cultural heritage varanasi logo
cultural heritage varanasi logo
Notable Temples of Varansi

Bharat Mata Temple

Rana P.B. Singh

A novel monument called the temple dedicated to Mother India (Bharat Mata), lies at 1 km south of the Varanasi Railway Station in the campus of Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith (university). It houses a swimming-pool-sized (9.5 x 9.5 m) relief map of undivided India in Makrana marble, with its relief, mountains, rivers and holy centres, carved out of marble on very precise and accurate vertical (1 cm = 240 m) and horizontal (1 cm = 4.05 km) scales, and correct in both longitude as well as latitude wise. This took six years of hard work involving 20 craftsmen and sculptors in making 762 marble pieces of 27.94 x 27.94cm size. One inch of the area in the map covers 6.40 miles on land and from a window installed at the ground level in the basement, the difference among the heights of the various peaks is clearly visible. It stands on 5 distinct pillars that converse in to one at the top; the five pillars signify the 5 basic elements of creation namely the earth, wind, fire, water and sky. Dr Bhagwan Das, a leading contemporary national figure and social reformer, laid the foundation stone. Babu Shivaprasad Gupta, a philanthropist and a great nationalist, under the direction of Sri Durga Prasad Khatri, a leading numismatist and antiquarian, constructed it. On 6th October 1936, Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, had inaugurated it. There is a good view from the upper balconies. Looking down at this map, the pilgrims can see at a glance the great distances that many of their ancestors travelled on foot. Take the stairs down to a small room from which one can see the vertical perspective of the relief of undivided India, comprising Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma (now Myanmar) and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). This is a unique temple in the world, where the map is conceived as archetype of goddess, i.e. Bharat Mata. Interestingly, Rashtra Kavi Maithili Sharan Gupt, one of the most renowned modern Hindi poets, wrote a poem on the inauguration of the temple which is also put up on a board in the building.


Eck, Diana L. 1982. Banaras, City of Light. Alfred Knopf Publ., New York.

Gutschow, Niels 2006. Benares, the Sacred Landscape of Varāṇasī. Edition Axel Menges, Stuttgart & London.

Lannoy, Richard 2002. Benares: A World within a World. The Microcosm of Kashi Yesterday and Tomorrow. Indica Books, Varanasi.

Margold, Harlan 1991. The Alchemist’s Almanac. Bear & Co., Santa Fe, NM.

Singh, Pratibha 2004. Śiva-Kāśi: Paurāṇic Paripekṣya aur Vartmān Saṅdarbh (Śiva-Kashi: Paurāṇic Background and Present Context). Vishvavidyalaya Prakashan, Varanasi. [in Hindi].

Singh, Rana P.B. (eds.) 1993. Banaras (Varanasi). Cosmic Order, Sacred City, Hindu Traditions. Tara Book Agency, Varanasi. [an anthology of 20 essays].

Singh, Rana P.B. 1994. Sacred Geometry of India’s Holy City, Varanasi: Kashi as Cosmogram. National Geographical Journal of India (N.G.S.I., Varanasi. ISSN: 0027‑9374/ 0944), vol. 40: pp. 189‑216.

Singh, Rana P.B.  2004. Cultural Landscapes and the Lifeworld. The Literary Images of Banaras. Pilgrimage and Cosmology Series: 7. Indica Books, Varanasi.

Singh, Rana P.B. 2009. Banaras: Making of India’s Heritage City. (Planet Earth & Cultural Understanding, Series Pub. 3). Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne U.K.

Singh, Rana P.B. 2009. Banaras, India’s Heritage City: Geography, History, & Bibliography.     [including Bibliography of 1276 sources, Hindu Festivals, 2006-15]. Pilgrimage and Cosmology Series: 8. Indica Books, Varanasi.

Singh, Rana P.B. and Rana, Pravin S. 2018. Kashi and Cosmos, India: Pilgrimage Circuit of the Panchakroshi Yatra; in, Olsen, Daniel and Trono, Anna (eds.) Religious Pilgrimage Routes and Trails: Sustainable Development and Management.  CABI Publishers, Wallingford, Oxon U.K.: pp. 167 - 179.

Singh, Rana P.B. and Rana, Pravin S. 2002. Banaras Region. A Spiritual and Cultural Guide. Pilgrimage & Cosmology Series: 1. Indica Books, Varanasi. 2nd ed. 2006; pp. 161-174.

Singh, Rana P.B. 2002. Towards the Pilgrimage Archetype. The Panchakroshi Yatra of Banaras. Pilgrimage & Cosmology Series: 3. Indica Books, Varanasi. 2nd Ed. 2011.

Sukul, Kuberanāth 1977 (Samvata 2034). Vārānasī Vaibhava. (The Glory of Varanasi). Rastrabhasha Parishad, Patna. [in Hindi].

crossmenucross-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram