Goddess Parvaty asked Lord Shiva to describe the various important Shiv Lings in Kashi. Lord Shiva told her, once upon a time, in Anand Van (Kashi) Yam Raj installed a Ling and underwent severe penance in prayer of Lord Shiva. His prayers went on during extremely cold winters and torrid summers. The intensity of his prayers went on increasing; he stood on one leg and prayed for several years and finally stood on one toe for several days during his penance. At last Lord Shiva appeared before him and conferred the title of Dharma Raja on Yam Raj. (In some mantras like Sandhya Vandana, the mantra reads as Yamaya Dharma Rajaya etc. etc.) The Ling installed by Yam Raj was named by Lord Shiva as Dharmeshwar Ling. On seeing Lord Shiva in person, Yam Raj was dumb struck and could not ask what he wanted. He was overwhelmed with joy.Lord Shiva took the initiative and told Yam Raj that the latter should do proper justice to people who die, those committing sins should face punishment and those performing punya Karma (virtuous deeds) should go to heaven. The judgement should be fair. Those who live in Kashi and engage in pooja etc. should be free from all sins committed in any generation. Yam Raj as such is for evil persons/sinners and he is Dharma Raj for good people.
Those persons who take bath in Dharma Koop and perform pooja of Dharmeshwar are cleansed of all sins. Yam Raj agreed to do as he was directed by Lord Shiva. (Kashi Khand, Chapter 78).
Legend / Local stories
How to Reach:
Dharmeshwar Temple is located at D-2/21, Mir Ghat. The temple is approachable from a famous locality called Dashashwamedh. People can travel upto Dashashwamedh Vishwanath Gulli by Rickshaw and then to the temple via famous Vishalakshi Gauri temple by foot. A devotee who has finished darshan of Visweshwar Temple, can proceed towards the Saraswati Phatak gate and walk towards Vishalakshi Gauri temple, to reach Dharmeshwar. Alternatively, they can travel to Mirghat by boat and climb the steps.
The entire area covering Dharmeshwar, Dharma Koop, Vishalakshi Devi etc. is a powerful Shakti Peeth (seat of vital energy) and any prayer offered at this place begets maximum benefits to the devotees.