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The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the most famous structures in the world and it is located in the Italian town of Pisa. Tower of Pisa is famous for the settling of its cores, which caused it to lean 5.5 degrees. Although it was designed to be perfectly vertical, it began to lean during construction. But an elegant shrine in India, the Ratneshwar temple of Varanasi, leans by 9 degrees, which is more than the leaning tower of Pisa.

The Ratneshwar Mahadev Mandir near Manikarnika Ghat, Varanasi, is taller than the Tower of Pisa and leans far more. The temple is located in front of the Tarkeshwar Mahadev Mandir. It is elegantly constructed in the classical style with a nagara shikhara and phamsana mandapa. The site of the temple is very unusual. Unlike all other temples in Varanasi on the coast of Ganga, the temple is carved at a very low level. In fact, the water level can reach the shikhara (peak) part of the temple. It is constructed at a very low spot, the creator must have known that its ‘garbhagriha’ would be underwater for much of the year. However, during monsoons, no rituals are performed in this temple. One cannot hear prayers and worships echoing. Some people moreover believe that it is a cursed temple and prayers can result in something unpleasant. In spite of much of the temple being submerged during most of the years, it is well preserved, except for the lean.

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No one knows, precisely, why the temple has created such a drastic lean. Like so many buildings and monuments in India, legend and history do not match up when it comes to Ratneshwar Mahadev Temple. The lean could be the result of a structural difficulty, or because it was built on silt, or because of a curse. The original architect of the temple is widely unspecified and there are various speculations about it. This temple was constructed in the mid-19th century is also addressed by the name ‘Kashi Karvat’. In Hindi, karvat means leaning. It is still unclear that who built the temple. According to the legends, the temple was built by a servant of Rajput King Man Singh for his mother Ratna Bai about 500 years ago. After having built the temple, he arrogantly showed off that he paid his debt to his mother. However, since the debt to one's mother can never be repaid, the temple began leaning because of a curse of his mother. That is the reason for the alternative name of the temple, Matru-run (Mother's debt). According to another tale, it was constructed 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.

Some sources also claim that was built by Queen Baija Bai of Gwalior in the 19th century. But according to the revenue records, the temple was established during 1825-1830. James Prinsep, who was an assay master at the Banaras Mint during 1820-1830, created a series of drawings, one of which includes the Ratneshwar Mahadev temple. He remarked that, when the temple entrance was underwater, the priest used to dive in the water to conduct worship. However, according to Dr Ratnesh Varma of District Cultural Committee, it was constructed by the Amethi royal family in 1857, concluding the original formation period of the temple as an unsolved question.

Several pictures from the 1860s do not show the building leaning. But modern pictures show a lean of about 9 degrees. The structure is likely leaning because it is sinking into silt or due to a faulty foundation. A lightning strike in 2015 also caused slight damage to some of the elements of the shikhara. A Times Now report said that one of the beliefs held regarding the temple is that the 'ghat' had collapsed and leaned backwards after not being able to withstand its weight. The temple evidently stood straight before the 1860s.

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The claim of numerous people is true that the Ratneshwar temple leans at an angle higher than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It is factual that the Leaning Tower of Pisa leans about 5.5 degrees owing to extensive work done to straighten the tower, which is less than Ratneshwar Temple which leans at around 9 degrees. Height of the Ratneshwar temple is 74 metres while Pisa is 60 m high. Whereas this spectacular temple is not spoken of with other popular spots. Though it is one of the most photographed temples in the sacred city of Varanasi, this wonderful temple is not mentioned as a tourist destination. The temple which is vibrant and diverse in its own manner should be well preserved without shattering its originality. Hence, this leaning temple of Varanasi with its deluxe traits will persist to obtain the affection as well as a marvel by the travellers.

(Source - / / wikipedia /