The planks in the floor of the boat creaked, and the boat rocked in the water as the whole entourage got on to their respective barges. Soon we were on our way, but where? The question popped up in my mind. We had had our lunch on the boat itself, on our way from the…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 49: The ‘other’ ghat…
Varanasi Again – 48: The curious case of the missing deity
‘Thus, you see, Nandi the bull is still facing its deity, even though the temple is no more there,’ I said. ‘But shouldn’t the statue of Nandi also have been moved, now that the location of the temple has changed?’, the children asked. I smiled, ready to spring one more surprise on my unsuspecting listeners.…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 48: The curious case of the missing deity
Varanasi Again – 47: The story of the shifting temple
‘You know’, I started, ‘long ago there were two very sacred shrines to Shiva or Shankara in Kashi, the city of light.’ Vandita, and Vatsala listened in rapt attention. ‘Actually,’ I corrected myself, ‘there were many throughout the city. But the most sacred, the most revered were the two shrines of Shiva where he was…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 47: The story of the shifting temple
Varanasi Again – 46: The lingam that moved….
‘Why is the lingam placed eccentrically to one side, Papa?,’ the elder one asked, as we filed out of the KV Dham Corridor, and started to retrace our steps to the barge which waited for us at the Lalita ghat. I smiled, delighted at where I knew the conversation was going. The walk back would…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 46: The lingam that moved….
Varanasi Again – 45: The blowing out of the candle…….
We peered inside the garbha griha, the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, the womb housing the deity. There, inside the very, very small room, placed eccentrically to one side was a small quadrangular pit, circumscribed by a low stone railing gilded with silver. Inside this pit, barely visible from outside the room, was a small…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 45: The blowing out of the candle…….
Varanasi Again – 44: Of temples and mosques
The Gyanvapi kupa, and the statue of the Nandi bull escaped demolition and desecration by the hordes of Emperor Aurangzeb when they destroyed the original Vishveshwara temple in the year 1669 CE. This was the last time the temple would be destroyed; but this was not the first time. What? The question naturally crops up…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 44: Of temples and mosques
Varanasi Again – 43: A well, a bull and a tree
Historical picture of the Nandi Bull at Kashi Vishwanath Shrine There on the northern side of the quadrangular enclosure around the temple was a tree – a Ficus tree!! Is it……?? My thoughts trailed off……my eyes scanning the area for the other two objects. Yes, there they were – the bull and the small octagonal…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 43: A well, a bull and a tree
Varanasi Again – 42: Inside the shrine
The Kashi Vishwanath corridor that we walked along was seventy five meters wide, and at least several hundred meters long. Flanked by shops, museums, tourist amenities and walkways, the corridor was also decorated by several interesting statues including those of Adi Shankaracharya, the proponent of Advaita Vedanta and the architect of modern Hinduism as we…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 42: Inside the shrine
Varanasi Again – 41: The Gyanvapi Kupa
It was Krita Yuga, also known amongst the laymen as the Satayuga, or the age of truth. This was the age when man was nearest to God, and godliness, when Gods and angels, and demi-Gods walked the earth and lived amongst the ordinary mortals like normal people. Creation was young, and people honoured traditional wisdom…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 41: The Gyanvapi Kupa
Varanasi Again – 40: Lalita Ghat
The boat rocked gently as we stepped off from it, on to a floating platform built of interlocking plastic buoys. The plastic platform too jiggled a little, and looked like it would give way and drop us into the water, but then held on. More and more people disembarked from the boat on to the…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 40: Lalita Ghat
Varanasi Again – 39: The Kashi Vishwanath Corridor
Our destination was visible now, as the boat changed its course and made its way towards the western bank of the Ganga. The Kashi Vishwanath Dham Corridor was a pet project of the current Prime Minister of India, who also represented Varanasi as its member of parliament. He had taken the task headlong as soon…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 39: The Kashi Vishwanath Corridor
Varanasi Again – 27: Towards Kashi Vishwanath
The boat chugged cheerfully in the waters, carrying its load of chattering, smiling, laughing, gesticulating people onboard. It headed for the mid-stream of the river, and then turned and headed north, the direction where our destination, the Kashi Vishwanath temple lay. The Kashi Vishwanath, is one of the twelve jyotirlingams in India. A jyotirlingam is…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 27: Towards Kashi Vishwanath
Varanasi Again – 8: The well of light
I got up and I followed him, the Yogi with the matted locks, and blue throat. I followed him wordlessly, for words were not needed now, had ceased to exist, have any meaning. The Yogi had awakened my third eye, the aagya chakra which makes sight without eyes, and hearing without ears possible. My forehead…… Continue reading Varanasi Again – 8: The well of light
The Reunion XXXI – The Kashi Vishwanath Temple at Gyanvapi
A lot had changed in the vicinity of the temple since we were here last. The temple area was being renovated, encroachments being demolished, and a pilgrimage corridor was being built for beautification of the Gyanvapi area. The area of construction, or rather demolition, had been cordoned off but it was still possible to peek…… Continue reading The Reunion XXXI – The Kashi Vishwanath Temple at Gyanvapi
The Reunion XXX – Visit to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple
And thus, the cars sped that morning once more, through the crowded and familiar streets of Varanasi. Crowded, but less crowded than we remembered them, and much cleaner. Familiar, but less familiar than before. It pained me to realize that I had started to forget the streets of Banaras and, if left alone, may not…… Continue reading The Reunion XXX – Visit to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple