware the locals to stand up for their rights and freedom. The Nakkataiya Mela was also attended by Britishers but they couldn’t do anything as it was related to religion. Since then the Mela is organized every year.

Nakkataiya of Choti Piyari 2022

Later on the Nakkataiya Mela was regularly attended by freedom fighters. Late Chandra Shekhar Azad used to organize the annual meet-up of freedom fighters around the time of Nakkataiya which was attended by rebels like Bhagat Singh, Manmath Nath Gupta, and Sachindra Nath Sanyal to name a few. These rebels also enjoyed the sarcastic tableaus.

Nakatiya Mela

Fast forward to today you can expect tableaus on different social issues and reforms. The Nakkataiya of Chetganj has been attended by more than a lakh of people(speculated) every year and is famously called one of the Lakka Melas that one can attend in Varanasi. You can also witness the tableaus depicting the different scenes from the epic Ramayan.

A scene from Ramnagar Ramleela

Location of Nakkataiya Mela

The Nakkataiya Mela is a procession of tableaus that circles the city. The most famous one starts from the Chetganj area and the other few are organized from Choti Pyari, Jaitpura, Aurangabad, Shivpur, Kashipura, Ardali Bazar, etc.

Date of Nakkataiya Mela

Nakkataiya Mela of Chetganj takes place on the occasion of Karva Chauth while the Nakkatiya of all areas falls on different days as per the Ramleela schedule of the respective area. This year Nakkataiya Mela of Chetganj will take place on the night of 13 October 2022.

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Pishach Mochan – Tirth of Forbidden Ones https://www.varanasiguru.com/pishach-mochan/ https://www.varanasiguru.com/pishach-mochan/#respond Sun, 25 Sep 2022 09:02:54 +0000 https://www.varanasiguru.com/?p=7928

A serene surrounding of a water body with an aged old temple dedicated to the Lord Kapardishwara Mahadev, Gates decorated with skulls and various small temples dedicated to Brahm- the lord of another world welcomes you into a time of prayers for your forefathers waiting for their liberation from a forbidden state so that they […]

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A serene surrounding of a water body with an aged old temple dedicated to the Lord Kapardishwara Mahadev, Gates decorated with skulls and various small temples dedicated to Brahm- the lord of another world welcomes you into a time of prayers for your forefathers waiting for their liberation from a forbidden state so that they can attain moksha by entering into core of Kashi – The Siddhi Kshetra of Lord Vishwanath.

LEGEND OF PISHACH MOCHAN

As per Kashi Khanda – The Pishach Kund is originally known as “Vimal Tirth / Vimlodak Tirtha.” A Shiv Gana named Kapardi created a water body- “Vimal Tirth” and worshipped Shiva at this place hence Kapardiswara Mahadev came into existence. Over the period of time, the place became famous as a place for penance. Once a Pashupata sage- was meditating at the bank of Vimal Tirth, suddenly a Pishach who was a brahmin but due to his Karma of past birth got the Pishach(Ghost) Yoni. Initially, he tried to frighten sage Valmiki but after much effort, he bowed down to Sage and asked him for liberation. Sage Valmiki asked him to bathe in the pond and worship Lord Kapardishwara. Hence Pishach got liberation from Pishach Yoni and tirtha became Pishach Mochan. Since then Pishach Mochan tirtha became a famous place for Pind Daan and Tripindi Sraadh apart from Gaya, Bihar.

Pishach Mochan Kund

[Valmiki (Pashupata- Were a cult of Shiva Worshipper in Kashi, dedicated to Aghor form of Shiva and were centered around present Omkareshwar Tirth, do not confuse Valmiki with Sage Valmiki, who wrote Ramayana)]

Pind Daan and Shraddh Karm

As per Hindu beliefs after the death of a person, his/her souls reside in the Pitriloka – the realm between heaven and earth, governed by Yama “The Lord of Death”. The three generations of ancestors remain in the Pitriloka and visit the earth during Pitri Paksha (The Lunar month of Bhadrapada) so that they can get water, offering from their lineage. If they get it, they get liberation but if they don’t get the offering, they get the punishment of rebirth. When a person of the next generation dies, the first generation shifts to heaven and attains moksha/rebirth depending upon Karma and above said reason. That is why Sahraddh rituals are done for only three generations of ancestors. The troubled souls of ancestors have an effect on their loved ones on earth if they are not happy in Pirtaloka hence the rituals of Pind Daan and Shraddh Karam become important. 

