Durga Kund Mandir

Durga Kund Mandir
Durga Kund Mandir

The Durga Temple, also known as the Monkey Temple due to its large population of primates, stands in Varanasi’s Durga Kund. Dedicated to Goddess Durga and constructed during the 18th century by a Bengali Maharani using north Indian architectural style with multi-tiered shikharas, this temple is truly beautiful. To increase its appeal even further, an attractive pond called ‘Durga Kund’ whose sides are lined with stone stairs and each corner guarded by watch pillars was built on the right side of it.

It is believed that the divine statue of Goddess Durga emerged in the temple, bringing millions of Hindu devotees to her feet during festivals like Navratri and other holy occasions. The square-shaped abode made with red stone embodies Mata Durga’s color as devoted Hindus make a sacred procession around it for their spiritual wellbeing. Varanasi is said to be blessed by Mother Durga who continuously guards its people from any form of adversity.

Within the Hindu religion, Mata Durga is considered to be an incarnation of Shakti (Parvati, the beloved wife of Lord Shiva), which signifies strength and might within women. She’s adorned in a vibrant red hue while riding atop a tiger with numerous weapons such as Shiva’s trident, Vishnu’s discus, swords etc., all integral parts that illustrate her power.

Just steps away from the Durga Ghat (or Durga Kund) sits the renowned Brahmacharini Durga Temple. Constructed in 1772 by a holy man called Narayana Diksit, it lies right on the banks of India’s holiest river, Gange—making it one of Varanasi’s most celebrated Ghats.

Once, King Dhriva Sandhi of Ayodhya had two wives by the names Manorama and Lilavathi, who bore him two sons – Sudarsana (Manorama’s) and Satrijith (Lilavathi’s). Both boys received an excellent education. However, one day when the king went hunting he was killed by a lion. The kingdom’s minister chose to crown Sudarsana as successor but this decision was met with opposition from Lilavathi’s father Yathajith who made plans to kill young Sudarsana instead. Understanding her son was in danger, Manorama took drastic measures; she fled the palace with her son and sought refuge at Trikutaadri near Saint Bharadwaja for his protection.

On a day of play with his friends, Sudarsana chanced upon the word “Kleeba” (meaning impotent). In time, he forgot what it meant and began to use the phrase Kleem instead. A holy man then took notice and instructed him in how to revere Vaishnavi – Goddess of love. Upon hearing her call for devotion, Sudarsana obliged wholeheartedly – so much so that she appeared before him! Pleased with his efforts, she gifted him an ethereal bow and arrows which promised victory on any battlefield he crossed.

One evening, Sasikala (daughter of Subahu, the sovereign of Kashi) had a dream in which Mata Vaishnavi encouraged her to marry Sudarsana. At that moment, she was already deeply enamored with him due to hearing about his character and strength. When Sudarsana arrived at Sasikala’s Swayamvara alongside his mother, Satrijith – accompanied by Yathajith as his grandfather-in-law – bellowed an ultimatum: if Sasikala did not pick him as her husband immediately or else he would take their lives. Sasikala’s father was understandably anxious, desperately wanting his daughter to marry Satrijith. However, she firmly refused and stated that Mata Vaishnavi would protect them.

On that night, Subahu married his daughter to Sudarsana. Upon hearing this news, Yathajith and his army marched to the border of Kasi in order to fight against Sudarsana. However, a fierce battle erupted between them until Goddess Durga descended from the sky with her divine power and annihilated both opposing forces; leaving everyone terrified as they ran away from the battlefield. Consequently, Sudarsana emerged victorious over this ordeal which led Subahu into recognizing Vaishnavi’s sacredness so much that he devoted himself solely unto Her worshiping rituals. Goddess Vaishnavi became happy to him and asked him to get any boon from her. Subahu prayed Her to reside in Kashi and defend them. Goddess Vaishnavi accepted and reside on the bank of Durga kundam, where Subahu constructed a temple. After victory Sudarsana went to the Ayodhya and started ruling Ayodhya.

The temple was built in Nagara style of architecture. The temple is painted red with ochre to match the colours of the central icon of Durga, the goddess of strength and power. The temple is made up of many small sikharas adjoined together. The temple is located on the banks of a rectangular tank, which is often called as the Durga Kund. There are idols of Goddesses Lakshmi, Saraswati and Kali present in the temple premises. Just steps away from the temple constructed by Narayana Diksith in 1772 lies Durga Ghat, a highly visited area that houses another small shrine honoring Kharva Narsimha.

On the right side of the majestic Durga temple lies a picturesque rectangular tank known as ‘Durga Kund’. This pond was once connected to a river that would ensure its water supply, yet this channel has been closed off recently. Presently, however, rain and drainage from inside the temple sustain its waters. In addition to this serene beauty every year on Nag Panchami, an act of Lord Vishnu resting upon Shesha Nag is carefully re-enacted within Durga Kund’s depths.

Thousands of Hindu devotees visit Durga Kund Temple during Navratri to worship Goddess Durga. Every year on the occasion of Nag Panchami, the act of depicting God Vishnu reclining on the serpent is recreated in the Kund.

For your convenience, you can take an automobile, rickshaw or taxi to reach 2km from BHU and 13 km away from Cantt Varanasi.

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