It is an endlessly fascinating city. It’s a city whose soul permeates the hearts with spiritual satisfaction. It’s also a city of countless temples and one where something even morose and exhausting as death is treated as if it were a spiritual sojourn. Some truly call it a new beginning! There is more to Varanasi than meets the eye and greets the souls that often lurk in despair searching for the true faith.
Recently, an interesting albeit pretty straightforward question was asked on Twitter by an account called Lost Temples that read the following:
Can you identify that great city?” asked the account called Lost Temples. But it didn’t take long for none other than the Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to offer a fitting reply.
The reply from PM Modi simply read the following:
“I surely can. Had shared this picture a few years ago. This is Kashi’s Ratneshwar Mahadev Temple, in its full glory.”
As a matter of fact, the above picture was indeed shared by PM Modi in a tweet put out a few years ago, possibly around the time of his first stint as the supreme political leader of the country.
What’s interesting isn’t only the promptness with which PM Modi responded to the post pertaining to Varanasi (or Kashi), but the sharpness of memory.
As a matter of fact, Kashi, which is home to no fewer than – at least- 3,000 temples (and shrines) – is widely noted for being home to several Ghaat’s (or passages), some of which include Assi Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat and Dhashashwamdeh Ghat.
On to the significance of the temple that PM Modi was quick to identity and name, the Reatneshwar Mahadev, perceptibly dedicated to Lord Shiv, is according to some even taller than the leaning tower of Pisa.
Furthermore, there are some experts who are of the view that the said temple leans even more than the widely-noted Italian symbol nestled in the heart of Tuscany.
But the fact is- just how many of us are (or should one say, were) actually aware of this very fact?
Varanasi, it is common knowledge, is also home to one of the most prosperous universities in all of Asia, it being the Benares Hindu University (BHU), a distinguished reminder of why sanctity, spirituality, and intellect have flourished in the country.
More on the story centering on PM Modi, popular news outlet NDTV, in a report on the same Twitter occurrence noted:
PM Modi, who follows the Lost Temples account, had shared maginificent photos of Kashi in 2017 from the Dev Deepawali festival.
The Prime Minister’s tweet was liked thousands of times within minutes.
Many on Twitter had also replied to the question correctly and identified the city as Kashi or Varanasi.
That being said, if you happen to visit Varanasi, and are also interested in visiting other places of interest that may not necessarily be connected to spirituality or religion then possibly visiting the birth place of the revered Rani Laxmi Bai would be a good idea.
That being said, among the lesser known facts about Varanasi is the point that none other than Shri Rameshwar Nath Kao (popularly known as RN Kao) was born in the very city.
To the country that loves cricket and films endlessly and considers actors and cricketers as role models- often conveniently missing the fact that a solider and a homegrown entrepreneur is also a hero- it helps to know that the late RN Kao was the very man who set up India’s Research and Analysis Wing (known as R&AW).
He along with Rani Laxmi Bai (Rani of Jhansi) are also true heroes of India- are they not?