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Notable Temples of Varansi

Tulsi Manas Temple

Rana P.B. Singh

In the 1960s a rich merchant of Kolkata, Ratanlal Sureka, purchased the garden area of Bhinga Raj and built the Satyanarayana Tulasi Manas Mandir in 1964. This temple is made of marble. The temple has been made more charming by the magnificent landscaping around it. The serene surrounding welcomes the devotees with break from the jostling and madding crowds in the neighbourhood. It is believed to be built at the same place where Tulsidas wrote the famous Indian epic, Ramacharitamanasa. The temple might not look impressive but it is the simplicity in which its importance lies. Every stanza of the Ramacharitamanasa is inscribed on the inside marble wall of the temple, and splattered in glass engraved carvings with verses and scenes from the Ramacharitamanasa. In the main hall in three compact blocks there are marble images of Annapurna and Shiva; Rama, Lakshmana, Sita and Hanuman; and Lakshmi and Vishnu, respectively from left to right. At the entrance to the steps for the upper floor there is a statue of Tulasi. On the second floor there is a collection of several editions and translations of the Ramayana, kept in glass cases. In the back passage, many mobile puppets, composing different mythological scenes, are worth seeing for the entrance fee of two rupees. This electrically operated display particularly delights the villagers who flock to this temple from the rural areas around Banaras: Three-dimensional, brightly attired, animated figures from the Ramayana are shown in the various scenes Hindus know by heart. The garden and the models in the open air are also attractive.


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