The Walkeshwar Temple

The Walkeshwar temple was originally built by the kings of the Silhara dynasty, who ruled Bombay from the 9th to the 13th century. The Banganga Tank, belonging to the temple, was also first constructed at this time. The tank was rebuilt in 1715 out of a donation for the temple by Rama Kamath. The main temple, has been reconstructed since then and is at present a reinforced concrete structure of recent vintage.

One of the oldest structures on the site is the Venkateshwar Balaji Mandir, a Peshwa era temple with a wooden canopy, dating from 1789. Another elegant structure is the Rameshwar Mandir, probably built in 1825. All the temples are in dire need of structural repairs and cleaning.

Legend has it that the Walkeshwar temple was built by Ram, who sent his brother Lakshman to Benaras to get a shivalinga to be established here. Before it could be brought, he had an alternative constructed from sand. Folk etymology derives the name Walkeshwar from the Sanskrit name for an idol made of sand-- Valuka Iswar.

There are conflicting legends about the origin of the Banganga tank. One version has it that it contains the water brought up when a thirsty Ram fired an arrow into the ground. A second tale traces the arrow to Parashuram, who fired it from the mainland.

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Created on Jul 20, 1995; last modified Oct 19, 1999.