We were rowing towards Trilochan ghat when my glance was arrested by this imposing mosque standing on the Panch Ganga Ghat. I asked about it to our boatman Deepu. He told us that the famous Bindu Madhava temple earlier stood at the place. Aurangzeb,  the last mughal emperor got the temple demolished and erected this mosque .
The Bindu Madhav temple is presently housed in a simple nondescript building. The exterior of the building is just like any other house in the lanes of Varanasi. Inside in a low ceiling non ornamental hall at the farthest end stands the revered deity. The deity here is made of saligram stone. Due to the mythological references this temple holds great importance for the pilgrims visiting the holy city.
There in the temple we met two pujaris, Sri Ashok kumar Joshi and Sri Murlidhar Ganesh Patvardhan. There were other pilgrims and travelers too and the priests talked to us in length about the history and Mythological references of the temple.
It is said that when Aurangzeb ordered the demolition of the original temple ,the then pujari somehow took the vigraham of deity with him and kept it hidden for a long time . Later on the idol was placed in this building as near to it’s original place as possible.
This Madhav temple is one of the Panch Madhava temples in India. The other four are
Beni Madhav at Prayag
Kunti Madhava at Pitapuram near Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh
setu Madhava at Rameshwaram
Sunder Madhava at Thiruanantapuram, Kerala
The mythological story related to this Panch Madhav Kshetras goes like this.
Twashta was one of the Prajapatis created by Lord Brahma. He had one son named Vishwarupa. Vishwarupa was very noble and was jitendriya. He once started doing great tapa. Indra became afraid that Vishwarupa might take his kingdom so resorted to all kind of tricks to destroy and disturb his tapsya but all in vain. Then Indra chopped Vishwarupa’s head with his vjrayudh. Indra also lured Taksha to help him in chopping heads of vishwarupa.Vishwarupa is said to have three heads.
On hearing the sad end of his beloved son Twashta got enraged and started homa to creat a massive Asura from his krodhagni. Twashta named him viratasura and ordered him to defeat Indra to avenge the death of his elder brother.Viratasura defeated Indra but later on the treacherous Indra befriended him and killed him . Thus Indra acquired the sin of Brahmahatya ,which is considered to be worst kind of sin. To absolve himself of this great sin Indra consecrated these Panch Madhava temples .
So it is believed that a pilgrimage to these Panch Madhav Kshetram has a power to absolve one off all one’s sins.
Sans any fanfare the simple quiet premises, heartfelt discussions with pujaris and other pilgrims, my experience in Beni Madhav temple left me positively energized.

To me this temple represented the philosophy that the exterior,our body is perishable while the inner substance, the soul is immortal. The quintessence of our being lies in soul not the body.

 

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Panch Ganga Ghat and the mosque above. The minarets of mosque are not very high as is the case usually.

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The deity at Bindu Madhav temple

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The two pujaris in the temple

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some other pilgrims

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all the pics by Sunder Iyer

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