The Varanasi Heritage Dossier/Dharmakupa Kshetra
25º 18.602’ North and 83º 00.728’ East (Dharmakupa, centre) 25º 18.605’ North and 83º 00.696’ East (Vishvabahuka Devi)
Exact location on a map
near Mir Ghat, Dharmakupa, D 2 / 15
-- One can reach the temple by following the Godaulia-Chauk road, then turning to the right from Bansphatak towards the Ganga, and walking through the narrow lane. Coming out from the Vishalakshi temple on the left one finds a gate to the campus of the Dharmakupa, “Well of Dharma”, surrounded by thirty votive shrines and shaded banyan and fig trees. There is Shiva temple of Dharmesha, where the Lord of Death, called Yamaraja or Dharmaraja, received his jurisdiction over the fate of the dead, a power he wields everywhere on earth except in Kashi. Of course, not so popular among the devout Hindus, the Linga of Dharmeshvara (“lord of Moral Order”) is eulogised in the Kashi Khanda as unique, the most powerful. The lord of death, Yama, is considered to be the divine authory for making judgement of a person’s deeds in his/her life. Yama is described as son of Sun god, Surya. This myth clearly indicates the integration of the ancient tradition of sun worshap and its emergence in the Shaiva tradition. Here also is the linga established by mythical king Divodasa before he finally left Kashi. He was described as the supreme king of maintaining the law of nature that resulted to making the land of Kashi holy and divine. All the divinities and their followers were outthrown from the city. Later Shiva sent several groups of the divine beings who got settled in the city. At the climax of the myth, Divadasa installed a linga in memory of this incidence, called Divodasheshvara, lying in a small shrine west of the Dharmakupa. In the same compound are two other ancient and folk goddesses, vis. Vishvabahuka/ Vishvabhuja and Vindhyavasini. There are fragments of ancient images inside the chamber. In the north of Divodasheshvara under a banyan tree is an image of Vata Savitri Devi, representing the goddess of the tree spirit. Till 15th century the area was known for holy trees, where the great yogis were performing meditation. The area was known as Ananadavana (“Forest of the Bliss”). Vata (Ficus Indica) is one among the five sacred tress described in the Rig Vedic literature (ca 1500 BCE), and still continued in healing practices and the living rituals. Vata is associated with Vishnu.
Present state of conservation
There is no such specific organisation to take care of preservation and conservation, however the temple trust with the cooperation of local people do preservation in their own way.
Specific measures being taken for conserving the specific property
No specific measures are taken to conserve and preserve the monastery, however cleanliness, repairing and white washing are carried at regular basis by the devout Hindus.
The temples are administered and managed by the temple trust.