Kashi Vishwanath Temple
|Kashi Vishwanath Temple|
|Proper name:||Kashi Vishwanath Mandir.|
|Devanagari:||काशी विश्वनाथ मंदिर|
|Architecture and culture|
|Primary deity:||Vishwanath (Shiva)|
|Important festivals:||Maha Shivaratri|
|Creator:||Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar|
Kashi Vishwanath Temple (Hindi: काशी विश्वनाथ मंदिर) is arguably the most famous of all Hindu temples and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India, the holiest existing place of Hindus, where at least once in life a Hindu is expected to do pilgrimage, and if possible, also pour the remains of cremated ancestors into the River Ganges. The temple stands on the western bank of the holy river Ganges, and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest of Shiva temples. The main deity is known by the name Vishwanatha or Vishweshwara meaning Ruler of the universe. The temple town, which claims to be the oldest living city in the world, with 3500 years of documented history, is also called Kashi and hence the temple is popularly called Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
The temple has been referred to in Hindu theology for a very long time and as a central part of worship in the Shaiva philosophy. The current structure was built by the Maratha monarch, Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore in 1780. Since 1983, the temple has been managed by the government of Uttar Pradesh. During the religious occasion of Shivratri, Kashi Naresh (King of Kashi) is the chief officiating priest and no other person or priest is allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum. It is only after he performs his religious functions that others are allowed to enter.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Legend
- 3 The temple structure
- 4 Importance of the temple
- 5 Vishwanath Gali
- 6 History
- 7 Shakti Peetha
- 8 Pooja Details
- 9 Transportation
- 10 New Kashi Vishwanath Temple
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 Notes
- 14 External links
Standing on the western bank of India's holiest river Ganges, Varanasi is one of the oldest surviving city of the world and the cultural capital of India. Inside Kashi Vishwanath Temple is Jyotirlinga of Shiva, Vishweshwara or Vishwanath. Vishweshwara Jyotirlinga has a very special and unique significance in the spiritual history of India. Tradition has it that the merits earned by the darshan of other jyotirlinga scattered in various parts of India accrue to devotee by a single visit to Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Deeply and intimately implanted in the Hindu mind, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple has been a living embodiment of India's timeless cultural traditions and highest spiritual values. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple attracts visitors not only from India but abroad as well.
As per Shiva Purana, once Brahma (the Hindu God of creation) and Vishnu (the Hindu God of Harmony) had an argument in terms of supremacy of creation. To test them, Shiva pierced the three worlds as a huge endless pillar of light, the jyotirlinga. Vishnu and Brahma split their ways to downwards and upwards respectively to find the end of the light in either directions. Brahma lied that he found out the end, while Vishnu conceded his defeat. Shiva appeared as a second pillar of light and cursed Brahma that he would have no place in ceremonies while Vishnu would be worshipped till the end of eternity. The jyotirlinga is the supreme partless reality, out of which Shiva partly appears. The jyothirlinga shrines, thus are places where Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light. Originally there were believed to be 64 jyothirlingas while 12 of them are considered to be very auspicious and holy. Each of the twelve jyothirlinga sites take the name of the presiding deity - each considered different manifestation of Shiva. At all these sites, the primary image is lingam representing the beginningless and endless Stambha pillar, symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva. The twelve jyothirlinga are Somnath in Gujarat, Mallikarjuna at Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh, Mahakaleswar at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh, Kedarnath in Himalayas, Bhimashankar in Maharashtra, Viswanath at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Triambakeshwar in Maharashtra, Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga, Deogarh in Deoghar, Jharkhand, Nageswar at Dwarka in Gujarat, Rameshwar at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and Grishneshwar at Aurangabad in Maharashtra.
The Manikarnika Ghat on the banks of Ganges near to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is considered as a Shakti Peetha, a revered place of worship for the Shaktism sect. The mythology of Daksha Yaga, a Shaivite literature is considered as an important literature which is the stoty about the origin of Shakti Peethas. It is said that Shiva came to the Kashi Vishwanath Shrine through Manikarnika after the death of Sati Devi.
The temple structure
The temple complex consists of a series of smaller shrines, located in a small lane called the Vishwanatha Galli, near the river. The linga of the main deity at the shrine is 60 cm tall and 90 cm in circumference housed in a silver altar. The main temple is quadrangle and is surrounded by shrines of other gods. There are small temples for Kaalbhairav, Dhandapani, Avimukteshwara, Vishnu, Vinayaka, Sanishwara, Virupaksha and Virupaksh Gauri in the complex. There is a small well in the temple called the Jnana Vapi also spelled as Gyaan vapi (the wisdom well). The Jnana Vapi well sites to the north of the main temple and it is believed that the Jytorlinga was hidden in the well to protect it at the time of invasion. It is said that the main priest of the temple jumped in the well with the Shiv Ling in order to protect the Jyotirlinga from invaders.
