Showing posts with label Benares. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Benares. Show all posts

Hinduism - What Is The Kashi Vishwanath Corridor At Varanasi Or Benares In India?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi revealed the 400-meter-long Kashi Vishwanath Corridor in Varanasi on Monday, the 13th of December 2021, which connects an ancient Shiva shrine to the Ganges' banks. 

"It was the Prime Minister's vision for a long time, to facilitate the pilgrims and devotees of Baba Vishwanath, who had to encounter congested streets and surroundings with poor upkeep, when they practiced the age-old custom of taking a dip in the holy river, collecting Gangajal, and offering it at the temple," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement on Sunday. 

Mr. Modi laid the foundation stone for the project on March 8, 2019, and it is nearing completion ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election in early 2022. 

According to the project's architect, Bimal Patel, although the first part of the project will open on Monday, the Ganges Gateway, the stairs leading down, and the ghat will take another two months to finish. 

On Sunday evening, the sacred site, which is in Mr. Modi's Lok Sabha seat, was bustling with activity, not just with preparations for Monday's celebration but also with ongoing building projects. 

Buildings along the winding lanes leading up to the shrine were freshly painted. 

According to Varanasi Divisional Commissioner Deepak Agrawal, the temple grounds had been decked to welcome the 3,000 visitors who had been invited to the inauguration. 

The celebration was attended by roughly 500 religious leaders and families whose homes — around 300 in all — were razed to make place for the corridor, he added. 

The Prime Minister "took a great and active interest at all levels of the initiative," according to the PMO. 

It was announced that twenty-three buildings will be opened, with ramps and escalators built to make the grounds more accessible. 

The first phase construction cost 339 crore, while the entire project cost was about 800 crore. 

According to the PMO, the temple's grounds have been increased from 3,000 square feet to 5 lakh square feet. 

The corridor, which is claimed to be the Prime Minister's dream project, spans 5,000 hectares and aims to not only decongest but also alter the temple complex. 

Varanasi's improved infrastructure is intended to enhance tourism in the holy city as well as the surrounding area, notably the Buddhist pilgrimage site of Sarnath. 

The Kashi Vishwanath Dham in Varanasi is lit up ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's inauguration. 

The Kashi Vishwanath Corridor, now connects Varanasi's historic Kashi Vishwanath Temple to the Ganga's ghats.

The Rs. 800-crore initiative was inaugurated in March 2019 by the Prime Minister in his parliamentary seat with the goal of restoring the spiritual center's "lost splendor." Officials said Modi has long wanted to improve circumstances for visitors and worshippers who had to suffer the temple's notoriously packed streets and surrounds. 

The Kashi Vishwanath temple lacked direct access to the Ganga, therefore a 20-foot-wide corridor between Lalita Ghat on the holy river and Mandir Chowk on the temple grounds was planned. 

"Shiva bhakts may take a morning bath in the river and worship the Lord in the temple, which will now be visible from the ghat," a Ministry of Culture official said. 

A Tourist Facilitation Centre, Mumukshu Bhavan, Bhogshala, City Museum, Viewing Gallery, and Food Court will be among the 23 structures to be opened. 

Some of these phase 1 projects may not be ready to open to the public for a few more weeks. 

The Prime Minister's event will take place ahead of the forthcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections and the release of the voting schedule. 

The Rudraksh Convention Centre, which is shaped like a Shiva lingam and features divisible conference rooms, an art gallery, and multifunctional pre-function spaces, can accommodate 1,200 people. 

Tourists will be able to take Ganga cruises, road infrastructure will be improved, and the Banaras train station in the city's Manduadih neighborhood will be remodeled with the addition of an air-conditioned waiting lounge. 

LED displays will be placed across the city to provide travelers with information about Kashi's history, architecture, and art. 

On screens around the city, the iconic Ganga Aarti and the aarti at the Kashi Vishwanath temple will be shown. 

The Deen Dayal Hastkala Sankul, which opened in 2017 as a trade facilitation center for Varanasi's weavers, craftspeople, and artisans, serves as both a public space and a marketing platform for local artisans. 

Officials claim the PM insisted on preserving existing historic buildings while eliminating homes that were obstructing the designated path. 

More than 40 'lost' temples were uncovered during the destruction of the structures, including the Gangeshwar Mahadev temple, the Manokameshwar Mahadev temple, the Jauvinayak temple, and the Shri Kumbha Mahadev temple. 

