Kal Bhairav Temple is one of the oldest temples in Varanasi. The word ‘Bhairav’ in Sanskrit means fearful or sometimes means beyond fear. As per most accepted interpretation, Bhairav is the one who protects his devotees from different kinds of fear. ‘Kal’ (काल) has several meanings like time, fate and death. In Kal Bhiarav, ‘kal’ means death but, here, the word ‘Kal Bhairav’ has expansion in its meaning. Kal Bhairav is the lord who saves his devotees from supernatural things, called ‘bhut-pret’ (भूत प्रेत) in local parlance. Kal Bhairav is also worshiped as a ‘tantric’ deity in Hinduism. In Hindu scriptures, he is also known as Dandapani (दण्डपाणि) as he holds a rod (danda) to punish the sinners.
In Shaivism, Kal Bhairav is worshipped as a form of Shiv that annihilates. Kal Bhairav holds different significance in Buddhism; he is considered as Bodhisattva in Vajrayana Buddhism. Kal Bhairav is worshipped in different religions in different countries like India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tibet and many other countries
Kal Bhairav, “Kashi ka Kotwal”, protects his devotees from fearful and ill things. As per legends, no one can enter or live in Varanasi premises
without the will of Kal Bhiarav. It is said that when Aurangzeb with his soldiers proceeded towards Kal Bhairav temple after destroying
Kashi Vishwanath Temple, some mad dog followed them and bit some soldiers. Those mad soldiers started to bite the other soldiers. Aurangzeb, thus, had to recede to save himself. Dog is considered the ‘savari’ (सवारी - vehicle) of Lord Kal Bhairav.
As per legends, once several great sages were discussing about supremacy among Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. According to all Vedas, Mahesh (Shiv) was decided as supreme. Brahma and Vishnu were there but Shiva appeared later as a light. With his one head Brahma stared at Shiv with anger. Shiv instantly created Kal Bhairav and asked him to punish Brahma for his action. Kal Bhairav took away that head of Brahma but that head got stuck with his hand. As killing of Brahma is considered as sin, Shiva said Kal Bhairav to go places to get rid of this sin. Kal Bhairav wandered and the head finally fell down when he entered Kashi. The place where head fell down was known as ‘Kapal Mochan Tirth’. On the same place Kal Bhairav Temple is erected. Kal Bhairav settled there forever in Kashi itself.
According to Hindu calendar, the birth of Kal Bhairav is celebrated on the Ashtami of Krishna Paksha in the month of Margsheersh. The day is celebrated on a grand scale by lighting lamps and distributing food as ‘prasad’. Kal Bhairav is worshiped by lighting 1, 25000 earthen oil lamps. The foods served as ‘prasad’ are mustard oil, laddus of besan, black gram (urad ki daal). Liquor is also offered to Kal Bhairav as it is believed that liquor is very dear to him. It is also believed that for the benefits in business one should offer the deity a horse made of sugar.
It is believed that merely by visiting Lord Kal Bhiarav different kinds of worries to get away. People who believe in ‘bhoot-pret’ (supernatural activity) claim that the black thread given in the temple saves people from all such supernatural things. Among local people, Kal Bhairav is addressed as ‘Baba’. It is believed that ‘Baba’ protects them as their elders.
The date of construction of the temple is estimated as mid-17th century AD. The present temple was rebuilt by Peshwa Baji Rao in 1715 AD. The architecture of the temple is based on tantric philosophy. Ishankon (ईशानकोण – North East Corner) holds special importance for tantric worship.
This temple is only at a distance of almost ten minutes from Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Sunday and Tuesday are considered important for the worship of Kal Bhairav. People believe that worshipping Kal Bhairav results in prosperity happiness and prevents premature death.
How To Reach: Nearest airport to Kal Bhairav Temple is at Babatpur, 12 km from city center. Babatpur Airport of Varanasi is connected with domestic as well as international flights. Varanasi is well connected by road from all parts of India hence can be reached by car, cab and buses. Varanasi railway junction is connected with trains with all major cities in India. After reaching Varanasi, one can hire auto to go to the temple.
Nearby Attractions: Kashi Vishwanatha Temple is very near to this temple. You can enjoy Ganga Aarti at
Dashashwamedh Ghat which is very famous among Indians and foreign tourists too.