Kal Bhairav Temple is one of the ancient temples of Lord Shiva that can be found in Varanasi. This temple has a strong link with the history and culture of the city. Kal Bhairav Temple is the fiercest form of Lord Shiva. The deity is portrayed as a man wearing garlands made with human skull. It is said that the death itself is afraid of this form of Lord Shiva. It is said that Kal bhairav decides who has to stay in Varanasi and who should not. People of Varanasi get permission from the deity before leaving the town for any reason. Anyone visiting Varanasi should visit the temple first and get permission to enter into Varanasi, according to folklore.
The temple is located in Visheshar Ganj in Varanasi. Auto, rickshaw and others easily access the temple. It is just 10 minutes away from the Kashi Vishwanath temple.
The temple is open from 5 in the morning until 1:30 pm and, from 4:30 pm until 9:30 pm.Eight day after full moon day in November is an auspicious day and you can find numerous rituals in the temple. Sunday and Tuesdays are considered important days for the deity. Other important festivals in the temple are Annakut (fourth day from Diwali) and Shringar.
The temple entrance is narrow and one can see the deity from the entrance. It is a famous activity to buy sesame oil and flowers for the deity but, not mandatory. There are shops outside the temple to buy the flowers and other items. Unlike many other temples, alcohol is offered to the God.
The entry to the inner sanctum of the temple is on the backside of the temple and only priests can enter. The ferocious God is seen with his celestial vehicle, dog. As you walk around the temple, you will find holy men seated with a fan made with peacock feather. They will wave it on the pilgrims to wade off sins and bless them.
There is no entry fee for the temple.
Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma are the three main Gods of Hinduism. Once, Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu got into a fight regarding who is the supreme among all three. All the Vedas pronounced Lord Shiva as the supreme power. Both Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma laughed at this conclusion. Shiva got angry and went into a rage that created a ferocious light.
Lord Vishnu surrendered but Lord Brahma continued to stare at the light, which caused one of his heads to burn out. The light that was created by Lord Shiva became a being called as Kal. Kal walked around the world with the head of Brahma in his hand. When he entered Kashi, the head dropped to the ground and his sins washed away. Kaal stayed back in Varanasi.
The exact date of construction of the temple is not known. With the help of literature, it is assumed to be in 17th century.
Shops for souvenir shopping can be found outside the temple. You can find a few street shops that sell delicacies. More shops are found during auspicious dates.