Tripindi Shradh

A series of rituals to get away from the Pitra Dosha, involves the worship of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva represented by clay water pot- Kalsaha of white, Yellow, and Black clothes respectively so that they can give liberation to ancestors. 

Entrance Gate of Pishach Mochan kund

In the month of Pitripaksha, Pishach Kund turns into a prime place for these rituals, and folks from around the world visit this place so that their loved ones can get liberation. The entire area around Kund witnesses a huge gathering of people in white clothes and shaved heads performing puja, under the guidance of Brahmins. It is said that after Gaya, Pishach Mochan is the only place where one can perform such puja that opens a door of moksha for forefathers. Even Garun Purana mentions the glory of Tirtha.

Temple Premises

The place gives a very strange vibe owing to the legend associated with it. The very place has a Pipal tree, which has uncountable nails nailed to it, some with coins, and photographs of multiple people who probably died an untimely death. As per a famous tale, It is said that it’s the final solution for a troubling soul, maybe it’s a superstition or a reality, depending on one’s belief.

The main temple complex is situated at the bank of a Kund, you can get a darshan of Kaprdishwar Mahadev along with Kapardi Vinayak (Temple also comes under Panch karoshi Yatra). Just adjacent to the temple a small complex idol of Brahm is worshipped along with lord Hanuman and Vishnu. There is the temple of Pisacheswara Mahadev and Sage Valmiki on Valmiki Tila nearby. The area around Kund has several small temples headed by Panda/ Brahmin with their own presiding deities. There is an Akhada nearby, it’s a peaceful complex with small temples and places dedicated to Ramleela of Chitrakoot Ramleela, which was started by Megha Bhagat “Disciple of Goswami Tulsidas”.

Akhara & Temple complex next to the kund

[Varanasi Guru doesn’t endorse any superstitious customs or beliefs, all the things said above are for sake of only information and love for this unique and unmatchable City, while visiting this place be aware of frauds and even if you want to perform rituals, seek help from locals or genuine priests.] 

How To Reach

Pishach Mochan is near Lahurabir and easily approachable via Road.

Nearby Places 

Pitra Kund 

Pitreshwara Mahadev

Matri Kund

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10 Songs to Vibe on your next trip to Varanasi https://www.varanasiguru.com/10-songs-to-vibe-on-your-next-trip-to-varanasi/ https://www.varanasiguru.com/10-songs-to-vibe-on-your-next-trip-to-varanasi/#respond Sat, 24 Sep 2022 05:02:02 +0000 https://www.varanasiguru.com/?p=7734

Here is a list of 10 songs you can play on loop while exploring Banaras. Banarasiya by Sooraj Santosh Tu Ban Ja Gali Banaras Ki by Asit Tripathy Banarasiya by Shreya Ghoshal Raanjhanaa by Jaswinder singh & Shriraz Uppal Har Har Gange by Arijit Singh Tum Tak by Javed Ali Mann Kasturi Re by Amit […]

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Here is a list of 10 songs you can play on loop while exploring Banaras.

Banarasiya by Sooraj Santosh

Tu Ban Ja Gali Banaras Ki by Asit Tripathy

Banarasiya by Shreya Ghoshal

Raanjhanaa by Jaswinder singh & Shriraz Uppal

Har Har Gange by Arijit Singh

Tum Tak by Javed Ali

Mann Kasturi Re by Amit Kilam, Rahul Ram & Himanshu Joshi

Adiyogi by Kailash Kher

Yun Hi Chala Chal Rahi

Des Mera by Indian Ocean

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Ramnagar Ramleela – UNESCO Cultural Heritage https://www.varanasiguru.com/ramnagar-ramleela/ https://www.varanasiguru.com/ramnagar-ramleela/#respond Mon, 19 Sep 2022 16:24:49 +0000 https://www.varanasiguru.com/?p=7716

