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Lord Shiva and Kashi are known to be inseparable. There is a story behind how Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati settled down in Kashi. When Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati got married, they decided to leave Kailash and settle down in a siddha kshetra. After taking a look at the entire world, they choose Kashi. But during that period, Kashi was ruled by King Divodas. King Divodas did not want Lord Shiva to enter his territory. Lord Shiva sent his gana named nikumb to evacuate Kashi and nikumb did the same. King Divodasa became very unhappy with the events taking place and performed a severe penance to Lord Brahma. He wanted gods to go back to their divine dwelling and leave earth alone for the living beings. Lord Brahma was pleased with his penance and granted what he wanted. With this, Gods had to leave Kashi and go forever. Lord Shiva became very upset and he did not feel very elated in Himalayas.
Lord Shiva thought of a plan and sent 64 yoginis to Kashi in order to remove the King. King Divodasa has established the 64 yoginis in Chousatthi Ghat and they never returned to Lord Shiva. Then Lord Shiva sent Surya Bhagwan to Kashi. He was too charmed with the city’s brilliance and prosperity that he decided to settle down there with his 12 rupas. After that, Lord Brahma also paid visit to Kashi to fulfill Lord Shiva’s wish, but in vain. He was so inspired with the city that with the help of King Divodasa, he performed ten Ashwamedha yagnas and settled down in Kashi forever. The place is now called as Dashashwamedha Ghat. As a last resort, Lord Vishnu came to Kashi in order to fulfill Lord Shiva’s wish. He went to King Divodasa and gave gnanopadesh or true knowledge. Upon receiving the true knowledge, the King himself went to Kailasha and invited Lord Shiva to come to Kashi and settle down forever.
Varuna chapyasischaiva dwai nadyo suranirmita
Antarale tayoha kshetram vaghya na vishate kwachit
Varanasi is situated in between two god-made rivers of varuna and assi.
Avimuktaha varanayam nasyam cha madhye pratistit
The place which is situated in between the two rivers, varuna and assi is popular as Kashi. This place is free from all the materialistic bondage.
Kamari shulagradhruta layeepi
During the time of pralaya or the end of yuga, Lord shankara wore kashi in the front edge of his trident.
Dwiyojanamayardha cha purvapaschimatah sthitam
Ardhayojanavistirna dakshinottaratah sthitam
Varunachanadi yavadhyavaschhushka nadi tatha
Esha kshetrasya vistarah prokto deven dhimata
As advised by the god, Kashi is situated between varuna and assi in two and a half yojana east to west and half yojana from north to south. 1 yojana is around 13 km.
Krutivasam samarabhya krosham krosham chadundisham
Yojanam chaiva tatkshetra gane rudraishcha samvrutam
It is mentioned that vishwanath mandir is surrounded by various ganas and rudras for about 1 kosa distance around four directions. That is kashi. 1 kosa is around 3 Km.
Purvato manikarnesho brahmosho dakshine sthita
Pashchime chaiva gokarno bharabhutastathottare
Ityetaduttamam kshetramavimukte mahaphalam
Manikarnika in East, Brahmesh in South, Gokarna in West and Bharabhuta in North. This is the sacred, most auspicious and free kshetra of Kashi. This place is said to be situated above the earth which means it will not face any natural disasters. This place is also called as rudravas, brahmavas, vishnuvas and Varanasi. The most highest form of sin is brahmahatya and it cannot enter Kashi, because it has 28 crore shivalingas in it. This place is loved by all the Gods, Demi-gods, animals and human beings alike. It is blessed by Lord Shiva with a tarak mantra of ‘OM’. It is believed that during death, Lord Shiva whispers this mantra in the ears of every living being and liberates its soul forever from the cycle of birth and death. Hence this place is also called as Anandavana and Mahasmashana.