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Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most famous Hindu temples and is

dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India, the


holiest existin place of Hindus. The temple stands on the western !an" of
the hol# river $anes, and is one of the twelve %#otirlinas, the holiest of
Shiva temples. The main deit# is "nown !# the name Vishwanatha or
Vishweshwara meanin &uler of the universe. The temple town, which claims
to !e the oldest livin cit# in the world, with '()) #ears of documented
histor#,*+, is also called Kashi and hence the temple is popularl# called Kashi
Vishwanath Temple.
The temple has !een referred to in Hindu scriptures for a ver# lon time and
as a central part of worship in the Shaiva philosoph#. It has !een destro#ed
and re-constructed a num!er of times in the histor#. The last structure was
demolished !# .uran/e!, who constructed the $#anvapi 0os1ue on its site.
*2, The current structure was !uilt on an ad3acent site !# the 0aratha
monarch, .hil#a 4ai Hol"ar of Indore in +56).*',
Since +76', the temple has !een manaed !# the overnment of Uttar
Pradesh. 8urin the reliious occasion of Shivratri, Kashi 9aresh :Kin of
Kashi; is the chief o<ciatin priest and no other person or priest is allowed to
enter the sanctum sanctorum. It is onl# after he performs his reliious
functions that others are allowed to enter.
=ontents
+ Introduction
2 Leend
' The temple structure
> Importance of the temple
( Histor#
? Poo3a 8etails
5 How to reach Kashi
6 &eferences
7 9otes
+) @xternal lin"s
Introduction
Standin on the western !an" of IndiaAs holiest river, the $anes, Varanasi is
one of the oldest survivin cities of the world*citation needed, and the
cultural capital of India. Inside the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is the %#otirlina
of Shiva, Vishweshwara or Vishwanath. The Vishweshwara %#otirlina has a
ver# special and uni1ue siniBcance in the spiritual histor# of India. Tradition
has it that the merits earned !# the darshan of other 3#otirlina scattered in
various parts of India accrue to a devotee !# a sinle visit to Kashi
Vishwanath Temple. 8eepl# and intimatel# implanted in the Hindu mind, the
Kashi Vishwanath Temple has !een a livin em!odiment of IndiaAs timeless
cultural traditions and hihest spiritual values. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple
attracts visitors not onl# from India !ut a!road as well.
Leend
.s per Shiva Purana, once 4rahma :the Hindu $od of creation; and Vishnu
:the Hindu $od of Harmon#; had an arument in terms of supremac# of
creation.*>, To test them, Shiva pierced the three worlds as a hue endless
pillar of liht, the 3#otirlina. Vishnu and 4rahma split their wa#s to
downwards and upwards respectivel# to Bnd the end of the liht in either
directions. 4rahma lied that he found out the end, while Vishnu conceded his
defeat. Shiva appeared as a second pillar of liht and cursed 4rahma that he
would have no place in ceremonies while Vishnu would !e worshipped till the
end of eternit#. The 3#otirlina is the supreme partless realit#, out of which
Shiva partl# appears. The 3#othirlina shrines, thus are places where Shiva
appeared as a Ber# column of liht.*(,*?, Criinall# there were !elieved to !e
?> 3#othirlinas while +2 of them are considered to !e ver# auspicious and
hol#.*>, @ach of the twelve 3#othirlina sites ta"e the name of the presidin
deit# - each considered diDerent manifestation of Shiva.*5, .t all these sites,
the primar# imae is linam representin the !einninless and endless
Stam!ha pillar, s#m!oli/in the inBnite nature of Shiva.*5,*6,*7, The twelve
3#othirlina are Somnath in $u3arat, 0alli"ar3una at Srisailam in .ndhra
Pradesh, 0aha"aleswar at U33ain in 0adh#a Pradesh, Cm"areshwar in 0adh#a
Pradesh, Kedarnath in Himala#as, 4himashan"ar in 0aharashtra, Viswanath
at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Triam!a"eshwar in 0aharashtra, Vaid#anath
%#otirlina, 8eoarh in 8eohar, %har"hand, 9aeswar at 8war"a in $u3arat,
&ameshwar at &ameswaram in Tamil 9adu and $rishneshwar at .urana!ad
in 0aharashtra.*>,*+),
The 0ani"arni"a $hat on the !an"s of $anes near to the Kashi Vishwanath
Temple is considered as a Sha"ti Peetha, a revered place of worship for the
Sha"tism sect. The m#tholo# of 8a"sha Eaa, a Shaivite literature is
considered as an important literature which is the stot# a!out the oriin of
Sha"ti Peethas.*++, It is said that Shiva came to the Kashi Vishwanath Shrine
throuh 0ani"arni"a after the death of Sati 8evi.*+2,*+',
The temple structure
The oriinal hol# wellF$#anvapi in !etween the temple and $#anvapi
0os1ue
The temple complex consists of a series of smaller shrines, located in a small
lane called the Vishwanatha $alli, near the river. The lina of the main deit#
at the shrine is ?) cm tall and 7) cm in circumference housed in a silver altar.