Started more than 200 years ago by the king of Varanasi, Ramanagar Ramleela is touted to be much older than that. It is believed that the student of Tulsi Das, Megha bhagat was the first person to start Ramcharitmanas-based Ramleela in the 17th century. Then Kashi Naresh Balwant Naryan Singh Started the Ramleela within the […]

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Started more than 200 years ago by the king of Varanasi, Ramanagar Ramleela is touted to be much older than that. It is believed that the student of Tulsi Das, Megha bhagat was the first person to start Ramcharitmanas-based Ramleela in the 17th century. Then Kashi Naresh Balwant Naryan Singh Started the Ramleela within the fort premises with unmatchable grandeur and details. Further King Ishwari Prashad Narayan Singh (1857- 1889) took Ramleela out of the fort among the common people of Kashi & Ramnagar.

The 5 Km square area of Ramnagar has designated Ayodhya, Janakpuri, Lanka, Ashok Vatika, and Cheer Sagar (Pond of Durga temple). The Ramleela has affectionate patronage of Kashi Naresh even today so much so that Casting of every cast is being done by him. The King Regularly attends each n every Leela and traditions are so much embedded that he skips the Ravana Wadh as a king fan not to see another Kings death

A practice still intact by the modern world and its inventions, the Ramleela of Ramnagar is celebrated for full 31 days(longer than any other place in the world) in Varanasi.

ramnagar ramleela oldest ramlila in the worldAll the participants start their training 3 months prior to the actual event and throughout this time they are only addressed by the name of their character even if in private they live a life just like the character they are playing in the event.

The event takes place in different parts of the city without any speakers, mics, or modern lights. The organizers are seen moving with lamps and torches and the characters are transported from one location to another in a human chariot that devotees pull. There is a very peculiarity of Niyamis (the one who regularly attends the Leela). Niyamis carries a source of light, a sitting arrangement, and a Ram Charit Manas. They keep reading the Manas along with the Leela. Niyamis carries Itra with them and greed other fellows with the itra.

The event is also attended by the descendants of Kashi Naresh who arrive on elephants with their staff.

Ramnagar Ramleela is so untouched by the modern world that it was classified as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008 by UNESCO. If you are in Varanasi between 9 September to 9 October 2022, do not forget to witness the grandeur of this beautiful tradition.

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The Lost Glory of Krittivaseshwar Temple https://www.varanasiguru.com/krittivaseshwar-temple/ https://www.varanasiguru.com/krittivaseshwar-temple/#respond Mon, 25 Jul 2022 15:44:08 +0000 https://www.varanasiguru.com/?p=7690

Krittivaseshwar Temple is one of the 14 most important Shiva temples located in Varanasi. It was a prominent place of worship as per the Kashi Khand of Skand Puran but gradually it lost its charm and today only a few devotees from locality & south India visit this place. Just like every temple of Varanasi, […]

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Krittivaseshwar Temple is one of the 14 most important Shiva temples located in Varanasi. It was a prominent place of worship as per the Kashi Khand of Skand Puran but gradually it lost its charm and today only a few devotees from locality & south India visit this place. Just like every temple of Varanasi, Krittivaseshwar has also got an interesting story which makes it different from all the places.

In the vast blue sky of Anand Kanan, two crows were fighting & fell into a pond, after some time they emerged as a swan, and the pond became famous as Hansa Tirtha (Har Tirath now).

But how The Hans Tirth came into reality?

Mythological legend

Once upon a time, Lord Shiva was explaining the importance of Ratneshwara to Uma, suddenly he heard the voices for help. Shiva saw a huge daitya – Gajasura, the son of Mahisasura. Who was destroying everything that came his way. His footsteps were trembling earth putting every creature in panic. Shiva threw his trident on him and hanged Gajasura on it. After seeing Lord Shiva, Gajasura got humbled & provided a large shelter to the shiva from his body, and requested Shiva to adorn his skin as cloth so that he (Gajasura) can get liberated. Pleased Shiva accepted his request and promised him that he along with Gajasura will be famous and will be worshipped as Kriti Vasheswara Mahadev – one of the five sacred most (Panch Linga) of Shiva temple – Vishweshawara/ Avimukteshwara, Omkareshwara, Madhyameshwra, Kapardeeshwara.

