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Named after a celebrated Bengali lawyer and freedom fighter from India's Independence Struggle, the Chitaranjan Das Park occupies a quiet spot off the busy Dasashwamedh Road. One is likely to encounter crippled beggars, sadhus (holy men) and vagrants who lounge around seeking respite under the leafy trees here. The monsoons witness a flurry of activity in the form of free distribution of food to the less fortunate.
A historic temple considered to be over 2000 years old, Dharmesh Temple is a well-worthy site to visit near the Hotel Alka in Meer Ghat. The preserved atmosphere has a serene vibe and the surrounding areas are inhabited by families who conduct the religious rituals at the temple. The historic 'well,' located in the same premises, known as 'Dharmesh Koop' is also a sacred sight to watch. The old 'Shanidev Tree' is another spectacle in the compound. Do visit the temple and talk to the people around who will explain the rich history willingly.
The fierce manifestation of Lord Shiva, 'Kaal Bhairav' is a god of destruction and is ardently worshiped in many parts of India and Nepal. The Kaal Bhairav Temple of Varanasi is a major stop for pilgrims who are captivated by its atmosphere and vivid colors. The temple has a silver idol in the sanctum which is filled with incense and lamps. Established in the 18th Century, this temple has a demonstration of nine planets and the walls have pictorial representations of mythological characters. The narrow road, the crammed entrance, and the vendors selling black ceremonial threads inside give an intriguing feel to this popular religious sight.
Part of the Man Mahal Palace which was built by the legendary Raja Man Singh, the Man Mandir Observatory was added in the 1730's by the equally gallant Sawai Jai Singh II. Till date, the ancient astronomical instruments have been well-preserved and provide an astonishing insight into how much our forefathers knew even centuries ago. Exquisite painted ceilings and palatial windows which double up as balconies are a big draw with visitors who are thrilled by the expansive views of the entire western and eastern banks of the Ganges that can be seen from the spacious terrace.
With a mythological tale attached to it this is one of the most visited among the numerous temples in Varanasi. Known as 'Shakti Peetha,' the story says the earrings of Sati, Lord Shiva's consort, fell here while she died and the place came to know as Manikarni. Although historians differ in their opinions, the name Visalakshi denotes the vast-eyed divinity that is omnipresent. A marked south Indian accent is noted in the construction and the bright colors used. Visalakshi Temple is a must-visit site near Alka Hotel and Dharmesh Temple.
Perched on the terrace of the magnificent Man Mahal Palace, Jantar Mantar is Varanasi's prime observatory, designed to the likes of the ones found in New Delhi and Jaipur. Constructed by Maharaja Jai Singh in they year 1737, the science museum showcases various milestones of India achieved in the field of astrology and science. Apart from serving its main purpose of helping determine stars and planet positions, it also helps to measure altitude, local standard time and the sun position.