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Kashi Viswanath Temple

Kashi Viswanath temple is set in the holiest place in India called Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. The enshrined temple is a spot for millions of Hindus, who come in masses all the time to visit Khasi Vishwanath. The home has plentiful religious values and cultural customs which are live even today.

Kashi is considered as one the twelve joytirlingas which is holiest for the Hindus. The temple resides on the westerly side of the banks of holy river Ganges. The key divinity of the temple is Lord Viswanath or Vishweshwara which infers as the ruler of the universe.

The holy place is one of the oldest places in the world with history documented for about 3500 years. The Hindu scripture has mentioned this holy temple for  long time periods and is also worshipped by Shaiva philosophy followers. History has also mentioned that the temple was demolished and reconstructed a number of times. Aurangazeb was the last emperor who demolished the site and erected Gyanvapi mosque in the same place. The Maratha monarch called Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore is responsible for the erection of current structure on the adjacent site during 1780.

It was from 1983 that the government of Uttar Pradesh has taken responsibility of the temple. At times of holy festivals devoted to Lord Shiva such as Shivratri, Kashi Naresh and more only the functioning priest is permitted to get into the sanctum sanctorum for performing religious procedures. Only after he completes the procedures others are allowed to enter.


History has also mentioned lord Shiva’s fame in its puranas, especially in the Kashi Khanda of Skanda purana. It was in 1194 CE where the army of Qutb-ud-din Aibak crushed the Raja of Kannauj who was a commander of Mohammed Ghori, during that defeat the master copy Viswanath temple was ruined. It was Shamsuddin Iltumish (1211-1266 CE) who was a Guajarati merchant who rebuilt the temple. Hussain Shah Sharqi (1447-1458) or Sikandar Lodhi (1489-1517) came into rule at their specified periods where the temple was again wrecked. Raja Man Singh erected the temple again but the Hindus weren’t happy and shunned as Mughal emperor was related to his family through marriage. The temple was again rebuilt by Raja Todar Mal with funds supported from Akbar at its original site during the period of 1585.
1669 CE was again a demolishing period were emperor Aurangazeb destroyed the temple and established a Gyanvapi mosque. The remains of the demolished temple can be seen at the back of the mosque. Malhar Rao Holkar who was the Martha ruler came up and wanted to destroy the mosque and built the temple again but wasn’t able to do that. Ahilyabai Holkar was his daughter in law who constructed the temple nearby the mosque and gold was donated to the temple by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It was during 1833-1840 CE that boundaries for Gyanvapi and Ghats for the temple were constructed by Ahilyabai. The operations of the temple were carried on in a smooth process by many contributions made by various noble families from many familial monarchies in India.


According to Shiv puranas, Lord Brahma and lord Vishnu had an argument amongst them as to who is powerful. To teach them a lesson, Lord Shiva perforated a large spotlight pillar, the joytirlinga which predicted the three worlds. Vishnu and Brahma started in the opposite directions to find the end of the huge pillar. Vishnu confessed his failure whereas Brahma lied that he located the end of the pillar. Lord Shiva became angry and appeared as a second pillar with light and cursed Lord Brahma that he will not have the opportunity to partake in ceremonies whereas lord Vishnu will be worshipped till infinity. The joytirlinga is considered as a supreme power from which lord Shiva appeared partly. Hence joytirlinga shrines are considered as a divine place where lord Shiva appeared from the lightning column of light. The forms of Shiva are 64 in number apart from joytirlingas. Varied manifestations of lord Shiva are represented in the joytirlinga sites. Each joytirlinga spot has lingam as their structure which is an elongated pillar representing the beginningless and endless of the stambha pillar which also predicts the nature of lord Shiva. There are 12 joytirlingas in India they are Mahakaleshwar at Ujjain in the state of Madhya Pradesh, Nageshwar at Dwaraka in Gujarat, Rameshwar at Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu, Grigneshwar at Aurangabad in Maharashtra, Vaidyanath at Deoghar in Jarkhand, Mallikarjuna at srisailam at Andhra Pradesh, Triambakeshwar in Maharashtra, Vishwanath at Varnasi in Uttar Pradesh, Kedarnath in Himalayas, Bhimashankar in Maharashtra, Somnath in Gujarat, and Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh.