The crater created while lifting Gajasura in the air became Hanstirath.

Tale of Hans Tirath & Krittivaseshwar illustrated by Nishant Mishra

Importance of Kritivashwar Shiva Linga

Kritivasheswara Mahadev has been described as the most sacred of Shiv Temple as per Kashi Khand of Skanda Puran & Linga Puran mentions it as Fore Head of Shiva.

Krittivaseshwar Shivling

The temple was situated in its grandeur, north of Kal Bhairav & south of Kaleshwara (Maha-Mritunjaya, Virdh Kaleshwara) in the vicinity of Madhyameshwar (Dara Nagar at the present time). Temple was one of the grand & magnificent apart from Vishweswara Temple (Kashi-Vishwanath) and Bindu Madhav Temple.

History

In the year 1659, Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb sacked the temple and erected a mosque at the site. Till 200 years after the incident, there is no mention of another temple of Kritivasheswara. 

In the courtyard of the mosque, a fountain was made, which was worshipped as Kritivasheswar Mahadev by local devotees on specific occasions.

Later King of Patnimal established another small temple adjacent to the original site as Kriti Vasheswara Mahadev although it didn’t register much to the Devotees’ minds.

At Present

Hans Tirth – commonly known as Har Tirath among locals is still fighting for its survival and revival, much of the pond has been captured and destroyed due to encroachment.

A devotee pointing towards the location of present day Hans-Terath

The Kritivasheswar Temple

The temple made by the King of Patnimal is well preserved and maintained, and gives a complete devotional ambiance.

Priest of Krittivaseshwar temple

The site of the mosque was destroyed in heavy rain in recent years and local devotees replaced the damaged structure with the new shiv linga.

site of the fountain

Festivals at the temple

Maha Shivratri, the Month of Savan are the most celebrated events, on these occasions special Srinagar & puja of Mahadev are organized.

How to Reach

Devotees can easily reach the temple by walking toward Maha Mritunjaya temple from Maidagin/ Vishweswar Ganj. Temple is located at house number  K-46/23, west of the Har Tirath Pond.

Near By Temple

Mrityunjaya Mahadev temple

Madhyamedshwar Mahadev Temple

Kaal Bhairav 

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Kedar Ghat- The Mandala of Kashi https://www.varanasiguru.com/kedar-ghat/ https://www.varanasiguru.com/kedar-ghat/#respond Sun, 10 Jul 2022 07:30:48 +0000 https://www.varanasiguru.com/?p=7341

Kedar Ghat, home to the Gauri Kedareshwar temple, is one of the five sacred ghats in Varanasi. Dashashwamedh, Panchganga, Manikarnika and Adi Keshav being the other four major ghats.  Just as Kashi is believed to be the mandala of India’s devotion, Kedara is believed to be the mandala of Kashi-  Kedar Khand. As Kashi is […]

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Kedar Ghat, home to the Gauri Kedareshwar temple, is one of the five sacred ghats in Varanasi. Dashashwamedh, Panchganga, Manikarnika and Adi Keshav being the other four major ghats. 

Just as Kashi is believed to be the mandala of India’s devotion, Kedara is believed to be the mandala of Kashi-  Kedar Khand.

Kedar Ghat, Varanasi

As Kashi is divided into three major Devotion circles – Kedar Khand, Kashi Khand, and Omkareshwar Khand. Each Khand has its own primal deity- Kedareshwar, Vishweshwar and Omkareshwar respectively. 

The Kedar Ghat houses the Gauri Kedareshwar Temple & Gauri Kund.

