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Vindhyachal is a famous city in the District Mirzapur of the state Uttar Pradesh in the northern India region. Vindhyachal Dham is famous for its Hindu Pilgrimage because there are many famous Temples of Maa Vindhyavasini- she is the generous manifestations of Maa Durga or Maa Amba. As per MarkandeyaPurana, Maa Vindhyavasini had incarnated to slay demon Mahishasur. The river Ganga runs through this city Vindhyachal. The Vindhyachal is situated in the vicinity of and exactly in the middle of Prayag (Allahabad) and Kashi (Varanasi), two most famous religious places of India, getting benefit of their combined energy.
History of Vindhyachal
In Vindhyachal, Vindhya is the initial name of Goddess Vindhyavasini (Vindhyachal Mata) and Achal means mountain. Vindhyachal is a mythological place that gains its honours from the great epics, myths and scriptures. As per them, Vindhyachal is considered to be the residence of Goddess Amba.
Goddess Vindhyavasini has been described in many scriptures, e.g. Mahabharat, Vaaman Puran, Markandeya Puran, Matsya Puran, Devi Bhagavat, Harivansh Puran, Skand Puran, Raja Taranginee, Brihat Katha, Kadambaree and many Tantra scriptures.
This is the only place in the world, associated with ‘Shakti’ cult of Hinduism, where ‘Devi’ is worshipped in ‘Vaam maarg’ as well as ‘Dakshina Maarg’. This is also only place in the world, where all three forms of Goddesses e.g. Lakshmi, Kali and Saraswati, can be worshipped. Temples dedicated to these three Goddesses form spiritually very potent ‘Trikona’ (Trine).
In the ancient period, the whole area was surrounded by thick forests, inhabited by Lions, Elephants etc. But, in the present time, for all practical purposes, it has converted into a modern township.
Attractions at Vindhyachal
Literal meaning of the word ‘Vindhyavasini’, who is also fondly called as ‘Vindhyachal Maï’ (Mother of Vindhyachal) or ‘Vindhyavasini Maï’ (Mother Vindhyavasini) by her devotees, is the Goddess, who stays in Vindhya area. All the idols, including that of Ma Vindhyavasini, are of black stone. The Vindhyavasini Devi is depicted as seated on the Lion. She represents Goddess Lakshmi out of trinity of Hindu Goddesses.
The Mantra of Ma Vindhyavasini is Om Hreem Mahalakshmai Namah (ॐ ह्रीं महालक्ष्म्यै नमः). She is protector deity of areas coming under the purview of eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. An interesting fact is that IST (Indian Standard Time) line passes exactly through the idol of Ma Vindhyavasini.
Kalikhoh Temple: Literal meaning of Kali Khoh is Cave of Kali. This famous Goddess Maha Kali temple is situated in the ranges of Vindhya Mountain. Initially, it was in the shape of a cave, but with the passage of time, it has lost its original shape and transformed into a traditional temple.
The idol of Goddess Kali in the Kalikhoh temple has open mouth towards sky, reminding incarnation, the Goddess took to annihilate demon Raktabeej (Literal meaning- Seed of blood). It is described in the ‘Durga Saptashati’ of Markandeya Purana, that during fight of Goddess Vindhyavasini and Demon Mahishasur, demon Raktabeej (literal meaning seed of blood) came to assist Mahishasur.
When attacked by Ma Durga, each blood drop coming out of the body of Raktabeej would transform into another Raktabeej, due to power of special boon granted to him. So with each blow, there were thousands of another Raktabeejas, hinting no end of this celestial battle.
Although, small rivulets and waterfalls surrounding this temple have almost dried up, but remnants of forests still give a feel of proximity to nature to the visitors. Monkeys with black mouth and long tails abound in the area surrounding the temple. A flight of 122 stone stairs lead visitors to the mountains, consisting of the places, Gerua Talab, Motia Talab, Sita Kund, Ashtabhuja etc.
