Recommended Temple Tour - Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Varanasi is the cultural capital of India and one of the oldest surviving cities of the world. The sacred city is located on the banks of sanctified river Ganges and an ultimate place for those who wish to attain salvation and liberation from birth and re-birth cycle. Kashi Vishwanath Temple that stands in its fullest magnificence in the heart of the holiest city is a holy temple that is enshrined with one of the Jyotirlinga of Shiva. The name ‘Kashi’ is taken from the word ‘Kas’ that means to shine. Thousands of devotees converge at the temple to perform an abhishekam to the hallowed Jyotirlinga with holy water of Ganga. It is believed that Kashi Vishwanath has the mantra to emancipation and those who live in Kashi attain Dharma (lawfulness), Karma (ability to act freely), Arth (meaning of life), and Moksha (salvation).
Kashi Vishwanath Temple Introduction
History of temple
It is believed that the original temple was structured in the year 1490. The shrine has been re-built a number of times. The attacks of Mughal rulers like Aurangzeb destroyed the holy place and framed a mosque in that place. Even in modern times, the western wall of the mosque illustrates the remains of a temple which had very fine and intricate artistic work.
The latest formation standing in Varanasi was built in 18th century.
It is believed that once Lord Shiva gave a dream to Indore’s queen Rani Ahilya Bai Holkar, who was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. On the basis of that dream, she constructed the new temple in the year 1777. Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Indore endows the shrine with gold-plated towers.
2:30am-11pm, Artis: Mangla-3am, Bhog-11:30 am, Sapt Rishi Aarti-7 pm, Shringar/Bhog Aarti-9 pm, Shayan Arti-10:30 pm. The temple remains opens on all days.
Besides the spiritual importance, the temple is also an architectural marvel. The magnificent shrine is also popular with the name of ‘Golden Temple’ due to its 15.5 m high gold-plated towers. It is said that one ton of gold gifted by Maharaja Ranjit Singh is used in this stunning edifice. The temple comprises of a sanctum and a mandapa, besides several additional shrines. The sanctum has a linga that is made up with black stone and placed in a silver square-shaped altar in the center of the floor. The southern side of consecrated place has three shrines in a row and all these temples are devoted to Lord Shiva, Lord Visnhnu and Avimukta Vinayaka. Surrounding the temple, one can see a cluster of five lingas that are known as Nilakantheshvar temple. The scriptures and statues around are fabricated with silver and have intricate carvings of Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
Five main aartis are performed in the temple daily, and the holy place is abuzz with devotee’s whole day. The peak of devotion reaches to its height during the festival of Shivratri. On this auspicious day, a wedding procession of Lord Shiva is taken out from Mahamritunjaya temple at Daranagar to Kashi Vishwanath shrine. Believers throng in huge numbers; they take holy dip at Dashaswamedh Ghat and offer their prayers to deity.
Note: Only Hindus can visit the temple
The impressive shrine holds a strong spiritual importance for Hindu devotees. It is believed that the first ray of light feel on Kashi, when the earth was formed. Since then Kashi has turned out to be a centre for spirituality and knowledge. As per legend, after spending numerous years of exile, Lord Shiva appeared in Varanasi and stayed at this place. Lord Brahma greeted him by sending a chariot of 10 horses on the ghat Dashaswamedh, which means 10 horses. It is said that the shrine of Lord Shiva is the minder of Varanasi.
How to Reach Kasi ?
By Air : Babatpur airport is the nearest airport, it is 30 km from Sarnath and 22 km from Varanasi. There is a direct flight that links New Delhi and Varanasi and also connects it from Mumbai, Agra, Khajuraho and many more other Indian destinations.
By Rail : Varanasi is a prime railway junction. The city is endowed with trains from all metros and prime cities all over the country like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Indore and many more.
By Road : Varanasi is also well-interconnected by national highways with all the key Indian cities. There are a number of public and private bus services are available that will drop you to the temple.
Fast facts About Kashi Vishwanath Temple
- Location- Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
- Built by- Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar
- Year of construction- 1780
- Languages spoken- Hindi and English
- Importance- One of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva
- Ideal time to visit- Throughout the year
- Weather- Summer 30°C to 45°C, Winter 5°C to 15°C
Intimately and deeply embedded in the Hindu mind, the splendid and awe-inspiring Kashi Vishwanath Temple has been a living quintessence of highest spiritual values and everlasting cultural traditions.