The ancient city of Prayagraj is revered for its spiritual potency, deep connection to Maryada Purushottam Rama and the Ramayana and the repository of knowledge and wisdom, Bharadwaja Brahmarshi. Bharadwaja Brahmarshi, one of the Sapta Rishis of Kali Yuga (the others are Kasyapa, Atri, Vishwamitra, Gautama, Jamadagni and Vashistha) is venerated by scholars and those well-versed in the Hindu scriptures as the epitome of the quintessence of the Vedas. His understanding and experience of the Supreme Truth is expressed in several texts that are so progressive in its composition and subject that it has baffled accomplished scientists, architects, doctors, engineers and metallurgists.
According to the Ramayana, the ashrama of Bharadwaja Brahmarshi was on the bank of the Ganges. The ashrama had plenitude of sweet-smelling flowers, fruits, trees, birds and animals and is likened to an ethereal garden. The ashrama itself was a Gurukula with sages and eager disciples observing the tenets of dharma, yāga, yagna, dāna (charity), dhyāna (meditation and self-enquiry) and tapas (penance and austerities).
It is here that he first met Lord Rama, Sita Mata and Lakshmana at the commencement of their exile. The pious sage imparted knowledge on the purpose of one’s existence and advised Lord Rama to head to Chitrakoot. It is here that Bharata on hearing the events that had transpired in his absence rushed with Shatrughna and an army to request Lord Rama to forego his exile and return to Ayodhya.
After his victory in Lanka, Lord Rama paid obeisance to Bharadwaja Rishi in his ashrama and offered prayers to the Shiva Linga consecrated by the latter that is known as Bharadwajeshwar. The celestial Pushpaka Vimana is said to have been designed and built in this ashrama by the exemplary sage.
The temple complex has padukas of Prabhu Rama as well as several idols that were uncovered during excavations and believed to be from the 8th century BCE. Rare sculptures of Durga Mata, Lord Ganesha, Shani Bhagawan, Kubera Bhandari, Maa Annapoorna Devi, Maa Santoshi, Veda Vyaasa Maharshi, Bhrigu Maharshi, Agastya Maharshi, Atri Brahmarshi along with his wife Anasuya Devi, Lord Shiva as Koteshwar Mahadev, Yajnavalkya Maharshi, Luv and Kush, Lord Hanuman, Sheshnag, forms of Devi and others are seated here.
There is a Bharat Kund, Parvati Kund, Sita Kund and smaller shrines in the temple premises. A massive statue of Bharadwaja Rishi was inaugurated in 2019 during the Kumbha Mela festivities and the government is hoping to install a state-of-the-art Pushpaka Vimana by 2025.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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