Durga temple, also known as the "monkey temple"
is one of the important temples of Varanasi. This temple is dedicated to
Goddess Durga. The Durga temple was built in the eighteenth century. A
Bengali Maharani built the Durga temple in Nagara Style (the North
Indian style of temple architecture). It is stained red with ochre and
has a multi-tiered shikhara (spire). The Durga temple is situated on a
rectangular tank, called the Durga Kund. According to the Puranas,
Goddess Durga has kept this place for many centuries and protects the
holy city, Varanasi, from the South.
According to legends, the present statue of Goddess Durga was not made
by man but appeared on its own in the temple. The Durga temple is also
called Monkey temple because of the presence of large number of monkeys.
In Hinduism, Durga is represented as the embodiment of shakti or female
power, clad in red, riding a tiger and fully armed with Shiva's trident,
Vishnu's discus and a sword. Non-Hindus can enter the courtyard of the
Durga temple but not the inner sanctum. Thousands of Hindu devotees
visit the Durga temple during Navratri and other auspicious occasions.