The holy city of Benares seems to be teeming with gazillions of temples; in fact there seems to be a temple for any and every excuse and on every street corner and entry of buildings. When I first landed in the city in December 2013, that was my impression, apart from the filth, stench and the crowds. I was amused by its many temples and had a gala time shooting them on my phone.
So when I made a local friend Raji, I instantly peppered her with places to see and things to eat. She promptly asked me if I knew that there is a temple dedicated to the freedom struggle of India is in the holy city of Benares? I thought she was joking but she wasnt.
Another temple!!!! What on earth is with this city? A temple for sun, moon, stars, constellations, galaxies and what not and now this!!!
I made a plan to visit this temple and landed there on 26th Jan 2014. And it was so fitting to be here on Republic day as it was all decked up and a celebration by school children was on in the compound. Flag hoisting, songs of patriotic fervour and children dressed up as figures from our freedom movement flashbacked me to my school days. I was in love with the atmosphere in the temple, the pride and glory was being celebrated with great pomp and show.
This temple was established by the father of our nation and a map of undivided India is the deity that is worshipped here. The map blew me away with its detailing of the mountains, land contours and sea levels – all of it to scale. It seemed to be sculpted out of marble, each nook and corner properly labelled on the map. In fact this map shows India and pakistan as one. There was even water surrounding it to mark the seas and oceans. I was stunned by the creativity and the thought put behind to make this.
The temple was constructed by freedom fighter Babu Shiv Prasad Gupta and inaugurated by Gandhiji in 1936.
I was totally blown away by this relic from our nationalistic freedom struggle and wondered why no school text has ever mentioned its existence. Our country is so diverse in its surprises and every region seems to be holding out on such gems. I was very proud to have visited it and never tire of telling people visiting Benares to do go here once.
‘Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.’ Lawrence Block
Did you know about it? What do you think about it?
- Benares lies in the eastern part of India and is known by many names viz Varanasi, Kashi, etc.
- The deity in the temple is a marble relief map and is the only one of its kind in existence in the world
- Its situated on the campus of Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth.
Novelty N is on its way tomorrow – watch out for it!
For the uninitiated, AtoZ challenge is a blogging challenge wherein one has to write on every alphabet from A to Z and post on all days of April, except Sundays. Usually its better to devise a theme as it makes it easy to write the posts. Plus readers have a reason to stay hooked too.
The A to Z Challenge is created by Arlee Bird of Tossing it Out
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Jeremy Hawkins of Hollywood Nuts
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Zalka Csenge Virág of The Multicolored Diary
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J Lenni Dorner of Blog of J. Lenni Dorner
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