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    Vaikuntha Chaturdashi or Kartik Chaturdashi is a sacred day, which is observed one day before of Kartik Purnima. Shukla Paksha Chaturdashi in Kartik month is equally significant for the devotees of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva, because it witnesses a rare event of both these deities being worshipped together on the same day.

    The temples in Varanasi celebrate Vaikuntha Chaturdashi and it occurs on the previous day of another famous ritual of Dev Diwali. Besides Varanasi, Vaikuntha Chaturdashi is observed by the temples in Rishikesh, Gaya and many parts of Maharashtra.

    Vaikuntha Chaturdashi

    As per Shiva Purana, Lord Vishnu went to Varanasi on the auspicious day of Kartik Chaturdashi to worship Lord Shiva. Lord Vishnu promised to worship Lord Shiva with thousand lotuses. However, while offering lotus flowers, Lord Vishnu noticed that one lotus was missing. To fulfill his pledge and complete His Puja, Lord Vishnu plucked one of His eyes and offered to Lord Shiva to replace the missing thousandth lotus flower.

    In this context, it may be remembered that Lord Vishnu’s eyes were compared to lotuses. Highly pleased with the deep of devotion of Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva restored the eye of Lord Vishnu and also rewarded Him with the mighty Sudarshana Chakra, which became one of the most powerful and sacred weapons of Lord Vishnu.

    Lord Vishnu is worshipped on Vaikuntha Chaturdashi during Nishitha or Hindu midnight. Devotees recite Vishnu Sahasranama, the thousand names of Lord Vishnu, and offer Him thousand lotuses.

    Even though devotees worship both the deities, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva, their Puja timings differ. Lord Vishnu is worshipped during Nishitha, which is Hindu midnight, whereas Lord Shiva is worshipped during Arunodaya, which is Hindu dawn. It is very significant for the devotees of Shiva to take early morning bath at Manikarnika Ghat in Varanasi during Arunodaya. This holy dip is called Manikarnika Snan on Kartik Chaturdashi.

    There is a unique significance for this day as this is the only day when Lord Vishnu enjoys special honor in the sanctum of Kashi Vishwanath Temple, which is a prominent Shiva temple in Varanasi. It is believed that both the Vishwanath temple and the Vaikuntha Temple become equally pious on the very same day. Both the deities are ritually worshipped as if they are worshipping each other. Lord Vishnu offers Tulasi leaves to Shiva and at the same time Lord Shiva offers Bael leaves to Lord Vishnu.