The story behind the Kashi Vishwanath Temple-
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most revered Hindu temples in India and is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who has been worshipped here for hundreds of years in the form of Vishwanatha or Vishweshwara, “Ruler of the World.” Vishwanath Temple is considered one of the 12 Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva, the holiest of holy shrines of Lord Shiva.
Devotees say this temple is the dearest to Lord Shiva and believe that Lord Shiva resided here and offered liberation (Moksha) and happiness to all. It is believed that the first Jyotirlinga manifested its supremacy over other gods, broke through the earth’s crust, and flared towards heaven.
There is the belief that those who visit the Vishwanath temple after a dip in the holy Ganga get Moksha. It is also believed that devotees achieve freedom from death, and are taken directly to Mount Kailash by messengers of Lord Shiva and not Yama after their death. It is also believed that Shiva himself says the mantra of salvation in the ears of the people who die naturally here.
Origin of Kashi Vishwanath Temple-
There are many stories about the origin of the temple. One story tells that the temple was built by the Pandava brothers after the Mahabharata war. Another story says that it was built by the sage Vishwamitra after he performed a penance to Lord Shiva. It is said that Lord Shiva himself chose Varanasi as his divine abode, making it a significant pilgrimage site for Shaivite Hindus.
According to the Shiva Purana, Brahma and Vishnu disagreed about who is supreme. Lord Shiva transformed into an unending pillar of light and asked them to locate its end. Lord Vishnu acknowledged his defeat while Lord Brahma lied and claimed that he has found the end.
As a result, Lord Shiva became angry and cursed Brahma, saying that Hindus would worship Vishnu instead of him because of his honesty. In the meantime, the places where Shiva’s light penetrated through the Earth came to be known as the 12 Jyotirlinga.
Who Built and Who Destroyed-
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple has been destroyed and rebuilt many times over the centuries. Despite the efforts to preserve and maintain the temple, it faced numerous challenges throughout history. The temple was targeted and destroyed multiple times by foreign invaders, including the Mughals and the British. Over the centuries, each time it was destroyed, it was rebuilt with the devotion and contributions of the Hindu community.
|9-10 century BCE||By Qutubuddin Aibak in 1194 CE|
|By Gujarati merchant in 1230||By Sikandar Lodi in 14th century|
|By Narayan Bhatt in 1584-85||By Aurangzeb in 1669|
|By Ahilyabai Holkar in 1780|
Much later in the year 1839, Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab donated 1000 kg of gold that was used for gold plating the domes of the temple.
In recent times, significant efforts have been made to restore the temple to its former glory. The Kashi Vishwanath Corridor, a massive redevelopment project, was initiated in 2019 to enhance the temple premises and provide improved facilities for pilgrims. The corridor aims to connect the temple with the riverfront, allowing devotees easier access to the holy Ganges.
Today, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple stands as a symbol of devotion and spiritual significance. It attracts millions of devotees from all over the world who seek the blessings of Lord Shiva and wish to experience the sacredness of Varanasi, a city steeped in history and tradition.
Lesser-Known Facts About Kashi Vishwanath Temple-
- This revered temple was reportedly visited by many renowned saints, including Adi Shankaracharya, Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Sathya Sai Baba, Swami Dayananda Saraswati and Guru Nanak.
- The stone statue of Nandi Bull was gifted to the temple by the Rana of Nepal in the 1860s.
What is the Aarti Timings at the Temple?
- Temple Timing: 04 AM – 11 PM.
- Mangala Aarti Timing: 03:00AM to 04:00AM
- Bhog/Aarti Timing: 11:15 A.M. to 12:20 PM
- Saptirishi Aarti Timing: 07:00 PM to 08:15 PM
- Night Shringar/Bhog Aarti Timing: 09:00 PM to 10:15 PM
- Shayana Aarti Timing: 10:30 PM to 11:00 PM
How to Reach the Kashi Vishwanath Temple?
Temple Address: Lahori Tola, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001
Varanasi is easily accessible from all parts of the country. The city of temples offers convenient and comfortable traveling options to and from other cities of India and is well connected by road, trains and flights.
4 Km. from Chaudhary Charan Singh Bus Stand, Vijay Nagar Colony, Chetganj, Varanasi (UP). Frequent govt. and private buses and other road transport services from all major cities and towns in India. Private taxis are available from travel agencies, hotels, etc., auto rickshaws, cycle rickshaws are also available.
Varanasi has a number of railway stations. While Varanasi city station lies only 2 Km. away and Varanasi junction is around 6 Km. away from the temple. From the exit gate of the railway station, cycle rickshaws, autos and taxis can be easily hired.
From Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport, the Kashi Vishwanath temple is about 20-25 Km. away. The Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport in Babatpur is well-connected to Indian metros such as Delhi and Mumbai. Interconnecting flights are available from Delhi Airport. So, tourists coming from other Indian cities or abroad can reach the Delhi domestic airport and board a flight bound for Varanasi.
Dress Code for the Temple-
The dress code will be applicable to devotees at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. There is a mandatory dress code for visitors to wear an unstitched dhoti and kurta to touch “Shivalinga” inside the temple’s ‘garbha-griha’ (sanctum-sanctorum). Women devotees will be allowed to touch the “Shivalinga” only when they wear the Sari.
The devotees wearing pants, shirts, jeans, and suits will only be allowed to have a darshan of Baba (Shivalinga) from the outside.
Places to visit near Kashi Vishwanath Temple-
- Nepali Temple of Lord Shiva (300 m)
- Dashashwamedh Ghat (500 m)
- Ganga Aarti (500 m)
- Manikarnika Ghat (650 m)
- Kaal Bhairav Mandir (1 km)
- Assi Ghat (3 km)
- Shri Durga Temple (3 km)
- Shri Satyanarayan Tulsi Manas Mandir (4 km)
- Bharat Mata Temple (4 km)
- Sankatmochan Temple (4 km)
- Ramnagar Fort (7 km)