- Temples in Varanasi

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Bharat Mata Temple : This is the only temple dedicated to Mother India in Varanasi and was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi. The main idol is built in marble and depicts an undivided India, complete with mountains, plains and oceans. The highlight of this temple is the absence of the usual gods and goddesses and instead housing a map of India in marble.The Bharat Mata temple at Varanasi is the only temple dedicated to Mother India. It is located in the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth campus. The Bharat Mata temple was built by Babu Shiv Prasad Gupt and inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936. The statute of Bharat Mata is built in marble and is a model of undivided India, depicting the mountains, plains and oceans. The most peculiar thing about the Bharat Mata Temple is that instead of the customary gods and goddesses, it houses a relief map of India, carved out of marble.

Durga Temple : Peculiarly known as the Monkey Temple, this 18th century temple is red in colour and sports a multi-layered spire. The idol within is believed to have appeared on its own, hence held in great reverence. The profusion of monkeys in the temple precincts grants it the name Monkey Temple. This temple is the site of great activity during Navratri. Non-Hindus can enter the courtyard but not the inner sanctum.Durga temple, also known as the "monkey temple" is one of the important temples of Varanasi. This temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga. The Durga temple was built in the eighteenth century. A Bengali Maharani built the Durga temple in Nagara Style (the North Indian style of temple architecture). It is stained red with ochre and has a multi-tiered shikhara (spire). The Durga temple is situated on a rectangular tank, called the Durga Kund. According to the Puranas, Goddess Durga has kept this place for many centuries and protects the holy city, Varanasi, from the South.

According to legends, the present statue of Goddess Durga was not made by man but appeared on its own in the temple. The Durga temple is also called Monkey temple because of the presence of large number of monkeys. In Hinduism, Durga is represented as the embodiment of shakti or female power, clad in red, riding a tiger and fully armed with Shiva's trident, Vishnu's discus and a sword. Non-Hindus can enter the courtyard of the Durga temple but not the inner sanctum. Thousands of Hindu devotees visit the Durga temple during Navratri and other auspicious occasions.

Tulsi Manas Temple : Dedicated to Lord Rama, the Tulsi Manas Temple is located close to the Durga Temple. This white marble construction is believed to be the spot where Tulsidas wrote the epic Ramcharitamanas. In fact the walls of the temple are inscribed with verses and scenes from this epic.Tulsi Manas temple is one of the most famous temples of Varanasi. 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 Ram. It is believed to be built at the same place where Tulsidas wrote the famous Indian epic, Ramcharitamanasa. The walls of the Tulsi Manas temple are engraved with verses and scenes from the Ramcharitammanasa, the Hindi version of the Ramayana.

Sankat Mochan Temple : Located near the Benaras Hindu University, this temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman as the reliever of all sufferings. This temple is especially busy on Tuesdays when thousands of devotees line up to offer prayers to the lord. Pilgrims smear their foreheads with vermilions and offer the lord his favourite food of laddoos.

Bharat Kala Bhavan : Located inside the BHU campus, this museum is a treasure house of paintings dating to the Mughals, varieties of textiles and Hindu and Buddhist figurines. A particularly popular sculpture is of Lord Krishna lifting the Govardhan Mountain – depicted by a man standing on one leg and listinf a mass of stone above with one hand. The museum is divided into several sections, including Mahamana Malaviya Gallery, Nicholas Roerich Gallery, Chhavi Gallery, Sculpture Gallery, Nidhi Gallery and Decorative Art Gallery.

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