WEAVER'S WORLD / BENARAS / PLACES TO VISIT - 3
This is a quiet and serene Buddhist monastery in Saranath, about 15 kms away from the noisy and busy Varanasi town. The architecture of this temple is grand, and the paintings simply amazing. Saranath is the place where Buddha is believed to have made his first speech to his disciples after attaining enlightenment. The serenity and ambience of this place makes you forget the outside world for some time. The statue of Lord Buddha in meditating pose will surely make you feel blessed.
One must visit this site when in Sarnath. One can meditate in the sanctum sanctorum, pray, light a lamp, take a peaceful stroll and and feel immensely blessed and refreshed. This is an authentic monastery made on a very large scale.
It is a very old and holy temple of lord Shiva. This temple is one of the twelve jyotirlingas around the country, and an important one for salvation of the soul. The tower above the sanctum of the Lord is clad with gold plates, hence the name golden temple. The linga is at a submerged level projecting just about 9 inches above ground. The queue system is fairly orderly. Adjacent to this we have the shrine of Ma Annapoorni, presenting a charming idol of the Devi Parvathi. Still further down there is another identical Linga of Vishwanath Baba, where devotees offer prayers peacefully. Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple.
This Nepalese Temple is an example of Nepalese architecture and quite different from the other Hindu and Muslim places of worship in Varanasi. It is of a deep red colour. There is a small terrace in the front where you can sit and enjoy the view of the Ganges and the temple itself. Visitors are asked to pay a small fee.
Nepali Mandir is also known as Kanthwala Mandir is one of the oldest and most famous temples in the holy city of Varanasi and is on the Lalita Ghat. This temple has great religious importance in Hinduism and is dedicated to the Lord Shiva. Constructed in the 19th century A.D by the King of Nepal, the temple is made of terracotta, stone and wood and is replica of the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu.
King of Nepal, Rana Bahadur Shah took exile in Varanasi from 1800 to 1804 and titled himself as "Swami Nirgunanda". During his exile, he decided to build a replica of Pashupatinath Temple in Varanasi. Construction of the temple commenced during his exile / stay in Varanasi. During the construction, Shah moved back to Nepal. On April 25, 1806, Rana Bahadur Shah was stabbed to death by his stepbrother, Sher Bahadur Shah. His son Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah Deva completed the project 20 years after the deadline. The land was later transferred to Rana Bahadur Shah by Kashi Naresh in the year 1843. The temple, adjacent area, Lalita Ghat and a dharamshala, belongs to the Nepal government. The walls of the temple have exquisite and lively carvings. It is built in the Pagoda style.
Tulsi Manas Temple is a beautiful shrine located in the vicinity of the Durga Temple. Dedicated to Lord Rama, the temple was constructed in 1964 and received its name after Tulsi Das, the great saint poet of 16th century who was an ardent devotee of Lord Rama. The walls of the temple are decorated with inscriptions and stone carvings depicting stories from the Ramcharitamanas, a famous literary work by Tulsidas. The upper floor of the temple is adorned with structures of warriors as portrayed in the Ramayana.
Monkeys and humans coexist at this charming site for the Hindu monkey God Hanuman. It is believed that all one’s problems would be solved on a visit to this temple, at least once in one’s lifetime. Though, Benaras is known as Baba Vishwnath ki Nagari, famous for the Ganga and its 'Ghats' yet the trip is not supposed to be complete without visiting the famous Sankat Mochan Mandir, situated in the southern part of the city near BHU. As the name goes, Lord Hanuman clears the obstacles in his 'Bhaktas' life.
The temple is spacious and everyone gets accommodated, even on Tuesdays when the crowd is the largest. Opposite Lord Hanuman’s temple is that of Lord Ram and Goddess Sita. On the verandas, devotees keep chanting the 'Ramdhun'. Entry to the temple is free, and evn though there is no human interference, one may be greeted by hordes of monkeys inside the temple.
Ashoka PillarThis Lion capital of Ashoka is a sculpture of four "Indian lions" standing back to back. It was originally placed atop the Aśoka pillar at Sarnath. The Ashoka Lion Capital of Sarnath comprises four lions, standing back to back, mounted on a cylindrical abacus. The abacus features the sculptures of an elephant, a galloping horse, a bull, and a lion, separated by intervening 24-spoked Dharma wheels over an inverted bell-shaped lotus flower. It is just 10 Km away from Varanasi.
Two things that attract at the Monkey Temple are the architechture, and the Idol of Durga. The temple is designed on the Sahasrara pattern (thousand petalled lotus) and painted a bright red. Constructed during 18th century by a Bengali Maharani, the temple possesses North Indian or Nagara style of architecture. Housing a multi-tiered shikhara, the temple is located on a rectangular tank, which is often called as the Durga Kund. According to the legend, the idol in the temple is not made by man but appeared on its own. The idol of Durga is mainly a bust - a beautiful looking countenance - and the body tastefully adorned with pearl and diamond jewelry. It's a divine sight that one gets of Goddess Durga.
IVS teaches the Vedas or the Vedantas, the base of Hindu religion and laws related to it that teaches about our existence, the reason why we live, how we should live and the limitless power of mind and heart. A few moments and divine words from the monks is enough to cause your mind to move towards thoughts about the spiritual world. Swami Prahladananda and Swami Probuddhananda are two spiritual teachers residing there and answer questions on spirituality.
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