Vishwanath Temple is located amidst the crowded lanes in the holy city of Varanasi also known as Kashi and Benares.
The Vishwanath Temple enshrines 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 Lord 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 converge here to perform an abhishekam to the sacred Jyotirlingam with sacred water of river Ganga.
Significance of Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple :
Also famous by the name of Shri Kashi Vishwanath, Shri Vishweshwar Temple is said to be dear to Lord Shiva.
Hindus believe that those who come and die here in kashi 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 Shiva 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 incessantly recites his name attains all siddhis and finally gets liberated.
History of Kashi Vishwanath Temple :
The very first mention of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple can be found in the Puranas including the Kashi Khanda (section) of Skanda Purana.
Interestingly, this temple has seen complete annihilation and rebuilding many times over the course of history.
The first time the temple was destroyed was in the year 1194 by the hands of Qutb-ud-din Aibak's army when he defeated the King of Kannauj.
The temple was rebuilt during the rule of Delhi's Iltutmish and was demolished again during Sikander Lodhi's time.
Raja Man Singh rebuilt the temple during Mughal Emperor Akbar's rule. In 1669 CE, Emperor Aurangzeb destroyed the temple and built the Gyanvapi Mosque in its place.
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.
Architecture of Kashi Vishwanath Temple :
The main temple is constructed in the form of a quadrangle and is surrounded by the shrines dedicated to other deities.
These temples are dedicated to Kaalbhairav, Dhandapani, Avimukteshwara, Vishnu, Vinayaka, Sanishwara, Virupaksha and Virupaksh Gauri.
Made out of black stone, the main Shivalinga of the temple is 60 cm tall and 90 cm in circumference and is enshrined in a silver altar.
A holy well by the name of "Gyaan Vapi" is situated here as well, which is believed to be the site where the Shivalinga was hidden to protect it from foreign invaders.
Structure of the temple is composed of three parts.
The first is a spire on the temple of Bhagwan (Lord) Shri Kashi Vishwanath.
The second a gold dome.
And the third is the gold spire atop the Vishwanath carrying a flag and a trident.