Kedar Ghat at dev diwali

Kedar ghat is believed to be Adi Manikarnika and Gauri Kund as Adi Manikarnika – the proximity to the Harishchndra Ghat (second major cremation ghat of Varanasi, somehow authenticates this)

The ghat is a major attraction among south Indian devotees as it is associated with Kumaraswamy Mutt. You may notice many South Indians taking a dip in the holy Ganges near this ghat. It is neighboured by Vijiyanagaram Ghat, built together in the 18th Century by King Vijayanagar. It was rebuilt in the mid-20th century by the Uttar Pradesh Government. The Maharaja of Vijayanagar is said to have developed it and in 1958, the state government made it a pucca ghat.

The Kedara is assumed to be older than the Kashi Vishwanath because of its mention in the early Puranas and it is widely believed that the temple survived the devastation in the late 17th century by Aurangzeb, inferring that the present Kedareshwar temple is older than the present temple of Vishwanath.

 

Gauri Kedareshwar Temple

This ghat has one of the very old temples, Gauri Kedareshwar Temple, from where it gets the name, Kedar Ghat. Gauri Kedareshwar Temple is dedicated to lord Eshwar and goddess Parvati. The main temple has a Shivling and Nandi. Kedareshvara is also one of the 12 Jyotirlingas. The temple is famous for being the replica of the lingam at Kedarnath Himalayan temple. The Shivalinga in the inner sanctum of the temple is not an ordinary one, with a lumpish outcropping of rock with a white line through it. Traditionally believed to be a ‘self manifest’ linga, giving the same virtue as the other Kedarnath temple in Uttarakhand.

One can even witness the mark of Aurangzeb’s Sword when he tried to demolish this temple but failed to do so. The temple’s interior and ghat give a glimpse of the Southern part of India. The façade of the ghat faces a Kund, Shree Gauri Kund which is mostly dry and fills up only in the monsoon season. The sacred water of the Gauri Kund is believed to have healing properties.

A woman worshipping at the Gouri Kund at Kedar Ghat

With the calm environment of the Kedareshwar temple and the awe-inspiring scenery of the Ganga, the sacred Kedar Ghat is a place one should not miss visiting.

How to reach Kedar Ghat?

Kedar ghat is situated between Vijayanagaram and Chauki ghat which can be reached through the lanes of Bengali Tola or via boat. This place is 5.5 km from Varanasi Cant. Junction.

Nearby Places

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Annapurna Temple – Legend of the Food Goddess https://www.varanasiguru.com/annapurna-temple/ https://www.varanasiguru.com/annapurna-temple/#respond Sun, 05 Jun 2022 04:30:00 +0000 https://www.varanasiguru.com/?p=7506

Located in Visheshwarganj adjacent to Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Annapurna temple is dedicated to Goddess Annapurna. With a golden ladle in one hand and a jewelled bowl of rice in another, Annapurna is regarded as the Goddess of food and nourishment. Annapurna (Anna means food and Purna means complete or full) never lets her devotees stay […]

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Located in Visheshwarganj adjacent to Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Annapurna temple is dedicated to Goddess Annapurna. With a golden ladle in one hand and a jewelled bowl of rice in another, Annapurna is regarded as the Goddess of food and nourishment. Annapurna (Anna means food and Purna means complete or full) never lets her devotees stay without food. She is an aspect of Goddess Parvati, wife of Lord Shiv who has a significant role in the legend of this temple. She is also revered as the Goddess of Kashi who always protects the city.

Shiv and Annapurna

Annapurne Sada Purney Shankar Praana vallabhe Gyan Vairgya Siddhyatham Bhiksham Dehi Cha Parvati


This is how Shiv praised Parvati and asked her for food, knowledge, sanyasa & divine knowledge to become a complete one.

A pure Philosophical narration of Shaktya way (Goddess Worshiping) of Sanatan Dharm where Shiv is Shava (lifeless) & his union with shakti makes him The Shiv (Shankar).

The mythological landscape of Kashi went through a lot of changes 11th century onwards with the series of attacks, plunders & destruction of sacred temples. On the one hand, these attacks lead to damage to old temples but somehow these attacks resulted in the dislocation of sacred idols & emergence of new temples.

