Vishwanath Temple is located amidst the crowded lanes in the holy city of Varanasi also known as Kashi and Benares. The Vishwanath Temple enshrines one of the twelve Jyotirlingams of Lord Shiva and is one of the most revered pilgrimage sites for Hindus. It is believed that Varanasi is the point at which the first Jyotirlinga, the fiery pillar of light by which Shiva manifested his supremacy over other gods, broke through the earths crust and flared towards the heavens. More than the Ghats and even the Ganga, the Shivalinga installed in the temple remain the devotional focus of Varanasi. Millions of pilgrims converge here to perform an abhishekam to the sacred Jyotirlingam with sacred water of river Ganga.
Significance of Vishwanath Temple
Also famous by the name of Shiv Vishwanath Kashi, Shri Vishweshwar
Temple is said to be dear to Lord Shiva. Hindus believe that those who
come and die here attain liberation. It is said that Lord Shiva gives
the Tarak Mantra to the ones who are going to die here. Some also
believe that the Lord resides here and is the giver of liberation and
happiness. The one who prays and worships Vishweshwar with devotion
attains all his desires and one who incessantly recites his name attains
all siddhis and finally gets liberated.
Structure of Shri Vishwanath Jyotirlinga Temple
Shri Vishwanatha Temple is situated amidst the crowded lanes of
Varanasi on the banks of the rive Ganga. The temple can be approached
from a lane called Vishwanatha lane. Beside its religious significance,
the temple is also an architectural marvel. The magnificent edifice
offers a breathtaking view to the onlooker. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple
is also popularly known as the 'Golden Temple' due the gold plating done
on its 15.5-meter high spire. One tonne of gold donated by Maharaja
Ranjit Singh has been used in the gold plating of the spire.
Inside the courtyard is the temple of Vishwanatha surrounded by many
subsidiary shrines. A well, called Jnana Vapi i.e. wisdom well
located to the north of the main temple. The Vishwanatha temple consists
of a mandapa and a sanctum. Inside the sanctum a linga is set into the
center of the floor in a square silver altar. The Linga is of black
stone. Though the interior of the temple is not large and elaborate it
presents the peaceful atmosphere ideal for worship.
History of Vishwanath Temple
The famous Vishwanath Temple has been rebuilt several times. The
original was supposed to have been built in 1490. However, the original
Jyotirlinga of Kashi Vishwanath is a not available. The old temple was
destroyed as a result of the Mughal invasion and Aurangazeb built a
mosque in place of it. The ancient idol of Vishweshwar is situated in
Jnana-Vapi. Even today the western wall of the mosque show the remnants
of a temple which had very intricate and fine artwork on it. Both the
Kashi Vishwanath and the Gyanvapi Mosque are adjacent to each other
The latest structure standing here dates back to the 18th century. It
is said that once Lord Shiva came in the dream of Rani Ahilya Bai Holkar
of Indore. She, being a devotee of Lord Shiva, got the current temple
built in 1777 at a distance from the original one.