We all know about the Leaning tower in Pisa, Italy. We’ve learnt about it in school, seen it in movies or documentaries, seen posts about it on social media, read about it and some of us have even visited it. But, do you know that there is a tower that is more slant than the Leaning tower of Pisa, Italy? I bet you don’t. Meet the Ratneshwar Mahadev temple of Varanasi, India.

The Ratneshwar temple of Varanasi, India, also called Karsi Kavat (Karsi is the ancient name of Varanasi and Karvat means leaning in Hindi) is a temple located in Varanasi state of India. It is more slant than the leaning tower of Pisa, Italy. The temple is 12m tall and sits at an elevation of 25m. The building has developed a shocking nine- degree slant, the leaning tower of Pisa tilts only four degrees. The temple of Ratneshwar attracts lots of pilgrims and tourists visiting the holy city of Varanasi.

No one knows why the temple leans severely. According to one popular legend, a man named Raja Man Singh built the temple in honor of his mother. After building the temple the man shouted that he has paid his mother the debt he owed jer her for raising him. However, his mother cursed the temple stating that the debt to one’s mother can never be paid and then the temple tilted backwards in the northwest direction.

The temple was built extremely close to the edge of the river Ganges. It is so close to the river Ganges that part of it is submerged in the river for most part of the century. According to one report, the priest used to dive into the river to conduct services in the 19th century.

Another legend says that was built by Queen Baija Bai of Gwalior in the 19th century. According to another story, it was built by a female servant of Ahilya Bai of Indore, named Ratna Bai. Ahilya Bai cursed it to lean because her servant had named it after herself.

These are all legends and we don’t know exactly the true story. What we do know is that the temple became lean only after the 1860’s as photographs show.

The Ratneshwar temple of Varanasi, India is a marvelous work of architecture. Its lean is even more amazing.


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