Durga Temple, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

Deities: Goddess Durga
Location: At Durga Kund, Varanasi
Built in: 18th century
Built by: Bengali Maharani
Attraction: Design Pattern and Busts
Best time to visit: Throughout the year
STD Code: 0542

Jay Mata Di
The Durga temple is one of the most important temples in Varanasi and is built in the 18th century, by Bengali Maharani and is stained red with ochre.

This temple is built in north Indian Nagara style with a multi-tiered shikhara (spire). The shikhara of the temple is formed by many small spires which are built one on top of the other. Goddess Durga is a significant manifestation of Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. In fact she is said to be Shakti, or the manifestation of Parvati that signifies the female element of Power and harmony in nature.

The Puranas locate Durga Ji at her present site, and she has kept this place for many centuries. She is said to protect Varanasi from the south, as one of the fierce goddess guardians of the sacred zone. According to some who serve this temple, the image of Durga was never established by human hands, but is a self-manifest image. It appeared here of its own accord.People have a belief that the Holy Scriptures confirms the location of Goddess Durga at this spot only and she has kept this place for many centuries. She is said to protect Varanasi from the south, as one of the fierce goddess guardians of the sacred zone. History of the Durga Temple, Varanasi.

Varanasi is a place highly revered by the Shaivite Hindus. The general trend noticed is that Durga Temples are a rare find in regions which has many followers of Lord Shiva. This is why it is indeed quite surprising to find a Durga Temple in a place like Varanasi reputed for being a Shaivite stronghold. Even though she is credited with the construction of the temple, the deity that is enshrined within the temple was not established by her. According to popular legend, Durga herself appeared in this temple at Benaras (the other name by which Varanasi is known), India.

The Durga Temple in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh is a fine example of the Shikhara or North Indian style of Temple architecture. Positioned on top of a rectangular tank referred to as the Durga Kund, this ochre red colour temple boasts of a multi tiered Shikhara that never fails to catch anyone’s attention. Separate Spires are built one on top of the other to form the Shikhara and the diameter of these spires keep decreasing with increasing height.

According to popular belief Goddess Durga worshipped in this temple is the savior and protector of this sacred place. She came here of her own and has been staying ever since as a guardian. She is a form of Parvati, Lord Shiva’s consort and an embodiment of power and harmony. No wonder people pour in by the lakhs to offer their prayers and seek her blessings. The number increases conspicuously when Navratri and other auspicious occasions are celebrated.

Open from seven in the morning to eight in the evening, it is of interest not only to ardent admirers of Goddess Durga but also to the lovers of art and architecture. Ensure that you pay a visit to the Durga Temple when on Tours to Varanasi. It is not simply one of the prime Holy Places in Varanasi; it is also one of the important Tourist Attractions in Varanasi.

Festival:
The number increases conspicuously when Navratri and other auspicious occasions are celebrated. Durga is the ‘terrible’ form of Shiva’s consort Parvati, so at festivals there are often sacrifices of goats. Non-Hindus can enter the courtyard but not the inner sanctum. It is commonly known as Monkey Temple due to many frisky monkeys that have made it their home.

Other Attractions:
Bharat Mata Temple
Dasaswamedh Ghat
Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Kedar Ghat
Man Mandir Ghat
Manikarnika Ghat
New Vishwanath Temple (Golden Temple)
Panchganga Ghat
Shivala Ghat
Tulsi Ghat
Tulsi Manas Temple

How to reach:
by Air:
Varanasi is on several Indian Airlines routes. There are flights from Lucknow, Jaipur, Bhubaneshwar and Kathmandu also. The airport is about 22 km away from the city.
by Rail: there are not many trains running from Delhi or Calcutta to Varanasi, but most Delhi-Calcutta trains do pass through Mughalsarai, 12 km south of Varanasi.
by Road: there are buses running from Varanasi to Jaunpur, Allahabad, Lucknow, Faizabad, and Gorakhpur. No direct buses run to Khajuraho.

Visit www.eTirth.com for more information on Temples, Ashrams, Gurus, Festival and Daily Panchangam (Hindu ephemeris).

If you love to read visit www.KathaVarta.org for Religious stories.

Last but not least, if you want to visit above Holy Pilgrimage, please contact and visit our associate partner www.YatraKhoj.com and e-mail at yatrakhoj@yahoo.com.
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Annapurna Temple, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

Deities: Goddess Annapurna
Location: Varanasi
Built in: 18th Century
Built by: Peshwa Baji Rao-1
Best time to visit: October to March.
STD Code: 0542

Almost 3000 years old, Varanasi (also popularly known as Banaras or Kashi) is one of the oldest living cities in the world and the ultimate pilgrimage centre for Hindus, who believe that those who are fortunate to die here attain salvation instantly.

Annapurna temple, built in the 18th century by Peshwa Baji Rao-I. The idol of Annapurna Bhavani a benevolent form of Shakti, is made in solid gold and carries a cooking pot that is why the Goddess Annapurna is looked upon as the provider of food and the sustainer of prosperity. There is also a striking silver-faced image of Shani (Saturn) within the temple. Shani is feared for his destructive powers and is propitiated to prevent any ill befalling the devout.

The name ‘Annapurna’ (Goddess of Food) means one who provides us with plentiful of food. The Goddess is believed to be the mother of all the three worlds, heaven, earth and hell and it is said that her devotees never suffer from starvation and want of food.

The present-day temple complex is situated near Vishvanath temple on the opposite side of the lane. In the temple’s court, there is a small sanctum with a large pillared porch housing an image of Goddess Annapurna, which had been established and consecrated in January 1977 by the famous Shankaracharya of Shringeri. It is said that the devotees of the Goddess never suffer from starvation.