The Kashi Annapurna temple is one of them, there is no mention of Annapurna in the Puranas, although there are mentions of Bhavani Gauri as a consort of Visheswar & hence the chief goddess of Kashi.

But over the generation, the importance of Bhavani Gauri declined and the Goddess Annapurna took her place.

The temple gathers a huge crowd on the occasion of Annakoot, which is celebrated the day after Diwali every year. The golden icon of the Goddess can be only seen once a year on this day. Annakoot coins are distributed to all the devotees as a blessing of Goddess Annapurna.

Kashi Annapurna Temple

The Golden idol of Annapurna

Located adjacent to Kashi Vishwanath Temple, the Goddess is present with a golden ladle in one hand and a jeweled bowl of rice in another, Annapurna is regarded as the Goddess of food and nourishment. Annapurna (Anna means food and Purna means complete or full) never let her devotees stay without food. Even lord Vishwanath is depicted as a seeker in front of her, holding a trident in one hand and a bowl in another hand.

Annapurna Devi Mandir was constructed in 1729 A.D by Maratha Peshwa Baji Rao in Nagara architecture and the large-pillared sanctum houses the idol of Goddess Annapurna. The temple has two idols of the Goddess, one of brass which is available for daily Darshana, and the other one of gold which can be seen only once a year.

The temple was built in a panchayatan way with sanctums of Ganesha, Kubera, Surya, Yantreshwar Mahadev, SatyaNarayan, and Hanuman.

The temple gathers a huge crowd on the occasion of Annakoot, which is celebrated a day after Diwali every year and during Navratra in October & April. 

The temple houses a Golden image of Goddess Annapurna along with Bhu Devi & Sri Devi, located on the first floor of the temple complex. The darshan of this image is only available during the Deepawali festival (from Dhanteras to Annakoot) every year.

During the festival coins & Dhan are distributed to all the devotees as a blessing of Goddess Annapurna.

Bhavani Gauri: Presently situated in the Ram Mandir Complex (Adjacent to Kashi Annapurna Temple), a white marble idol on the wall, with Bhavaniswara on the raised platform. There is mention of Bhavani Tirtha – right in front of her.

 

(Bhavani tirtha is covered with marble floor & fighting for its existence)

Kashi Annapurna Annakhetra Trust

Temple trust runs a free kitchen for the devotees round the year so that no one stays hungry. Along with this, there is a range of social services – old age homes, medical clinics, woman empowerment workshops, free schools & orphanages are being run by the temple trust.

Legend of Goddess Annapurna

According to Hinduism, Shiv and Parvati are like the yin and yang of the Universe. Parvati being the Goddess of all the worldly things or moh-Maya while her consort, Shiv being the founder of yoga and spirituality. Once, Shiv and Parvati were having a conversation in which Shiv said that everything we possess was an illusion or Maya. Even the ‘food’ that we eat was just a part of Maya or materialistic pleasures. This enraged Goddess Parvati as calling food an illusion was like calling her an illusion. She decided to take away all kinds of things from the world in order to make Shiv and the world realize its importance. She wanted to see how will the world survive without food and by merely practicing yoga and meditation. Consequently, the earth became barren and people suffered famine. Everyone, including the Gods, humans and demons kept begging for food.

Shiv and annapurna devi as depicted in painting

The motherly love of Goddess Parvati couldn’t see her children die. So, she re-emerged as Maa Annapurna and started distributing food in Kashi. Even Shiv came to Kashi for sustenance and confessed his mistake. This made him realize that he is incomplete without Shakti and both Shiv and Shakti are equally vital for the world to exist. Since then Annapurna is worshipped as the Goddess of food and nourishment.

Where is Annapurna Temple Situated?

House No. D 9/1, Vishwanath Gali, 15 meters North-West of the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir. It is 5 km away from Varanasi Cantt railway station.

Nearby Temple – Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Ram Mandir, Yaksha Vinayak, Dhoondi Raj Vinayak, Saakshi Vinayak, Vishalakshi Devi, Kalika Dei Temple.

