Varanasi – The city of temples
The oldest city in the history of human civilization that is still inhabited, Varanasi, also known as Benaras or Kashi, is also one of the most sacred places for the Hindus, Buddhists, and the Jains. It is a popular belief among Hindus that if one dies in Varanasi, he goes straight to the Heaven and attains instant salvation. Kashi is also known as the favourite place of stay of Lord Shiva.
For the Buddhists also, Varanasi is very significant as Lord Buddha spent quite some time of his life here.
The famous temples of Varanasi
Varanasi is the seat of numerous famous Hindu temples. These temples are associated with a lot of historical, religious and mythological background. The temples have been built by kings of many dynasties from all over India and Nepal over the great extent of the city’s existence. There are a number of Varanasi 5 star hotel near the temples, which you can use to stay and make a conducted tour of all the famous temples.
The temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, Bharat Mata, Hanumanji, and Goddess Durga. Each has its own history and should be explored in its total fold to understand the real depth of the Hindu mythology
Kashi Vishwanath Temple of Varanasi
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is one of the most holy shrines for the Hindus. The temple finds mention in the Hindu texts of the Puranas. The Vishwanath Temple is perhaps the most worshipped Shiva temple in India. It has been destroyed and rebuilt quite a number of times over the past 800 years. The temple opens for visitors and pilgrims at 3.00 A.M. with the Mangala Aarti and closes at 11.00 P.M. The temple is within the city limits and is 6 km from Varanasi Railway Station.
The Jyotirlinga present here is considered in Hindu mythology as the 12th of all Shiva lingams in India. If you are planning to stay in a resort in Varanasi, the tour guides there will give you an idea of how to offer pujas in the temple.
Other Temples in Varanasi
Apart from the most visited Lord Shiva temple, there are some other equally spectacular temples that are also a must see for you.
• Annapurna Devi Mandir, located near Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Here Goddess Parvarti is also known as Kashipuraadeeshwari or the Queen of Kashi
• Vishalakshi Temple, dedicated to Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva
• KaalBhairav Mandir is an ancient temple of Lord Shiva. He is believed to be the “Kotwal of Varanasi”
• Mrityunjay Mahadev Mandir, also of Lord Shiva, is also within the city precinct.
• New Vishwanath Mandir or the Birla Mandir, is a part of the Benaras Hindu University campus.
• Shri Tilbhandeshwar Mahadev Mandir is one of the oldest in the city
• Nepali Mandir, built by the King of Nepal, as a replica of the Pashupatinath Temple of Kathmandu
Being the house of numerous such temples, it is not easy to list all here. You will get a complete guideline in the hotels, which you may follow to plan your visit of the temples of Varanasi.
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