If Varanasi is the town of Lord Shiva and a playground of his many games of fate that has been played here for centuries, then Vindhyachal would be the home of the holy triad of Goddesses, Vindhyavasini, Kali and Ashtabhuja.
Even after my home being 3 hours away from Varanasi from where Vindhyachal is just 2 hour away, I never got a chance to visit this land, until this time. My continuous visits to Varanasi were limited to the ghats here and nothing beyond that.
The month of June marks the beginning of monsoon in Uttar Pradesh. Vindhyachal in all its glory is best when visited during this time. The landscape is unlike any other place. Surrounded by the lush green hills of Vindhya Ranges, the sleepy little town of Vindhyachal feels mesmerizing with all the natural and tranquil beauty.
How to reach Vindhyachal
Road – Vindhyachal is accessible from Varanasni and Allahabad. Regular buses of UP state transport run till Vindhyachal from where, all the temples are accessible by auto-rickshaws.
Rail – Local trains plying between Manikpur – Mughalsarai rail route stop at Vindhyachal station. These trains are cheap but are often late and very slow as they stop at very halt that comes on the way. You can also take a train till Mirzapur railway station and continue your journey on a local bus or on a shared auto-rickshaw.
Air – Varanasi airport is the nearest airport from where the further journey can be continued by bus, train or car.
Stay options in Vindhyachal
A majority of tourists take an early morning bus or train and reach Vindhyachal by 8 AM. They explore the town and return by 5 PM.
Since Vindhyachal doesn’t have a lot to offer, it is a wise idea to stay in Varanasi and then visit this town on a day trip.
FabHotel Uma Palace, a property of FabHotels, is an ideal hotel to stay in Varanasi. Located in Cantonment area of Varanasi, Uma Palace is free from the hustle bustle of the main town of Banaras. With comfortable rooms and luxurious amenities like complimentary breakfast, centralized air conditioning, on call service and an extensive menu of amazing delicacies from a fine selection of menu makes this place worth considering, especially, if you are not too keen on staying on the crowded side of the town. The cosy beds are perfect to kill your tiredness endured on the journey or taking long walks on the Ghats. I got a 60% discount by using STAYFAB Coupon Code during booking my accommodation.
Vindhyachal too, has a number of small guest houses, and some resorts that offer a closer experience with the hills and the beauty of the town. But most of them are overpriced and lacks professional staff. Since the pilgrims keep coming on a regular basis, the hotel owners are confident that the rooms will get occupied even if one guest goes away.
Vindhyachal – The holy shaktipeeth
Vindhyachal is one of the holy shaktipeeths in the world where the back of Devi Sati fell. It was Vindhyachal where Devi Parvati did her tapasya to impress Lord Shiva so that he accepts her as his wife. It is valued among the Indian pilgrims because the most powerful female entities from Hindu Mythology, Devi Mahalakshmi (Goddess of wealth and prosperity), Devi Sarswati (Goddess of knowledge) and Devi Mahakali (Goddess of power and strength) reside here. It is also said that Shiva presented Lord Vishnu with his Sudarshan Chakra, right here.
The Vindhya ranges are best to be experienced during the monsoon season. The month of June marks the time when occasional drizzles start. Unlike Banaras than burns in extreme hot temperatures all the time, Vindhyachal’s weather becomes pleasant and gentle. The beautiful jungles and the high peaks of this range result in creation of multiple waterfalls which are then used as picnic spots by the locals. The famous Lakshmania Dari is one such scenic spot that is worth hiking if you want to skip temple hopping and spend your time amidst the nature.
Temple hopping in Vindhyachal
While waterfalls and jungle tails are worth doing, the routes doesn’t offer safety unless you are with a local guide. Also, since there is no management by local and UP tourism, safety is not guaranteed.
Vindhyanchal as some of the very important temples so you can expect a crowd during the morning hours. You can jump the queue by offering some donation to the pandas. I personally stand in the long lines to save some money.
Lal Bhairav Temple
Every purana and Holy Scripture of Hindu religion talks about the presence of a Bhairava wherever the Shaktipeeth is located. Lal Bhairav Temple is located just outside Vindhyachal, inside of whose sanctum sanctorum, a 6 feet high statue of Lal Bhairav stands tall.
A km away from the beautiful Ganges, the main temple of Goddess Vindhyavasini is located. The temple area is bustling with shops selling prassad, toys and other items you can purchase as souvenirs.
According to Shrimad Devi Bhagwatam, Vindhyavasni temple has a special importance among all the 108 Shaktipeethas, 3 supreme powers in their female forms reside in this temple. Maha Lakshmi, Maha Kali and Maha Saraswati are worshipped here. Devi Parvati performed her havan to win Lord Shiva as her husband. Rameshwaram Linga is the place where Lord Rama performed Shraadh – Tarpan of his ancestors. This place is now located at Rameshwar Ghat.
I would suggest that you should not pay donations for skip the queue, as it takes maximum 15 minutes to enter the temple, unless it is a special occasion like Navratri. The idol of the Goddess, is 5 feet tall, black in color, and her silver eyes give special effect when you gaze at the goddess. The whole idol is covered with flowers.
Vindhyavasni Temple is a part of the Trikon Parikrama. One must visit the Kali Koh (the temple of Goddess Kali) and Ashtabhuja Temple (the temple of Goddess Saraswati). This way you can complete your visit to Vindhyachal Dham.
After exploring this beautiful town, I took another rickety bus to Banaras. After a 3 hour journey, I reached my hotel and retired on the comfy bed of Hotel Uma Palace.
Banaras is filled with surprises other than ghats and temples. Those who wish to experience a different world need to visit these place and get the best out of their Banaras trip.