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Mukti Bhawan- Death Hotel of Varanasi https://www.varanasiguru.com/mukti-bhawan-death-hotel-of-varanasi/ https://www.varanasiguru.com/mukti-bhawan-death-hotel-of-varanasi/#respond Sat, 09 Apr 2022 16:20:09 +0000 https://www.varanasiguru.com/?p=7486

Kashi Labh Mukti Bhawan, commonly known as Moksha Bhawan, is somewhat like a guest house for the seekers of salvation. People come to spend the last days of their lives in the holy city of Kashi in order to attain salvation. According to Hindu scriptures, it is believed that a soul has to undergo 8.4 […]

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Kashi Labh Mukti Bhawan, commonly known as Moksha Bhawan, is somewhat like a guest house for the seekers of salvation. People come to spend the last days of their lives in the holy city of Kashi in order to attain salvation. According to Hindu scriptures, it is believed that a soul has to undergo 8.4 million rebirths to finally acquire the human form, which is the only hope to attain Moksha(salvation). It is said that if one dies and gets cremated in Varanasi, he/she is refrained from the mundane cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth impelled by the law of karma. Attaining Mukti or liberation from this world and all its ailing is hence considered to be the ultimate goal of a Hindu.

Moksha Bhawan was established by the Dalmia family in 1958 in the most spiritual and sacred city in the world. Over 14,000 people here have attained death by salvation till date. This place has only 10 rooms and it mostly shelters elderly people, for not more than 15 days, who wish to die here. If the days exceed, the helpers request them to leave or come back later depending on the health monitoring results. Within a period of 15 days, if their health is improving, they’ll have to check out. Only one seeker can stay here for salvation but as many family members can stay with them. People irrespective of their religion can stay and may/may not pay a fee of INR 20 for electricity charges depending on their financial capability. Some die within a few hours while some take a fortnight. One may or may not believe in the idea of moksha, but those who do, assume that their purpose of life is served.

Watch Resolve All Conflicts | Episode 02 | Twice as Wise | Season 01 on Mukti Bhawan by Fuel project
Watch this video on Mukti Bhavan by 101 India

There are a few other death hotels in the city as well like Mumukshu Bhawan, with a similar intent where death is a celebration.

Mukti Bhawan, Varanasi

Where is Moksha Bhawan located?

Moksha Bhawan is located on Geeta Mandir Road, near Girja Ghar Road, Misir Pokhra. This place is 3.6 km from Varanasi Cantt. Junction.

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Man Singh Observatory – Virtual Experiential Museum https://www.varanasiguru.com/man-singh-observatory/ https://www.varanasiguru.com/man-singh-observatory/#respond Sun, 03 Apr 2022 09:35:59 +0000 https://www.varanasiguru.com/?p=7491

Man Singh Observatory is a masonry observatory situated in the Man Mandir Ghat(or Someshwar Ghat). It is one of the five existing observatories in India. Also, one of the last constructions of the ‘Astronomical Stone Age’. It was originally constructed by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh(Man Singh), the King of Jaipur in 1710. While the Mahal […]

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Man Singh Observatory is a masonry observatory situated in the Man Mandir Ghat(or Someshwar Ghat). It is one of the five existing observatories in India. Also, one of the last constructions of the ‘Astronomical Stone Age’. It was originally constructed by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh(Man Singh), the King of Jaipur in 1710. While the Mahal was built in the 16th Century, it was restored in 1911.

The infrastructure is a mixture of Rajput(Rajasthani) and Mughal architectural styles. The eastern façade of the building faces the river Ganga. Previously working as an information center, this edifice has been digitalized and it now functions as a specialized museum by the government in 2019. It consists of audiovisuals, interactive art, music, 3D show, light show, etc. The construction of a virtual museum is complete by now. This place comes under Indian Archaeological Department. With an entry fee of just 25 INR, it gives you a virtual tour of Varanasi, its lifestyle, culture, and architecture.

