“Monkey Temple” is the sobriquet given to a popular temple called “Durga Mandir” located in Varanasi Uttar Pradesh. This temple holds great religious significance and is devoted to Goddess Durga. It was constructed during the 18th century by the “Bengali Queen” a.k.a. Bengali Maharani. The premise of this popular temple consists of a pond (kund) which at one point in time was connected to the “sacred” river Ganga. Important travel information related to this “religious” Hindu shrine is as follows.
a. Best time to visit Durga Mandir:
The ideal season to visit this religious city is in between October and March as the climate is extremely pleasant during this period with, temperature ranging from a maximum of 32 degree Celsius to a minimum of 5 degree Celsius.
b. How to reach Durga Mandir?
Durga Mandir Map
1. By train:
This holy city possesses its own railway station. The Varanasi Railway Station is well connected to major cities in the country.
2. By road:
There are a number of bus services that connect Varanasi to major cities across the country that include Delhi, Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Jaunpur etc.
3. By air:
This extremely “pious” city possesses its own airport. The Varanasi Airport is well connected to most of the major cities in the country.
c. Religious significance:
The origin of this temple has been mentioned in the sacred Hindu scripture known as the “Devi Bhagvata Purana” in chapter (adhyaya) 23. According to this text Kashi Naresh, the King of Varanasi had once called for a “swayamvar” (i.e. an ancient practice of selecting a husband) for his daughter Sashikala. It was only later that the king realized that his daughter was in love with a prince called Sudarshan. As a result of which the king discreetly got his daughter married to the love of her life. Things unfortunately though took an ugly turn when the kings who were awaiting the swayamvar received the news of the marriage of Shashikala and they declared war against Naresh. It was just before the war commenced that Prince Sudarshan (who fought along with King Naresh) prayed to Goddess Durga for success. Once the battle was accomplished Naresh requested Goddess Durga to protect the city of Varanasi as a result of which this temple was built.