Bindu Madhav Temple is the oldest temple of Lord Vishnu in Kashi. Kashi is a very important place of pilgrimage located in the state of Uttar Pradesh. This city is one among the sapta moksha-puris – the cities where one can achieve liberation. Kashi is divided into two parts – Vishnu Kashi and Shiva Kashi. From Manikarnika Ghat to the Adi Keshava Ghat, the city is known as the Vishnu Kashi. From Manikarnika Ghat till Assi Ghat, this sacred city is known by the name Shiva Kashi. As per the scriptures, Lord Vishnu donated Kashi in charity to Lord Shiva as per his request. After receiving Kashi from Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva donated half of this sacred city back to Lord Vishnu. As a gesture of gratitude to Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva created Vishnu Kunda at the Manikarnika Ghat. Any devotee who takes a bath in this Kunda at 12 pm is released from the shackles of birth and death. The Vishnu Kunda is also called as Manikarnika Kunda because Lord Shiva’s pearl studded ear-ring had once fallen in this Kunda.
The three presiding Deities of Kashi are Lord Vishwanath, Lord Kala Bhairava and Lord Bindu Madhav. Devotees who visit Kashi are well aware of the temples of Lord Vishwanath and Lord Kala Bhairava. However the temple of Lord Bindu Madhav is visited by very few devotees. Even the map of Varanasi does not locate the Bindu Madhav Temple. But the fact is that the pilgrimage to Kashi is incomplete without the darshan of Lord Bindu Madhav.
Bindu Madhav Temple
The temple of Lord Bindu Madhav is a small house like temple situated on the banks of River Ganga at the Panchaganga Ghat. Another popular belief is that Lord Vishnu bathed at the Panchaganga Ghat and established the Bindu Madhav Temple here. To any other person, this temple might just be like a normal building of Kashi. Unlike the other famous temples of Kashi, the Bindu Madhav Temple always has an undisturbed peace mixed with the devotion to Lord Narayana. However, the temple holds a great secret and an entry to it transfers you to the abode of Lord Vishnu. Many devotees visit Kashi to have darshan of Lord Vishwanath only, not realizing the other prominent Deities of Kashi perhaps due to the lack of knowledge about the glories of Kashi. A visit to Kashi is not complete without the darshan of Lord Bindu Madhav. Although small, the temple carves a major space in the religious arena of Kashi.
This temple was once a major center of pilgrimage. The original temple was demolished by Aurangzeb in the year 1669. Like any other prominent temples in India, the barbaric Moghul King used the pillars and other debris of the demolished temple to build the Alamgiri mosque next to it. Later in 1672, Chatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj reconstructed the present day temple and re-installed the Deity of Lord Bindu Madhav in the temple. Until then the Deity was kept submerged in the Ganga River by the pujaris from 1669 to 1672 after the demolition of the temple to protect the Deity. In the 19th century, Maratha ruler Bhawan Rao had the temple renovated.
The original Bindu Madhav temple had been described by Jean Baptise Tavernier who had come to India to deal in jewels in the mid-17th century as standing in it’s full grandeur and glory. He mentions the original temple as a cross shaped pagoda with towers on each of the four arms and a spire rising from the sanctum sanctorum. The Deity was 6 feet tall and garlanded with rubies, pearls and diamonds. Sitting before the Deity of Lord Bindu Madhav in the temple, poet Tulsidas had written about the glories of the temple. The current temple of Lord Bindu Madhav is flanked by a modest door which stands guarded by the sculpture of Hanuman and Garuda from the original temple.
The advent of Lord Bindu Madhav’s Deity
bindumaadhava ityaakha-sam trailokya vishruta
kaashyam bhavashyati mune, mahaapaapau dadhaatini
The Deity of Lord Bindu Madhav is very attractive to the mind and the soul. This is a self-manifested shaligrama vigraha. The Deity of Lord Bindu Madhav is a four handed Narayana form holding Panchajanya, Sudarshana, Lotus and Kaumodaki along with Goddess Lalshmi. The Deity is so attractive that just a glance can make you enchanted for lifetime.
