Kaal Bhairav Mandir

Kaal Bhairav Mandir
Kaal Bhairav Mandir

Kaal Bhairav Mandir is one of the oldest and most significant Shiva temples in Varanasi, India. Located in Bharonath, Vishweshwarganj, it has an incredible amount of historical and cultural importance for Hinduism; especially among locals. This temple is devoted to Bhairava – a fierce form of Lord Shiva who wears a garland made from skulls with peacock feathers as accessories. The word “Kaal” means both “death” and “destiny”. It’s believed that even death itself fears Kaal Bhairav!

Centuries ago, many great saints ascended Mount Sumeru in pursuit of the identity of the eternal and supreme power. Lord Brahma declared himself superior without hesitation – yet Lord Vishnu (the Yagyeshwar or Narayan) disagreed with his rash judgment. To settle their dispute, both Lords consulted the four Vedas for an answer to this same question; Rig Veda attributed supremacy to Rudra due to his control over all living beings whereas Yajur Veda credited it to Shiva as he could be venerated through various yagnas (yagam). According to Sam Veda, Triambakam is the ultimate power as it is venerated by Yogis and can even manipulate the world. The Atharva Veda responded that Lord Shankar reigns supreme because He banishes all human suffering. Ultimately, each of the four Vedas announced that Lord Shiva stands above them all in supremacy.

Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu’s reaction to the Vedas’ decision was simply laughter, until a powerful divine shine shone in their midst. At this sight, Lord Brahma glared fiercely with his fifth head as if he wanted revenge. In turn, Shiva created Kaal Bhairav – known also as Paap Bhakshak – whose purpose is to forever remain in Kashi and erase the sins of all those who seek repentance. Witnessing such rage within Shiva himself upon seeing that new being come into existence, devotees raised their voices up high so they could be heard by him while praying for mercy!

Lord Shiva commanded Kaal Bhairav to set out for a journey and Brahma Hatya Dosh, personified as a female figure by the deity himself followed him. During his voyage, she doggedly hounded Kaal Bhairv everywhere he went until finally arriving at Kashi or Moksha Puri (the city of salvation). The moment that he crossed its threshold, Brahma Hatyia vanished into thin air and the head of Lord Brahma in possession of Kaal Bhirav dropped on the ground which is now known as Kapal Mochan Teerth. Since then, it has been said that Kaal Bhairar resides in this holy abode eternally with intentions of protecting all devotees from their afflictions.

The sanctuary is open from 5am until 1:30 pm and again from 4:30 pm to 9:30 pm. For those looking for special customs, the eighth day after a full moon in November is especially auspicious. Sunday and Tuesday are regarded as important days of worship but other significant festivals celebrated at the sanctuary include Annakut (fourth day following Diwali) and Shringar.

Located in Visheshar Ganj, Varanasi, the sanctuary is easily accessible via auto-rickshaw and other means. Only a 10 minute drive from the Kashi Vishwanath temple, you can explore this beautiful attraction with ease.

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