Each of these temples has a long and illustrious history. 

At the National Museum in New Delhi, a gallery has been dedicated to displaying some of the unearthed bones, as well as running a narrative on their history on screens. 

Smart signage has been installed in Varanasi to give information on the cultural value of historic monuments and the city's 84 ghats, which are noted for their antiquity and architectural significance. 

The effort to renovate and rebuild the Kashi Vishwanath complex is in keeping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ambitious plans for temples around the nation. 

He lay the foundation stone for the Ram temple in Ayodhya and advocated for renovation and rebuilding initiatives at the Somnath complex and the Kedarnath Dham, both of which were devastated by floods in 2013. 

He's called these initiatives "nation-building endeavors," the successful culmination of an old land's attempts to rediscover and commemorate its past greatness.

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Hinduism - Where Is The Vishvanath Temple?


At the Vishvanath temple in Benares, the deity Shiva appears in his manifestation as the "Lord of the Universe." Shiva is represented in Vishvanath with a linga, a pillar-shaped image that represents Shiva's symbolic form; the Vishvanath linga is one of Shiva's twelve jyotirlingas, a network of locations thought extremely important to Shiva and where Shiva is uniquely present.

Benares, also known as Varanasi, is one of India's most holy towns; it is especially dedicated to Shiva, with Vishvanath being the most significant of all the Shiva temples there.

The original temple was destroyed by the Moghul emperor Aurangzeb, who built a mosque on the site, and the only part of the original temple that has survived is the Gyan Vapi ("well of knowledge"), into which the original Shiva linga was reportedly cast (to prevent it from being desecrated by Aurangzeb's soldiers).

The original temple was established in 1776 on a location next to the pre-sent temple by the Maratha queen Ahalya Bai Holkar.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Lahore eventually covered the temple in gold, earning it the moniker "Golden Temple." Even in previous centuries, the closeness of the Vishvanath temple and Aurangzeb's mosque made for tense relations between the Hindu and Muslim populations, and Benares, like many other northern Indian towns, has seen its share of bloodshed.

The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), a Hindu activist group pushing for the "return" of this and other northern Indian landmarks by force if necessary, has recently taken up the demolition of the old Vishvanath temple as a political issue.

The existence and activities of the VHP have heightened tensions between Hindus and Muslims in general.

Given the political benefits that these confrontational techniques have yielded, it is probable that they will continue in the future, and that the Vishvanath temple will remain a focus of strife.

Kiran Atma

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Hinduism - What Is The Krishna Janam Bhumi?

Krishna Janam Bhumi is a site in Mathura considered to be the birthplace of the Hindu divinity Krishna.

The current temple was built in the 1960s, although the site is much older.

The new temple abuts the Shahi Idgah, a mosque erected on the foundation of an ancient Krishna temple, making it one of India's most religiously contentious places.

According to one legend, Muslim iconoclasts demolished four successive temples on the site where the mosque currently stands, commemorating the precise place of Krishna's birth.

Since the mosque was erected in 1661, and the temple it is alleged to have replaced was demolished by the Moghul emperor Aurangzeb in 1669, this claim seems dubious.

Along with the Vishvanath temple in Benares and Ayodhya's Ram Janam Bhumi, the activist Vishva Hindu Parishad chose the Krishna Janam Bhumi as one of three locations to be recovered as a Hindu holy place in the 1980s.

Mosques were said to have been erected on the site of an important Hindu temple at each of these locations, albeit only the first two have historical evidence of this.

Several attempts to recapture the Krishna Janam Bhumi have been launched during the 1990s, but they have received little support to yet.

Following the public outcry following the destruction of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992, the government has been significantly more restrictive in the activities it permits at such sensitive sites.

Christophe Jaffrelot, The Hindu Nationalist Movement in India, 1996, is a good source of information.

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Hinduism - Where Is Kashi In India?

 (“shining”) One of the city of Benares' traditional names.

Benares is one of the Seven Sacred Cities mentioned in the Hindu scriptures, where death brings ultimate emancipation of the soul.

In a more narrow sense, the word Kashi refers to the biggest of Benares' three ancient holy zones.

It encompasses everything inside the Panchakroshi Yatra path, a circuit that circles the city and defines the region's outer edge.

