Vishwanath Temple is located among the crowded lanes in the holy city of Varanasi also known as Kashi and Benares. The Vishwanath Temple protects 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 earth’s 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 meet here to perform an abhishekam to the sacred Jyotirlingam with sacred water of river Ganga.
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 wonder. The magnificent structure offers a breath-taking 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.
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.
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 continuously recites his name attains all siddhis and finally gets liberated.
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 shows the leftovers of a temple which had very complex 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.
Getting there and around
By Air - There is direct, daily flight connection between Varanasi and New Delhi. Varanasi is also connected by air to Agra, Khajuraho, Calcutta, Bombay, Lucknow and Bhubaneshwar.
By Rail - The city is linked by trains with all metros and major cities across the country - New Delhi (760 Kms.), Bombay (1509 Kms.), Calcutta (735 Kms.), Madras (1970 Kms.) , Lucknow (286 Kms.).
There are three railway station - Kashi, City and Varanasi Junction (also known as Varanasi Cantonment), which is the main station. There are not many trains running directly between here and Delhi or Calcutta but most Delhi to Calcutta trains do pass through Mughal Sarai, 18 km south of Varanasi. This is about 45 minutes by bus.
By Road - Varanasi is connected with Calcutta (677 Kms.), Delhi (765 Kms.), Madras (1901 Kms.), Bangalore (1763 Kms.) and to the rest of the country by good motorable, all-weather roads.
Varanasi, UTTAR PRADESH, INDIA
Posted By : Vinod Jindal on Feb 07, 2011
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