There was a sage named Agni Bindu Rishi, who engaged in penance and worship of Lord Vishnu on the banks of River Gandaki in Muktinath situated in Nepal. Lord Vishnu being pleased with the penance, blessed the Rishi with boons and instructed that His Deity be installed in Kashi. The Lord also instructed that His Deity be consecrated by Sage Agni Bindu with the name taken from half of the Rishi’s name Bindu and the other half from the Lord’s name Madhav. Hence, the Deity was called Bindu Madhav. The Lord gives darshan to his devotees as Bindu Madhav in Kashi, Veni Madhav in Prayag, Sethu Madhav in Rameshwaram, Kunti Madhav in Pitapuram near Kakinada and Sundara Madhav in Thiruvananthapuram. Hence, these five places are known as Pancha Madhav Kshetras. Devotees also believe that these five Deities of Lord Madhav were installed by Indra in order to atone the sin of killing Vritrasura.
In Varanasi, the rivers Yamuna, Ganga, Saraswathi, Kirana and Dhutpapa flow as the Pancha-ganga under the shelter of Lord Bindu Madhav’s lotus feet. The Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswathi rivers together come from Prayag, whereas Kirana river which is a fierceful river originated from the sweat of Surya Deva who underwent rigid and unwavering penances to please Lord Vishnu. Dhutpapa river is the daughter of Sage Devsheera who worshipped and underwent penances to please Lord Vishnu, who on being satisfied with the penances gave a boon that anyone who has darshan of Lord Bindu Madhav after taking a bath in the Pancha-ganga rivers will be rid of all sins accumulated and will get liberated.
Festivals celebrated in Bindu Madhav Temple
Amongst all the festivals celebrated in the Bindu Madhav Temple, the Holy month of Karthika (Oct-Nov) is celebrated with great pomp. It is said that during the Karthika Month one should take a bath in the Pancha-ganga ghat during the brahma-muhurta and worship Lord Bindu Madhav along with the offering of lamps to the Lord before sunrise and after sunset. By this, devotees’ ancestors would get liberated and be guided towards Vaikuntha, the abode of Lord Vishnu.
During this month, beginning from the Sharad Purnima day to the Karthika Purnima day, mangala-arati happens at 4:00 am followed by the makhan-arati at 4:30 am, shrikhand-arati at 5:00 am and shringar-arati at 6:00 am. Along with these aratis and other sevas, the Sheshashayi Shringar happens on Devotthani Ekadashi after which the Lord wakes up on the Dvadashi that comes after Chaturmasya. On Dvadashi, after Tulsi Vivaha the Deity of Lord Bindu Madhav is taken on a horse ride. On Trayodashi, the Lord is given a Jhulan Seva. The Lord is offered a Vaikuntha Abhisheka at night. On Purnima, Panchamrita abhisheka is done at noon followed by anelephant ride and offering of 56 delicacies. At 6:00 pm, the Utsava Vigraha of Lord Bindu Madhav is taken on a pallaki ride throughout Varanasi City and the festival ends with a mesmerizing display of fireworks.
During the Karthika Month, Vaikuntha Chaturdashi is also one among the prominent festivals which marks the event of Lord Vishnu donating Kashi to Lord Shiva. In celebrations, Lord Vishnu offers Bael leaves to Lord Vishwanath and Lord Vishwanath offers tulasi leaves to Lord Bindu Madhav.
Bindu Madhav Temple Timings
05:00 am to 12:00 pm
04:00 pm to 07:00 pm
How to reach Bindu Madhav Temple
This temple can be reached by two ways. One way is to navigate through the narrow roads of Kashi from the Kala Bhairava Temple which is around 1.5 kms of a walk. The other way is to reach the temple through the Pancha-ganga ghat which one can walk from the other Ghats of Kashi such as Assi Ghat or take a boat ride from the other ghats. There are steep steps to reach the temple ascending from the Pancha-ganga Ghat which is the most magnificent section of the Varanasi riverfront and built by Akbar’s minister Todar Mal in the year 1580.22