*+>, The main temple is 1uadranle and is surrounded !# shrines of other
ods. There are small temples for Kaal!hairav, 8handapani, .vimu"teshwara,
Vishnu, Vina#a"a, Sanishwara, Virupa"sha and Virupa"sh $auri in the
complex. There is a small well in the temple called the %nana Vapi also spelled
as $#aan vapi :the wisdom well;. The %nana Vapi well sites to the north of the
main temple and it is !elieved that the %#torlina was hidden in the well to
protect it at the time of invasion. It is said that the main priest of the temple
3umped in the well with the Shiv Lin in order to protect the %#otirlina from
invaders.
.ccordin to the structure of the temple, there is a sa!ha urh or
conreation hall leadin to the inner ar!ha, urh or sanctum. The
venera!le lina is made up of !lac" colored stone, and is enshrined in the
sanctum, placed on a silver platform. Structure of the temple is composed of
three parts. The Brst compromises a spire on the temple of Lord Vishwanath
or 0ahadeva. The second is old dome and the third is the old spire atop
the Vishwanath carr#in a Ga and a trident.
The Kashi Vishwanath temple*+(, receives around '))) visitors ever# da#. Cn
certain occasions the num!ers reach +,))),))) and more. 9oteworth# a!out
the temple is +(.( metre hih old spire and old dome. There are three
domes each made up of pure old. Thus, this Hindu temple is also called The
$olden Temple, !ecause of little !it !ein identical to the $olden Temple.
Importance of the temple
Street near temple
The temple is widel# reconi/ed as one of the most important places of
worship in Hindu reliion and most of the leadin Hindu saints, includin .di
San"arachar#a, &ama"rishna Paramhansa, Swami Vive"ananda, $oswami
Tulsidas, Swami 8a#ananda Saraswati and $urunana" have visited the site.
*+?, . visit to the temple and a !ath in the river $anes is one of man#
methods !elieved to lead one on a path to 0o"sha :li!eration;. Thus, people
from all over the nation tr# to visit the place at least once in their lifetime.
There is also a tradition that one should ive up at least one desire after a
pilrimae the temple, and the pilrimae would also include a visit to the
temple at &ameswaram in South India, where people ta"e water samples of
the $anes to perform pra#er at the temple and !rin !ac" sand from near
that temple. 8ue to the immense popularit# and holiness of Kashi Vishwanath
temple, hundreds of temples across the nation have !een !uilt in the same
architectural st#le. 0an# leends record that the true devotee achieves
freedom from death and saHsIra !# the worship of Shiva, ShivaAs devotees
on death !ein directl# ta"en to his a!ode on 0ount Kailash !# his
messeners and not to Eama. The superiorit# of Shiva and his victor# over his
own natureFShiva is himself identiBed with deathFis also stated. There is a
popular !elief that Shiva himself !lows the mantra of salvation into the ears
of people who choose to end their lives at the Vishwanath temple.
Histor#
Prime 0inister of India, 9arendra 0odi:in saDron;, pra#in at the 3#otirlina of
Kashi Vishwanath temple.
. Shiva temple has !een mentioned in the Puranas includin the Kashi
Khanda :section; of S"anda Purana. The oriinal Vishwanath temple was
destro#ed !# the arm# of Jut!-ud-din .i!a" in ++7> =@, when he defeated
the &a3a of Kannau3 as a commander of 0ohammad $hori. The temple was
re!uilt !# a $u3arati merchant durin the rein of Shamsuddin Iltumish :+2++-
+2?? =@;. It was demolished aain durin the rule of either Hussain Shah
Shar1i :+>>5-+>(6; or Si"andar Lodhi :+>67-+(+5;. &a3a 0an Sinh !uilt the
temple durin ."!arAs rule, !ut orthodox Hindus !o#cotted it as he had let
the 0uhal emperors marr# within his famil#. &a3a Todar 0al further re-!uilt
the temple with ."!arAs fundin at its oriinal site in +(6(.*+5,
In +??7 =@, @mperor .uran/e! destro#ed the temple and !uilt the $#anvapi
0os1ue in its place.*+6, The remains of the erstwhile temple can !e seen in
the foundation, the columns and at the rear part of the mos1ue.*+7, The
0aratha ruler 0alhar &ao Hol"ar wanted to destro# the $#anvapi mos1ue and
re-construct the temple at the site.*2), However, he never actuall# did that.
His dauhter-in-law .hil#a!ai Hol"ar later constructed the present current
temple structure near the mos1ue. 0ahara3a &an3it Sinh donated old for
the temple. 8urin +6''-+6>) =@, .hil#a!ai constructed the !oundar# of
$#anvapi Kell, the hats and other temples.
0an# no!le families from various ancestral "indoms of India and their prior
esta!lishments ma"e enerous contri!utions for the operations of the temple.
Poo3a 8etails
There are ( aartis of Shree Kashi VishwanathL
. 0anala .arti L- '.)) - >.)) :0ornin;.
. 4ho .arti L- ++.+( to +2.2) :8a#;.
. Sandh#a .arti L- 5.)) to 6.+( :@venin;.
. Shrinar .arti L- 7.)) to +).+( :niht;.
. Sha#an .arti L- +).')-++.)) :niht;.
Securit# arranements do not allow an# cell phones, camera, !elts with metal
!uc"le, cierrette, lihters etc. inside the temple