Festival:
During the annual Annakuta festival, just after Diwali, mountains of fruits, sweets and cereals are laid out before the goddess and then distributed to the poor.

Other Attraction in Varanasi:
Ghats of Varanasi
Durga Temple
Bharat Mata Temple
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Tulsi Manas Temple
New Vishwanath Temple
Manmandir
Bharat Kala Bhawan
Banaras Hindu University

How to reach:
by Air: It has daily flights to and from Babatpur airport, 22 km from Varanasi, connecting it to Delhi, Agra, Khajuraho, Calcutta, Mumbai, Lucknow and Bhuvaneshwar.
by Rail: Well connected by trains to all the major cities in India, Varanasi is an important and major rail junction.
by Road: Varanasi is well-connected by smooth and good roads and national highways to the rest of the country.

Visit http://www.etirth.com/ for more information on Temples, Ashrams, Gurus, Festival and Daily Panchangam (Hindu ephemeris).

If you love to read visit http://www.kathavarta.org/ for Religious stories.

Last but not least, if you want to visit above Holy Pilgrimage, please contact and visit our associate partner http://www.yatrakhoj.com/ and e-mail at yatrakhoj@yahoo.com.
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Tulsi Manas (Rama) Temple, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

Deities: Lord Rama
Location: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Attraction: Verses of Ram Charita Manas
Built in: 1964
Significance: A Holy City for the Hindus
Tourist Attractions: Religious places, Banaras Hindu University.
Best time to visit: October to April

Tulsi Manas temple is one of the most famous temples of Varanasi. 7 kilometres from the Station. It is also an important tourist attraction of the holy city. The Tulsi Manas temple is located near the famous Durga temple. It was built in white marble in the year 1964. The temple has been made more charming by the magnificent landscaping around it.

The Tulsi Manas temple is dedicated to lord Rama. It is believed to be built at the same place where Tulsidas wrote the famous Indian epic, Ram Charita Manas. The walls of the Tulsi Manas temple are engraved with verses and scenes from the Ram Charita Manas, the Hindi version of the Ramayana.

The main Gate of temple will be in marble with the inscription “Shri Tulsi Manas Mandir” Haridwar. On the right side of after the entrance, there will be an attractive Tulsi Garden where a statue will be installed depicting the scene of the famous verse: “Tulsi Das chandan ghisen /tilak det Raghuvir.” On the left side there will be a beautiful pond, which will have the four Ghats (Banks). Four statues will be installed on each bank of the pond with different subjects. On the northern bank the statues will depict Shri Kakbhushundji, while on the southern bank of the pond will depict Shri Yagywalkaji Maharaj relating to the Ramayana to Shri Bhardwaj Muni. On the eastern ghat Shri Ashuthosh Shankar (Lord Shiva) will be shown relating Ramayana to Mother Parvati, and on the western bank Mahamana Goswami Tulsi Das Ji will be shown composing of Ramayana. A little way ahead, there will be a big Hall of Shri Manas Mandir having three imposing temples. In the middle, there will be Ram Darbar with Lord Shiva and mother Durga on each side. Besides idols of Lord Ganesha and other gods and goddesses will be installed in traditional way described in the Shastras (ancient scriptures). Also there will be idols of Rishi’s, gods and goddesses mentioned in Ramayana. On the marble wall of the Hall will be inscribed all Chaupayees. Dohas, Chhandas and Sorathas (different types of couplets used in literature) along with the innovations at the beginning of all the kands (sections of Ramayana). There will also be pond here where there will install four idols. Also there will be a depiction of Shri Ram Chandra Ji applying Tilak on the forehead of Shri Goswami Tulsi Das Ji.

Legend:
This temple is a very modern temple built only recently in the year 1964. The ancient Indian epic Ramayana was largely beyond the understanding of the common people of the country because it was written in Sanskrit, a language in which only a learned few were versed. Goswami Tulsi Das took upon himself the responsibility of translating the Ramayana into Hindi. This would considerably reduce the number of people who were being deprived of such a fantastic literary work. He composed his Ram Charit Manas at this very spot in Varanasi or Kashi. His composition gained tremendous popularity. Ram was always acclaimed and recognized not just as a good king but also as a great king. People read of him in Ram Charit Manas and started eulogizing him. Blessed with unparallel dignity and a lot of virtues, he came to be worshipped by his countrymen. He made a permanent place for himself in the heart of his countrymen and so did Tulsi Das who carved a niche for himself in the literary world. Years later a temple in honour of Lord Ram was constructed at the very spot where Tulsi Das had written of him and the temple was named Tulsi Manas Temple as a mark of respect and reverence for him.

Other Attraction: Some of the most important temples of Varanasi are:
Durga temple
Vishwanath temple
Sankat Mochan temple
Bharat Mata temple.
Sarnath temple
Banaras Hindu University (BHU)
Archaeological Museum
Bharat Kala Bhavan
Buddhist Stupas

How to Reach:
by Air: Varanasi is well connected and accessible to major Indian cities and tourist spots. There are daily domestic flights to and from Varanasi to several cities in India.
by Rail: There are two railway stations in Varanasi, the Kashi Junction and the Varanasi Junction (also known as Varanasi Cantonment One can also catch trains from Mughalsarai, just 10 km south of Varanasi.
by Road: Varanasi has a good network of roads. Frequent public and private buses and road transport to all the major towns of Uttar Pradesh and nearby areas.

Visit http://www.etirth.com/ for more information on Temples, Ashrams, Gurus, Festival and Daily Panchangam (Hindu ephemeris).

If you love to read visit http://www.kathavarta.org/ for Religious stories.

Last but not least, if you want to visit above Holy Pilgrimage, please contact and visit our associate partner http://www.yatrakhoj.com/ and e-mail at yatrakhoj@yahoo.com.
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