Vishalakshi Gauri Temple, Varanasi
|Architectural style:||Hindu Temple|
|Major festivals||Ashwin Navratri & Chaitra Navratri|
|Locale:||Mir Ghat, Varanasi|
|Address:||Vishalakshi Gauri Temple, Mir Ghat, Varanasi|
(Recitation by Pt. Nageshwara Rao of Hyderabad.Please put on the speakers attached to your System and click on the mp3 file above).
On a request from Sage Agasthya Lord Kartikeya happily started describing various Devis in Kashi.
Devi is present in the form of Goddess Vishalakshi in Vishal Teerth in River Ganga. A devotee should bathe in Vishal Teerth and worship Vishalakshi Devi for all round happiness.
In the month of Aswin (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) devotees should remain on fast and keep awake on the night of Triteeya. In the morning they should devotedly offer new clothes and other related items and feed 14 girls. After performing the above Kanya Pooja, they should break their fast.
Vishalakshi Devi temple is a powerful Shakti Peeth and any pooja, charity, recitation of devi mantras performed in this premises is considered to yield very high results. Unmarried girls worshipping Vishalakshi Devi are sure to get married, childless couple will certainly be blessed with a child, even the most unfortunate ladies will find all fortunes coming their way.
Kashi Khand, Chapter 70, has amply described the greatness of Vishalakshi Devi. Further, in Chapter 100, Kashi Khand has prescribed Nau Gauri Yatra (religious pilgrimage tour of nine Gauris and Vishalakshi is one of those Gauris)
If you look carefully in the photograph, there are two Devi images. One is at the back with garland orange in colour. This is Aadi Vishalakshi. The idol in front has been installed at a later stage.
South Indians attach great importance to this temple. They regard this as one of the three main Devi Temples in India viz. Kanchi Kamakshi, Madurai Meenakshi and Kashi Vishalakshi.
Legend / Local stories:
According to the scholar Jones, the Shakti Pithas were originally part of cult worship by the tribals as local deities, which over the centuries were syncretised to Shakthi Peethas under the influence of the Brahmins, and have now a permanent influence on the psyche of the people. In the syncretism of various religious beliefs in the country, as many as 108 goddesses were assimilated in the Shakti Pitha list.
Annapurna, the goddess of food and form of Shiva’s consort Parvati, is given the epithet Vishalakshi, the “wide-eyed”. Her most famous temple stands at Varanasi, where patron goddess she is considered. The Skanda Purana narrates the tale of the sage Vyasa cursing Varanasi, as no one in the city offered him food. Finally, Vishalakshi appears in the form of a housewife and grants food to Vyasa. This role of Vishalakshi is similar to that of Annapurna, who offers food to her husband Shiva, whose hunger can be satiated by her food. Shiva gratified by Annapurna’s food, establishes Varanasi and appoints her as its presiding goddess. The goddess Vishalakshi of the Varanasi temple may have been identified with Annapurna in early times, however over time became a distinct goddess, resulting in the goddess temples.
Vishalakshi, the “wide-eyed” goddess is often associated two other goddesses: Kamakshi, the “love-eyed” goddess of Kanchipuram and Minakshi, the “fish-eyed” of Madurai, prominently because of their similar names. Together the three are regarded the most important Goddess temples by South Indians. While Vishalakshi dwells in North India, the other goddess temples are in Tamil Nadu, South India. South Indians venerated Vishalakshi for ages and have strong ties with the temple. South Indian Tamil people also helped renovate the temple in 1971.
How to Reach:
Devotees can find Vishalakshi temple at D.3/85, Mir Ghat. They can travel upto Dasaswamedh Vishwanath Gulli or Bansphatak Vishwanath Gulli by rickshaw and walk on foot to this place. Devotees generally combine prayers at this temple alongwith darshan of Visweshwar / Annapurna temple.
Vishalakshi Gauri is one of the 9 Gauris which are worshipped in Navratri falling in March-April (9 days preceding Ram Navami).
The entire area encompassing Vishalakshy Devi, Dharmeshwar, Vishwa Bhuja Gauri etc. is a powerful Shakti Peeth known as Dharma Peeth.