According to the structure of the temple, there is a sabha gurh or congregation hall leading to the inner garbha, gurh or sanctum. The venerable linga is made up of black colored stone, and is enshrined in the sanctum, placed on a silver platform. Structure of the temple is composed of three parts. The first compromises a spire on the temple of Lord Vishwanath or Mahadeva. The second is gold dome and the third is the gold spire atop the Vishwanath carrying a flag and a trident.
The Kashi Vishwanath temple receives around 3000 visitors every day. On certain occasions the numbers reach 1,000,000 and more. Noteworthy about the temple is 15.5 metre high gold spire and gold dome. There are three domes each made up of pure gold. Thus, this Hindu temple is also called The Golden Temple, because of little bit being identical to the Golden Temple.
Importance of the temple
The temple is widely recognized as one of the most important places of worship in Hindu religion and most of the leading Hindu saints, including Adi Sankaracharya, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekananda, Goswami Tulsidas, Swami Dayananda Saraswati and Gurunanak have visited the site. A visit to the temple and a bath in the river Ganges is one of many methods believed to lead one on a path to Moksha (liberation). Thus, people from all over the nation try to visit the place at least once in their lifetime. There is also a tradition that one should give up at least one desire after a pilgrimage the temple, and the pilgrimage would also include a visit to the temple at Rameswaram in South India, where people take water samples of the Ganges to perform prayer at the temple and bring back sand from near that temple. Due to the immense popularity and holiness of Kashi Vishwanath temple, hundreds of temples across the nation have been built in the same architectural style. Many legends record that the true devotee achieves freedom from death and saṃsāra by the worship of Shiva, Shiva's devotees on death being directly taken to his abode on Mount Kailash by his messengers and not to Yama. The superiority of Shiva and his victory over his own nature—Shiva is himself identified with death—is also stated. There is a popular belief that Shiva himself blows the mantra of salvation into the ears of people who choose to end their lives at the Vishwanath temple.
Vishwanath Gali in Varanasi is the way to Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Kashi Vishwanath Temple is located in middle of Gali and it leads to the main temple. Vishwanath Gali is very popular gali of Varanasi and famous for shopping. Devotees can make an affordable shopping in the Vishwanath Gali after completing the Darshan of Lord Shiva in the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
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A Shiva temple has been mentioned in the Puranas including the Kashi Khanda (section) of Skanda Purana. The first temple was demolished by invading armies of Qutub Din Aibak in 1194. In that raid almost 1000 temples of Varanasi were destroyed and the city fell into ruin. After that temples were demolished on at least five more occasions. The last demolitions were in the reign of Aurangzeb and included the Kashi Vishwanath temple. Aurangzeb ordered its demolition in 1669 and constructed Gyanvapi Mosque, which still exists alongside the temple. Traces of the old temple can be seen behind the mosque. It is said that the chief priest of the temple jumped into the well with the Shiva Linga and the original Shiv-linga now resides there. The current temple was built by Ahilya Bai Holkar, the queen of Malwa kingdom. Maharaja Ranjit Singh donated gold for the temple. Later on during 1833-1840 CE The Rajmata constructed the Boundary of Gyanvapi Well, and other structures including ghats and temples were also reconstructed. Many noble families from various ancestral kingdoms of India and their prior establishments make generous contributions for the operations of the temple.
Lord Brahma performed a yajna (Vedic ritual of fire sacrifice) to please Shakti and Shiva. Goddess Shakti emerged, separating from Shiva and helped Brahma in the creation of the universe. Brahma decided to give Shakti back to Shiva. Therefore his son Daksha performed several yajnas to obtain Shakti as his daughter in the form of Goddess Sati. It was then decided that Goddess Sati was brought into this world with the motive of getting married to Shiva .However, due to Lord Shiva's curse to Brahma that he would not be worshiped and also his fifth head was cut off due to his lie in front of Shiva, Daksha started hating Lord Shiva and decided not to let Lord Shiva and Goddess Sati get married. However, Goddess Sati got attracted to Shiva as she was Goddess Shakti herself and finally one day Shiva and Sati got married. This marriage only increased Daksha's hatred towards Lord Shiva. Daksha performed a yajna with a desire to take revenge on Lord Shiva. Daksha invited all the deities to the yajna except Lord Shiva and Goddess Sati. The fact that she was not invited did not deter Sati from attending the yajna. She expressed her desire to attend the yajna to Shiva, who tried his best to dissuade her from going. Shiva eventually relented and Sati went to the yajna. Sati, being an uninvited guest, was not given any respect at the yajna. Furthermore, Daksha insulted Shiva. Goddess Sati was unable to bear her father's insults toward her husband, so she immolated herself with her own powers. Enraged at the insult and the injury, Shiva destroyed Daksha's yajna, cut off Daksha's head, and later replaced it with that of a male goat as he restored him to life. Still immersed in grief, Shiva picked up the corpse of Sati's body, and performed the Tandava, the celestial dance of destruction, across all creation. The other Gods requested Vishnu to intervene to stop this destruction, towards which Vishnu used the Sudarshana Chakra, which cut through the Sati's corpse. The various parts of the body fell at several spots all through the Indian subcontinent and formed sites which are known as Shakti Peethas today. At all the Shakti Peethas, the Goddess Shakti is accompanied by her consort, Lord Bhairava (a manifestation of Lord Shiva).Shakti is an aspect of the Supreme Being Adi parashakti, the mother of the trimurti, the holy trinity or Tridevi in Hindu mythology.