The fabled account of the jyotirlinga, the "pillar of light" where the deity Shiva is claimed to have originally emerged, is the inspiration for the name Kashi.

The pillar of light, according to legend, not only landed in Kashi but was also a form of Kashi, emphasizing the city's holiness above all other locations on Earth. 

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Hinduism - Where Is The Ganges Or Ganga? What Is The Religious Significance Of Bathing In The Ganges?


The Ganges is a northern Indian river that originates in a number of tiny streams in the Himalaya Mountains.

It enters the northern Indian plain near Haridwar, flows east through Uttar Pradesh to Allahabad, where it joins the Yamuna River, and then continues east through Bihar and West Bengal until reaching the sea at Ganga Sagar.

The Ganges is shorter than many other major rivers at 1,560 kilometers, yet for Hindus, no river has more sacred significance.

To devout Hindus, the Ganges is more than a river; it is the goddess Ganga, who has come down from heaven to cleanse them of all sin and pollution.

There are no superlatives reserved for the Ganges—every drop is hallowed, every inch along its banks is holy, and just viewing it, drinking from it, touching it, or thinking about it confers enormous religious value.

It is also said to be the perfect location for performing particular funeral rituals.

The Ganges has become a sacred site for Hindus because of their dedication and regard for it.

The religious significance of the Ganges is evident in the religious rites associated with it, as well as the several well-known pilgrimage sites (tirtha) situated along its banks, notably Benares.

The Ganges is regarded as the model for a holy river.

Other holy rivers in India, such as the Godavari and the Cauvery, are said to "be" the Ganges, meaning that bathing (snana) in them confers the same religious blessings as bathing in the Ganges.


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Hinduism - Where Is Benares?


On the banks of the Ganges in Uttar Pradesh, there is a city and a holy center (tirtha). 

Benares is an anglicized version of the name Varanasi, which is one of the city's original Hindu names, along with Kashi and Avimukta. 

  • The titles Avimukta, Varanasi, and Kashi are all used to refer to the whole city, but in this case, they refer to concentric holy zones around the Vishvanath temple; Avimukta being the smallest, followed by Varanasi, and lastly Kashi. 
  • Benares, like all other pilgrimage sites along the Ganges, is revered for its closeness to the river, especially since the Ganges flows in a northerly direction at Benares, which is considered fortunate. 
  • The Ganges is an important element of Benares' identity, and it is the focus of most of the city's religious activity. 

The deity Shiva, however, is the most significant holy presence in the city. 

  • Benares is Shiva's home on Earth and the location where he never departs, thus the term Avimukta ("never forsaken"). 
  • The most significant Shiva temple is the Vishvanath (“Lord of the Universe”) temple, which is spread across the city—some ancient, some modern, and some almost forgotten. 
  • Vishvanath is one of Shiva's twelve jyotirlingas, a collection of holy Shiva locations. 

The Moghul emperor Aurangzeb demolished the old Vishvanath temple and replaced it with a mosque; the current Vishvanath temple was constructed close to the original spot. 

  • Benares is one of the seven holy towns where death gives soul freedom because of Shiva's everlasting presence (moksha). 
  • Shiva is said to appear to the dying individual at the time of death and give his salvific knowledge. 
  • Shiva's presence may also be felt at the holy location Manikarnika Ghat, which is located in the center of the city rather than on the outskirts like most other sites. 
  • Shiva gives humans a lesson here as well; particularly, Shiva warns them of their impending demise. 
  • This is not to make people sad or depressed, but to encourage them to pursue a genuine religious life. 

Benares is an excellent location to die or immerse oneself in spiritual life due to the presence of the Ganges and Shiva; yet, it is also an exceptionally lively place to live. 

  • It has a long history as a trade hub and market town, and it still is today, despite the fact that the creaking wooden boats that formerly traversed the Ganges have been replaced by other modes of transportation. 
  • Weavers and metalworkers, many of whom are Muslim, are well-known in Benares. 

For at least a few millenia, it has also been known as a cultural hub. 

  • From grammar to astrology to medicine, Benares is still one of India's most significant hubs for ancient Sanskritic study. 
  • It is also a hub for music, dancing, and the arts, and it has been home to a slew of Indian religious luminaries, including poet-saints Tulsidas, Ravidas, and Kabir, among others. 

Diana Eck, Banaras, 1999, provides a comprehensive account of the city and its inhabitants.

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