Atma Veereshwar Temple, Varanasi
According to Kashi Khand, Chapater 82, Lord Shiva described the power of Veereshwar Ling as under :
Once a kingdom was ruled by a very religious minded ruler named Amitrajit. He was a staunch devotee of Lord Vishnu and he made it a rule that all the citizens of his kingdom also became devotees of Lord Vishnu. One day Narad Rishi visited his palace and was welcomed with due respect by the King.
As per the direction of Narad Rishi, King Amitrajit saved one beautiful girl called Malayagandini from the clutches of one evil person. The King subsequently married her and they came to Kashi and were immediately happy with the beautiful surroundings. In due course, Malayagandini was blessed with a handsome male child, who was destined to become 16 years old, immediately after birth. However, since he was born in an inauspicious planetary combination, the Ministers of the King told the Queen that she would have to sacrifice the child, otherwise the King would die.
In order to save the King, she sent the child to Vikata Devi. But no one was inclined to slay the handsome boy who had been 16 years of age by then. The boy undertook severe penance of Lord Shiva, whereupon Lord Shiva appeared before him in form of a Ling. This Ling was named by Lord Shiva as Veereshwar Ling.
According to Lord Shiva, a person who performs Pooja, Abhishek and archana of Veereshwar Ling attains all sort of happiness, prosperity and success.
Kashi Khand, Chapter 83, states that a person who performs pooja of Veereshwar gets the benefit of doing pooja of three crore Lingas.
It is considered auspicious to worship this Ling during Chaturdasi nights without going to sleep or bed. It is also considered auspicious to perform abhishek of this Ling with Panch Amritam (five ingredients namely milk, curd, honey, sugar and clarified butter) (Kashi Khand ibid).
Kashi Khand, Chapter 11, mentions the importance of pooja/archana of Atma Veereshwar for being blessed with a child. One Sage Vishwanar and his pious wife prayed at various places in Kashi and finally arrived at the Siddha Peeth of Atma Veereshwar. He performed all rituals and rites at this temple for many months, reciting a prayer called Abhilasha Ashtakam and one day he saw a boy aged eight years standing near the Ling. The sage started worshipping the boy with the same fervour as one would worship Lord Shiva with.
The boy was none other than Lord Shiva himself who directed his devotees to recite Abhilasha Ashtakam for one year, as was done by Sage Vishwanar, which will certainly result in progeny for childless couples. Subsequently, the boy disappeared into the Atma Veereshwar Ling.
Though this Ling is mentioned as Veereshwar in Kashi Khand, presently, this ling is called as Atma Veereshwar or the soul of Veereshwar.
Legend / Local stories
How to Reach:
Atma Veereshwar temple is located at Ck-7/158, Scindia Ghat which is a famous locality in Varanasi. This place can be reached by boat through Scindia Ghat. Alternatively one can travel in cycle rickshaw upto Chowk and walk down the gullies to reach the temple. Reciting Rudra Japa at Atma Veereshwar temple is very fruitful.