The Varanasi Heritage Dossier/Lakshminarayan and Sangameshvara, Assi
25º 17.358’ North and 83º 00.356’ East (Lakshminarayana
Exact location on a map
At Asi Ghat ascending about 20 steps up in the right is Lakshminarayana temple, and by turning left in the lane one meets the Asi Sangameshvara. (Hariharbaba Ashram, No. B 1/ 75). 4.Area (in ha.) of proposed property: 0.01ha (Lakshminarayana temple); and 0.006ha (Asi Sangameshvara)
Lakshminarayana Pancharatna Mandir: Close to the Asi Ghat, the Queen Dulari Radhakunvar of Surasand Estate, Bihar, who purchased the land in 1902 from the then king of Banaras Prabhunarayan Singh, has built Lakshminarayan Temple in the early 20th century. This 5-spired Vaishnavite temple is built on a ca 4m high platform and consists of a five spires-temple. The main temple consists of a mandapa (pavilion) and a semi-mandapa. The inner sanctum is rectangular in shape and having three gates. The main gate faces to the east. At the entrance in the upper part there is an image of Ganesha. In the inner sanctum there is a eight-metal image of Lakshinayayana, and at the four corners are images of Shiva, Radha-Krishna, Rama-Sita and Lakshmana. There also is an image of Mayureshvara Shiva. In the medieval period, 11-12th century a tradition of Pancayatan style of inner sanctum has developed; according there should be images of Surya (sun-god), Ganesha, goddess Parvati, Vishnu, and at the centre Shiva. However in this temple, the rule has not been followed on that line. According to a legend, before the finial consecration of the spire the queen died (27 June 1927), therefore the kalsha has not been installed there.
Asi Sangameshvara: This temple (of “the Lord of the confluence of Asi”) is marked with a marble plaque to commemorate the puranic heritage of the site. In the 14th century text, the Kashi Khanda this temple is eulogised vividly, especially with reference to various pilgrimages like Pancakroshi, Nagara Pradakshina, Kedarkhanda, etc.. Built in the 19th century on a small square, the temple consists of only the inner sanctum and lacks the surrounding veranda for circumambulation. Of course, there are four gates facing to all the directions. In the inner sanctum there also exists the Baneshvara linga, and in the niches there are images of Ganesha, Vishnu, Surya and Annapurna. This is an example of a simple Nagara style of architecture. In the November of 1987, the family members of (late) Mahabir Prasad Jhunjhunwala have repaired and renovated the temple.
Description and History
Present state of conservation
Both the temples are looked after by the respective temple trusts, and in fact, there is no such plans and programmes for conservation. The temple of Lakshminarayana is managed by trust and has less interference from the local bodies, because this temple has no puranic connection.
Specific measures being taken for conserving the specific property
No specific measures are taken to conserve and preserve the temples, except to continue and maintain the daily religious activities by the Pujari’s family living therein, and sometimes some devotees donate for the cleanness and repairing.
The temples are owned by individual trusts and committees.