Bharat Mata Temple
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Bharat Mata Temple is like any of its counterparts located near and far- the glorious and historical temples depicting wonderful carvings and architecture, and visited by numerous people throughout the year. However, there is one chief characteristic that sets it apart from other shrines and temples- there is not a single idol or deity inside the complex. Instead, the temple houses a map of ‘Pre-independence era’ India carved out of marble and famous as the perfect exhibition of scales both longitude as well as latitude wise.
Bharat Mata Temple as the name suggest is dedicated to Mother India, the human manifestation of Indian nation. The complex was borne out as a result of a vision by India’s two nationalist- Babu Shiv Prasad and Shri Durga Prasad Khatri who was also a reputed numismatist and antiquarian. They were amused to see that the cultural city of Varanasi had temples & shrines belonging to several religions and faiths, but none that exemplified the unity in diversity that India possessed- and the Bharat Mata temple was built in 1936 to address the same issue.
Located inside the Kashi Vidyapeeth Campus, the structural design of the temple comprises of 5 pillars which converge into one at the top. The 5 pillars stand for the 5 basic elements of creation namely earth, wind, fire, water and sky, whereas their convergence at the top implies that ultimately these elements merge with the Supreme (The Brahma). And as a fitting tribute to the values for which it stands for, the temple was inaugurated by none other than Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation.
The map placed inside was built from marble bought from Makrana and is a three dimensional figure with just the right proportions depicting oceans, lands and hills. As the temple was constructed prior to India’s independence, the map comprises of undivided India. The plains, oceans and mountains are all carved with a lot of precision with attention being given to even minor details. Today, the Bharat mata temple is venerated by all Indians irrespective of their caste, creed or religion.