The Brilliance of Ancient Indian Astronomers

The brilliance and accuracy of the ancient Indian astronomers is perfectly reflected in this observatory. The observatory is situated on the rooftop of the 300-year old Man Mahal(Palace) or Man Singh Vedshala. Some of the spectacular instruments of this place are:

  • Samrat Yantra– For finding time and declination and hour angle of the heavenly bodies.
  • Narivalaya Dakshinay Yantra– The use of this instrument is to know whether the heavenly bodies are in the northern or southern hemisphere; also gives time.
  • Chakra Yantra– For measuring the declination of the sun, moon, and stars and their distance in time(hour angle) from the meridian.
  • Digamsa Yantra– The azimuth of the heavenly bodies is known by this instrument.
  • Dakshinobhitti Yantra– The altitude of the heavenly bodies when on the meridian is known by this instrument.

How to reach Man Singh Observatory?

The observatory is 4.2 km from Varanasi Junction Railway Station. You can either walk from Godowlia Chauraha towards Man Singh Ghat or directly walk up the stairs of Man Singh Ghat after crossing Dashashwamedh Ghat(if you’re approaching through ghats).

Nearby places

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Masaan ki Holi – Playing Holi With Pyre Ashes https://www.varanasiguru.com/masaan-ki-holi/ https://www.varanasiguru.com/masaan-ki-holi/#respond Sat, 12 Mar 2022 12:20:00 +0000 https://www.varanasiguru.com/?p=2201

Holi, the festival of colours and love, is one of the widely celebrated festivals in India. A day we celebrate with our friends and families by applying colours on each other and eating luscious sweets. It marks the beginning of spring each year. In most parts of India, it celebrates the eternal love of Radha […]

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Holi, the festival of colours and love, is one of the widely celebrated festivals in India. A day we celebrate with our friends and families by applying colours on each other and eating luscious sweets. It marks the beginning of spring each year. In most parts of India, it celebrates the eternal love of Radha and Krishna. Though here in Varanasi, even holi is associated with its favourite dweller, Lord Shiv. We observe three varieties of Holi in Varanasi: the regular Holi, Rangbhari Ekadashi, and Masaan ki Holi. While the first one is nothing different from what is celebrated nationwide, the latter two are Kashi’s very own versions.

Masaan Holi (Picture by Priyanshu Singh)

Rangbhari Ekadashi is celebrated five days before Holi to commemorate the reunion of Shiv and Parvati where Gods and his devotees join in the procession. A day after Rangbhari Ekadashi, Shiva visits masaan to celebrate the same holi with his Ganas(attendants), Ghosts, and spirits that live at the cremation ground which we call as Masaan ki Holi. The juxtaposition of these two events symbolizes how contradictory life can be. One reflects the engagement of Shiv with the world (Shakti) & its Moh Maya. While the other is completely dedicated to the Shiv who is a destroyer & ruler of shamshan, sanyas & renunciation from the world.  

Masaan Holi (Picture by Priyanshu Singh)

As per the traditions, locals, Naga Sadhus and Aghoris flock to Manikarnika ghat to play Holi with ashes of burning pyres. The festival starts with a grand aarti at the Masaan temple located near Manikarnika ghat. Devotees smear the Shivling with ashes surrounded by the roaring sound of damru. The energy gets so high that you can feel it pulsating in your nerves as soon as the event starts.

Masaan Holi (Picture by Priyanshu Singh)

Banaras, also known as the city of Moksha, make people embrace death as a blessing. Here the fire burns perennially on the ghats of river Ganga. Manikarnika Ghat, the main cremation ground at Banaras, witnesses this unique tradition amidst the gloom of cremation. The sight of Shiv with his bhoot ganas (ghostly hosts) dancing and celebrating with the ashes can be disconcerting. But the Lord of the cremation ground, wrapped in tiger skin, adorned with mundmala (the garland of skulls) playing with the last colour of life (i.e., the colour of ash), high on bhang (cannabis) is unaware of his surroundings and enjoys to the fullest.

Masaan Holi (Picture by Priyanshu Singh)

When will Masaan ki Holi be celebrated this year?

Masan ki Holi will be celebrated on the 15th of March this year (2022). Starting from Mahashamsan nath temple situated in Manikarnika ghat at 10 a.m.

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