Ashtabhuja Devi Temple: Ashtabhuja Temple is situated on the northern furthermost part of the Divine Trikona (Trine) consisting of Ma Vindhyavasini Temple (Lakshmi), Ma Kaali (Kali) and Ma Ashtabhuja (Saraswati). It is the 3rd tangent of Vindhyachal Trikon Parikrama. The Temple derived its name from the Goddess Ashtabhuja, who had taken birth to Nand and Yashoda, foster parents of Lord Krishna in the Dwapar Age, and was bought to Mathura by Vasudev in the prison of King Kansa. When Kansa tried to kill infant girl child, she escaped from him, and came to this place after proclaiming to the Kansa, that the child, who will kill him, has already taken birth and is quite safe.
Tara Devi Temple: Tara Devi Temple is a famous temple at Vindhyachal, dedicated to Goddess Tara. This temple is a popular Tantric Vidya learning centre. This is located near Ramgaya Ghat which is famous Funeral Ghat.
Rameshwar Mahadev Temple: this famous temple is located near to Ramagaya Ghat (wharf). This is the centre of Vindhyachal Trikon Parikrama. Lord Rama had mounted this huge Shivlingam after liberation, in the memory of his ancestors.
Sita Kund: SitaKund is a historical place at Vindhyachal. When Lord Rama, Maa Sita and Lakshman were crossing Vindhyas, they felt thirsty. Unable to find any water tank or any water body, Lakshman took his bow and arrow and shot into the ground to bring out water. This temple was constructed in the memory of this trio. Nearby is a place, which is called Sita Rasoi (Kitchen of Goddess Sita).
BudheNath temple: This is famous temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva.
NaradGhat: KuvaiGhat is the ancient name of this famous NaradGhat. At the top of the NaradGhat, four important idols (Naradeshvara, Dattatreyeshvara, Atrishvara, and Vasukishvara) are located.
Gerua talab: it is the famous ancient pond at Vindhyachal, which falls in the way from Kali Khoh to Ashta Bhuja. The pond gets its name from the peculiar soil surrounding it. The pond is surrounded by a few temples, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Lord Krishna (SakshiGopal Temple) etc.
Motiya talab: Mentioned in the Ripley’s Believe it or Not, this beautiful big pond is dedicated to a loyal dog, named Moti, who had sacrificed his life for his master.
Bhairav temple: By traditions, all Shaktipiths are protected by Bhairavas from the four directions. Most famous out of all Bhairavas of Vindhyachal is Bhairava near Ashtabhuja Temple. Surrounding areas are very famous for Tantrik activities. Nearby Bhairava Kund is actually a natural spring, famous for its herbal properties.
Lal Bhairav temple: Lal Bhairav Temple is one of the most famous holy places at Vindhyachal. As per old Myths, it is believed that a small statue of Lord Laal Bhairav was placed in the temple, which grew taller every year.
Ekdant Ganesh: this is the famous temple of Lord Ganesha in his famous EkDanta form.
SaptaSarovar: These seven water bodies of Vindhyachal are devoted to seven famous Rishis of Hindus.
Goraksha-kund: Goraksha Temple is a scared place devoted to Lord Gorakhanath.
Matsyendrakund: MatsyendraKundis devoted to Guru Matsyendra- the Guru of Lord Gorakhnath.
TarkeshwarNath temple: it is a famous Holy shrine devoted to Lord TarkeshwarNath- another name of lord Shiva.
Devaraha Baba Ashram: This ashram, established by late Devaraha Baba is situated around 10 KMs from the Vindhyavasini Temple. Currently, headed by Hansa Baba, who was disciple of late Devaraha Baba, is spread in a very large area; and is popular among the devotees of late Devaraha Baba. The ashram has temples and stay facilities.
Kankali Devi temple: The temple was built in ancient times.This temple is devoted to Goddess Kali.
Shivashiv Samooh Awadhoot Ashram: this Ashram is devoted to Lord Shiva.
Best Time to Visit Vindhyachal
Things to Buy in Vindhyachal
Disputes Regarding management of Vindhyavasini Temple
Location of Vindhyachal: 8 km far from District Mirzapur, 70 km far from Varanasi, 83 km far from Allahabad, in the southern portion of eastern Uttar Pradesh, India.
How to reach: Vindhyachal is a famous holy place and this is the reason, it is well-linked with rest of India through different means of transport. Before making reservation for Vindhyachal holiday packages, go through the info related to transports.
Road- regular bus service from Allahabad, Varanasi and other small towns near Vindhyachal.