So, here in Varanasi, Goddess Sati resides as Goddess Vishalakshi accompanied by Lord Kal Bhairava (a manifestation of Lord Shiva).
Temple of Goddess Vishalakshi is located near to Kashi Vishwanath Temple and Kal Bhairava Temple.
There are 5 aartis of Shree Kashi Vishwanath: 1. Mangala Aarti :- 3.00 - 4.00 (Morning). 2. Bhog Aarti :- 11.15 to 12.20 (Day). 3. Sandhya Aarti :- 7.00 to 8.15 (Evening). 4. Shringar Aarti :- 9.00 to 10.15 (night). 5. Shayan Aarti :- 10.30-11.00 (night). Security arrangements do not allow any cell phones, camera, belts with metal buckle, cigerrette, lighters etc. inside the temple.
Varanasi is easily accessible from all parts of the country.
Air India flies to Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport which is 22 km. from Varanasi and 30 km. from Sarnath. There is a direct, daily flight connection between Varanasi and New Delhi. It also connects major cities of India to the Holy place. Some of the cites that are connected through Airways are Lucknow, Kanpur, New Delhi, Agra, Khajuraho, Calcutta, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bhuvaneshwar, Bangalore, Bhopal, Indore, Chennai. For travel reservations contact Air India.
Varanasi Railway Station is an important and major rail junction. The city is served by trains from all metros and major cities across the country. New Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai, Gwalior, Meerut, Indore, Guwahati, Allahabad, Lucknow, Dehradun, Bangalore, Mysore, Kanpur, Ahmedabad and other Indian Cities have direct rail connections.
Varanasi, on (National Highway) NH2 from Calcutta to Delhi, NH7 to Kanya Kumari and NH29 to GoraKhpur is connected by good motorable, all – weather roads. Some important road distances are: Agra 565 km, Allahabad 128 km, Bhopal 791 km, Bodhgaya 240 km, Kanpur 330 km, Khajuraho 405 km, Lucknow 286 km, Patna 246 km, Sarnath 10 km, Lumbini Nepal 386 km, KushiNagar 250 km. (via Gorkhpur), UPSRTC Bus Stand, Sher Shah Suri Marg, Golgadda Bus Stand.
New Kashi Vishwanath Temple
The New Sri Vishwanath Temple is located in the campus of BHU (Banaras Hindu University), Varanasi and also known as the Birla Temple (as it is built by the Birla Group of Industries). The temple was founded by the Raja Birla of the Birla family of great industrialists. It was planned by the Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya (the founder of the Banaras Hindu University) as part of the BHU campus. Temple is open for the people of any castes and religions. There are nine temples in the BHU campus of Shiva/Vishwanath, Lord Nataraj, Goddess Parvati, Ganesh, Panchmukhi Mahadev, Hanuman, Goddess Saraswati and Nandi. New Vishwanath Temple is made up of the marble and its construction was completed in 1965. The tower of the temple is the tallest temple tower. It is taller than the Qutub Minar in the New Delhi. It is one of the most visited places in Varanasi. The temple is visited in every season by the devotees. The temple gets decorated beautifully and attracts huge crowd on many special occasions such as Shivratri, Navratri, Janmashtami, Shravan Mahotasva, Annakut, Diwali and temple’s establishment day. one can reach to the temple through the auto, taxi or rickshaw from any corner of the city.
New Vishwanath Temple is dedicated to the Lord Shiva and it is the exact copy of the original Kashi Vishwanath temple. The center of the temple has a Shiva lingam and the walls of the temple have stanzas of the Hindu scriptures written on it.
New Vishwanath Temple is located in the BHU premises about 7 km from Cantt. (Varanasi Railway Station).
New Vishwanath Temple opens all days a week at 4 am to 12 pm and 1 pm to 9 pm. Aarti timings are 4 am, 4.45 am, 10.30 am, 11.45 am, 12 pm, 1 pm, 6.45 pm, 7.30 pm, 8 pm and 8.45 pm. On special occasions such as Shivratri, temple opens from 4 am to 12 pm midnight. Monday is a special day when devotees perform worship of the Lord Shiva in order to fulfill their wishes. Rudrabhishek is performed on every Monday from 7 am to 8 am.
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- Kashi Vishwanath Temple Website
- Vishwanath Temple
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- Culture holidays - Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Uttar Pradesh
- Information about all jyotrilingas
- Kashi Vishwanath Temple
- New Kashi Vishwanath Temple
- Kaaba Hindu Temple