9th June, 2017
Our guide, Santosh ji, told us that the right time to go for darsan of Baba ji (Sree Kashi Vishwanath, main temple) is early in the morning, before 6 o’clock. A person named Dileep guided us to the temple. He understands Telugu but spoke in beautiful Hindi. We went to Dashashwamedh Ghat first. Offered prayers to Ganga and then proceeded towards Vishwanath Mandir through all those narrow lanes. I wonder how people here remember the lanes without getting lost. They’re like a hypnotizing maze. On top of it, people of Kashi do not have the word “cleanliness” in their dictionary. Plus the constant reasonless honking. Also, given that it’s June 9th, although monsoon hit Hyderabad, it wouldn’t hit Uttar Pradesh until June 22nd. So, it was very hot here. As a result of all this, even before reaching the temple I got headache.
As we reached the temple early, the crowd was not heavy and we had a quick darsan. From Vishwanath Mandir we went to Mata Annapurna Mandir which is quite close to Vishwanath Mandir. It’s a beautiful temple. People were performing Kumkum Puja in the temple premises. As it was Friday, Amma also wanted to perform Kumkum Puja. After the Puja, we went to Vishalakshi Mata temple. Unlike temples in South India, temples in Kashi do not have a large compound or monumental towers (gopuram). They are all just like houses. Nothing extravagant. Even the deities are treated like family. Lord Shiva, Vishwanath ji, is called as Baba (father) by the localites and Mata Annapurna and Mata Vishalakshi as Maa ji (mother).
Dileep ji, our guide, is from a weaver’s family. From Vishalakshi Mandir, he took us to his place where they sell the famous Benarasi sarees. There were various kinds of sarees, each one beautiful in its own way. We purchased two sarees of Benarasi Silk.
From there we went to Kalabhairava Mandir. Kashi yatra is not considered to be complete until Kalabhairava’s darsan. From there, we went to our room to rest for some time, to allow the brain to process and get ready to take in more for the day.