Kashi Vishwanath temple is one of the highly revered shrines of Lord Shiva. Located in the holy city of Varanasi, Vishwanath Temple rests on the western banks of Ganges. Varanasi is a small city in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh in India. With 3500 years of documented history, this holy city is acclaimed to be the oldest living city in the world. Earlier, Varanasi used to be known as Kashi, perhaps this is the reason the shrine is popular as Kashi Vishwanath.
Vishwanath Mandir is known for comprising one of the twelve Jyotirlingas
(Linga of light) of Lord Shiva. The presiding deity is known as
Vishwanath or Vishweshwara, suggesting the "ruler of the world".
In the sanctum sanctorum, the holy 'jyotirlingam' is placed in a silver
alter. This sacred 'Lingam' of Lord Shiva captures the main devotional
focus of Varanasi. Thousands of devotees and pilgrims come of offer
their obeisance to Lord Shiva.
Vishwanath Temple has been mentioned in the holy scriptures for numerous
times. In the Hindu religion, the temple is regarded as one of the most
important places of worship. As per the Hindu folklore, the temple must
be visited once in the entire lifetime. A holy dip in Ganga River along
with the 'darshan' of Lord Vishwanath is regarded as the leading way to
'Moksha' (salvation). Due to the reason, people seek to visit the place
at least once in their life span.
In the complex, there are several shrines dedicated to Mahakala,
Dhandapani, Avimukteshwara, Vishnu, Vinayaka, Sanishwara, Virupaksha and
Virupaksh Gauri. Hindu mythology states Vishwanath Mandir since the
earliest times. In the Shaiva philosophy, the temple had been a central
part of worship. Kashi Vishwanath Mandir has received many eminent Hindu
saints like Adi Sankaracharya, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Swami
Vivekananda, Goswami Tulsidas, Swami Dayananda Saraswati and Gurunanak.
A Belief regarding Kashi Vishwanath
Kashi (Varanasi) is said to be the city created by Lord Shiva and
Goddess Parvati. As per the mythological legends, Varanasi is the spot,
from where the first 'Jyotirlinga' emerged from the earth's crust and
flashed towards the heaven. The act was done to announce the final call
of supremacy amongst the Hindu Gods by Lord Shiva. In the temple
complex, there is a well by the name of Jnana Vapi (the wisdom well),
where it is regarded that the original lingam lies hidden.
Due to long interrupted history of invasions, the original temple has
not yet been traceable. Possibly, the temple has got damaged during
various invasions. In 1780, the present structure of the temple is said
to have been constructed by Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore. In
1835, the temple spire and dome were covered with 1000kgs of gold that
was donated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab. From the year 1983,
Vishwanath temple is under the management of Uttar Pradesh Government.