Varanasi or Kashi has a corner for each community of India. Members of the community come here to worship, to stay as pilgrims or to be just in a familiar environment. In my last Varanasi trip, I had the opportunity to visit Jangamwadi Math or Mutt. This is a unique Math belonging to people who come primarily from Karnataka and Maharashtra. These are the followers of Veer Shaiva philosophy. They worship Shivalingas and nothing but the Shivalingas. You have to visit the Jangamwadi Math once to know what Shivalinga means to the followers of this sect.

Jangamwadi Math is one of the oldest Mutts in Varanasi.  The Math has seen women Gurus like Daharmguru Sharnamma. 

I entered the gate that announced Shri 1008 Jagatguru Vishwasadhya Gyan Simhasan Jangamwadi Math with the words Jangamwadi Math written in Hindi, English, and Kannada. Jangamwadi Math is also known as  Gyan peetha. Etymologically Jangam means the one who knows Shiva and Peetha is a word used for ashram or a place to stay. So, this essentially means those who know Shiva #worshipping lord.

I would always remember this temple for its colorful doorways on top of which is always a Shivalinga. Green is the dominant color with some bright blue doors for the contrast. The temple was full of devotees speaking Kannada and Marathi, who looked absolutely at home at Jangamwadi Mutt #felt comfortable. The sanctum of the temple has tall pillars surrounding a Shivalinga – I assume this may have been the only part in its initial days. Everything else got added over time.

The premises of this Mutt is full of Shivalingas, mostly small – miniature ones. Once you enter the main part of the Mutt and walk around, all you see is the rows and rows of Shivalingas neatly arranged on platforms that are piled one over the other – creating a mountain of Shivalingas. There are rooms full of miniature Shivalingas.

Jangamwadi Mutt is located very close to popular Dashashwamedh ghat – where the famous evening Ganga Arti takes place. It is not very difficult to locate. Any rickshaw guy would easily take you there.

I visited the office of the Mutt and spoke to a lady who was supervising multiple things like most women do. She told me that they are the worshippers of the Linga and they do not follow any other deity or path. They follow no caste system or Jaati Bhed.

She told me that when women get pregnant, they tie a small Shivalinga around her belly. This Kajal or Kohl coated Shivalinga protects the baby in the womb. This Shivalinga is then worn by the child after birth and remains a part of all his rituals like the naming ceremony. She showed me miniature Shivalingas in crystal and stone that they always keep with themselves.

The people of Varanasi are full of life.I found their way of speaking quite funny but sweet.Their I leant too may things that how to handle things with patience(which I don't have????).

Food is not a problem at Varanasi. If you stay at one of the Mutts, they will cook for you, and that too, typical home cooked food. Outside, hotels abound, and you can find every kind of cuisine. Try one for every meal, and you will have variety, if nothing else! #super delicious

 In Varanasi, the first thing you will notice is cows! Cows are never confined to cowsheds, and it is a belief that in this holy city, they will never butt anyone. With so many cows around, it is no wonder that milk and milk products are cheap and wholesome. We gorged on milk, buttermilk, lassi and cream all the 10 days that we were there. Do check them out!

It is a unique Mutt, do visit it next time you are in Varanasi.

Gargi Agarwal