Adi Keshav Temple in Varanasi is near the stream where River Varuna meets River Ganga. And the ghat near this temple is known as
Adi Keshav Ghat or Raj Ghat. It is said that when Lord Vishnu had incarnated on the earth, it was the place where he put his feet. As per few legends, this was built by Lord Vishnu himself. As per some scriptures, Lord Shiva, having desire to get Kashi from king Divodas, sent gods along with Ganesha. But, by seeing the beauty of the city no one returned to Shiva. Then, Shiva sent Vishnu. Lord Vishnu put his feet in Kashi at this very place. Hence, the place is also known as Padodak (पादोदक). Lord Vishnu took bath in Sangam (confluence of Ganga & Varuna) and, then, with a statue of stone, he established himself as a deity. This later was known as Adi Keshav Temple.
As per prevalent belief, Adi Keshav Temple is more than 4000 years old. In Vedeshwarain Ghadavala Inscription, Adi Keshav Ghat finds its mention. The term ‘Vedeshwara’ means Lord of Vedas in Sanskrit, hinting at temples historical antiquity & originality. Adi Keshav Temple was built, destroyed & rebuilt several times over several centuries. Decrepit temple was rebuilt by the king of Garhwal which was destroyed in 1194 AD. During the reign of Mughals, when it was destroyed, Adi Keshav Temple was again built by Diwan of Gwalior King Scindia in 1807 AD. Located above the ghat on the confluence of Ganga & Varuna, the architecture of Adi Keshav Temple is based on Kathmandu style of architecture. Since all of the nearby temples are built in Indian architectural style, hence, this temple looks unique among all the temples. The temple has Adi Keshav Sangameshwara Lingam which is related to Lord Vishnu. In general, we worship the ‘lingam’ of Lord Shiva, but in this temple you can witness the worship of the only ‘lingam’ of Lord Vishnu.
Since, the temple, far away from the city center where most of the famous temples are located, and, hence, Adi Keshav Ghat, adjacent to the temple, is less busy. One can enjoy pleasant panoramic views from here while riding on boat. The ghat is at one extreme in the series of ghats. The ghat is very clean and peaceful.
Kashi is said to be Lord Shiva’s city and the presiding deity in most of the temples is Lord Shankar. As a result, the rituals & religious
offerings are performed in a particularly defined way. Being a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, different kinds of rituals are observed in Adi Keshav Temple.
It reflects diverse cultural practices and harmonious co-existence of various faiths. Three grand celebrations are held in this temple – Varuni Parv,
Baman Dwadashi Mela & Nagar Parikrama. These festivals are celebrated according to the months of Hindu calendar. First festival is celebrated in the month of
Chaitra on trayodashi of Krishna Paksha. This festival is known as Varuni Parva. A fair is organized in the surroundings of temple and people congregate here
to take sacred bath in the Ganga-Varuna Sangam. The second festival is celebrated in Bhadrapad month on Dwadashi of Shukla Paksha. The festival is known
as Baman Dwadashi Mela. The third festival is Nagar Parikrama on the first tithi (date) of Paush month. In this festival people visit the city and then
take holy bath in the ‘sangam’. Panchkosii Yatra is one more celebration participated by a large number of devotees. Panchkosi Parikrama holds great
religious importance. In this too people take bath in ‘sangam’ after travelling for five ‘kos’ (कोस).
How to reach: Varanasi is linked with all major cities of India by flights. The Babatpur airport is merely 15 km from the city center. Being a flourishing historical city and cultural destination since time immemorial, Varanasi is linked by road from all parts of India. Even the city can be accessed through waterways from Kolkata, Patna, Mirzapur etc. Train & bus connectivity is frequent and easy. After reaching Varanasi, one can hire auto/ rickshaw/ cab to go to Adi Keshav Temple. The temple is almost at a distance of 8 km from Cantt railway station.
Other Attractions: The sunrise of Varanasi is very famous; one can enjoy the peace of morning at
ghats of Varanasi by inhaling breezing fresh air while hearing the sounds of flowing water and birds. Ghats can be visited anytime.
One can also enjoy famous Ganga Aarti on Dashashwamedh Ghat.