Gauri Shankar Temple
The 800 year old Gauri Shankar Temple is located next to the Digambar Jain Temple on the main Chandni Chowk road amidst the mixed fragrance of numerous flowers displayed for sale in the nearby flower shops. One of the most important temples of Shaivism (a sect of Hinduism that worships Lord Shiva) in the country, it has an 800-year-old brown lingam (phallus stone) encased in a marble representation of a female organ. Surrounded by snakes made of silver, the lingam according to Hinduism represents a 'cosmic pillar, the center of universe, the life itself'.
As the legend goes that a Maratha Hindu Soldier, Apa Ganga Dhar who had always worshipped Lord Shiva was badly injured during a battle and the chances of his survival were very bleak. He prayed to his deity and promised to build a temple if he survived. Miraculously he survived against all odds and built this temple. His name is inscribed in Hindi at the lower end of the spire near the main entrance. However, the present building of the temple is new, probably constructed in 1959 by Seth Jaipuria, as the other inscription in Hindi over the windows declares.
The entrance of the temple, which has a flight of marble steps and flanking pillars carved with chains and bells, leads directly to the courtyard. Always bustling with the activities of the devotees, the courtyard has all the necessary items of the puja for Lord Shiva like sandalwood paste, flowers, bilva leaves and rice, on sale for the devotees to buy. The unique attraction of the courtyard is a marble chair of Bhagat Swaroup Bramachari, a Hindu saint who spent more than 50 years in the temple. It is his portrait and sandals that are kept here with his teachings about methods to achieve enlightenment.
Inside the temple are idols of Lord Shiva, his consort Parvati (Gauri-Shankar) and their two sons, Ganesh, the elephant headed and Kartik, the god of war. The idols of Lord Shiva and Parvati, wearing real gold jewellery are situated just behind the lingam under the silver canopy. The lingam too has a silver water vessel above it from which droplets of water continuously fall. The other attraction here is the wall behind the idols of Lord Shiva and Parvati, which has beautiful silver paintings depicting the scenes from the life of Lord Shiva.
Visitors would definitely enjoy their visit, as they will come to know about a lot of interesting things and facts about the temple, Hindu religion and the different and unique ways of devotees trying to connect to the 'Supreme Soul' in their own way.
The temple also has a free homeopathic clinic