The Kashi Viswanath temple also has the Manikarnika Ghat which is considered a referenced place for Shaktism called as Shakti Peetha. The origin of Shakti Peetha evolved from the Shaivite literature which is a substantial literature which discourses the mythology of Daksha Yaga. Stories open up that Lord Shiva reached Kashi Viswanath after the death of Devi Sati through Manikarnika.


The architecture of the temple is another inspiring aspect to be discussed. The temple holds a number of smaller shrines, on lanes called Viswanath Galli near the river. The main god is in the form of linga which is 60cm tall and 90cm in circumference put up on silver base. The quadrangle shape holds the main temple where other smaller memorials are present around. The small temples around the complex are Dhandapani, Vinayaka, Vishnu, Kaalbhairav, Avimuktheswara, Virupaksha, Virupaksha Gauri, and Sanishwara. Jnana Vapi also mentioned as gyaan Vapi is the wisdom well which is found in the temple complex in the north direction. It is trusted that the joytirlinga was in the well to guard itself from intrusion. Previous stories open up that the priest along with the joytirlinga jumped into the well to safe guard it from encroachers.

When the structure of the temple is taken into consideration a Sabha Gurh or congregation hall is present in the garbha gurh. The Linga is developed from a black colored stone, and placed on a silver base which is the main deity. The temple has three main parts in it where the first is the spire of Lord Shiva or Viswanath, the second is the astonishing gold dome and the third feature is the flag and trident that Lord Viswanath is carrying. Kashi Viswanath temple receives nearly 3000 visitors each day where at religious occasions the visitor numbers go up to 1,000,000 and more. The main feature to be noted about the temple is the gold dome and 15.5 m high gold spire. This temple is also called as a Golden temple as there are three gold domes built from pure gold.  It is also called golden temple as it is similar to it.

Best Time to Visit

October and March are perfect months to visit Khasi Viswanath temple as the season is favorable with degrees ranging from 5-15. The weather is idyllic and cool completely suitable for sight-seeing and outing.


The opening time for Khasi Viswanath temple at Varnasi starts from 2.30 a.m. with Mangala Aarti which takes place from 3 to 4.30 a.m. General Darshan for devotes is allowed from 4 to 11 a.m. A mid-day Bhog Aarti is also conducted from 11.30 to 12 a.m. A free darshan is again allowed from 12 noon to 7 p.m. Sapta Rishi Aarti is again conducted from 7 to 8.30 p.m. in the evening after which darshan is again allowed till 9 p.m. Shrinagar Aarti starts from 9 to 10.15 p.m. and Shayan Aarti starts from 10.30 to 11 p.m. at night. The closing time of the temple is at 11 p.m. Offerings such as clothes, milk, Prasad are provided to the poor and poverty-stricken.

How to Reach

By Air

Indian airlines flies to Babatpur airport which is located 22km away from Varnasi and 30km from Sarnath. Daily flight is also available that flies from Varnasi and New Delhi. Other flights are also available from Agra, Calcutta, Lucknow, Bhubaneshwar, Mumbai, and Khajuraho to Varnasi.

By Train

Varnasi being the main rail junction has almost all metros and all main rails from all major cities crossing it. Trains are available from and to Mumbai, Chennai, New Delhi, Gwalior, Calcutta, Indore, Meerut, Allahabad, Lucknow, Guwahati, Dehradun and other major cities.

By Roads

By roads, transport is possible with the national highways that run through all major cities. Private as well as public buses run to the temple for devotees from all the cities. Hired taxis are also available to reach the temple.

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