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Lahori Tola, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001 , District: Varanasi
Dedicated to
Shiva

Deity Posture

Architecture Style

Creator

Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar

Completed on

1780

About Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirling, Uttar Pradesh

Located in Vishwanath Gali of  Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, Kashi Vishwanath is one of the most famous temples of Bhagwaan Shiva. The Temple, standing on the river Ganga’s western bank, is one among the twelve Jyotirlingams of Shiva Temples. Kashi was the older name of the city Varanasi and the main deity was called Vishwanath since the beginning leading the temple to be popularly known as Kashi Vishwanath Temple. It is believed that visiting the temple and bathing in the water of the holy river Ganga is one of the many methods to attain Moksha. Hundreds of temples have been built in India in the same structural style as the Kashi Vishwanath temple because of its immense popularity. Many legends have recorded that the true devotee achieves freedom from death and hell by worshipping Bhagwan Shiva and are taken directly to his abode on Mount Kailasha by his messengers and not to Yamaraja.

The temple had been demolished by many Muslim rulers. Aurangzeb demolished it to construct Gyanwapi Mosque. The current structure was built on an adjacent site by Ahilya Bai, a Maratha ruler of Indore in 1780.

History

The temple has got a place in Puranas such as Skanda Purana. The original temple was demolished by the army of Aibak when he defeated the king of  Kannauj. Then a Gujarati merchant rebuilt it during the reign of Delhi Sultan Iltutmish. Again the demolition took place during the rule of either Hussain Shah Sharqi or Sikandar Lodhi. During Akbar’s rule, Raja Man Singh built the temple and it was further re-built by Todar Mal with Akbar’s funding at its original site in 1585.

The Legend

Going by Shiva Purana, once Brahma (the creator) and Vishnu (the preserver) argued about who was supreme. Shiva, to test them pierced the three worlds as a huge endless pillar of light, the jyotirlinga. To deduce the supremacy, Vishnu took the form of Varaha and began in search of the bottom while Brahma took the form of a Swan to fly to the pillar’s top. Brahma, filled with arrogance lied that he had found the bottom and offered a katuki flower as a witness. Vishnu confessed with the modesty of being unable to find the bottom. Brahma’s dishonesty angered Shiva and he took the form of Bhairava. He cut off Brahma’s lying fifth head and cursed him that he would never be worshipped on earth while Bhagwan Vishnu would be worshipped as equal to Shiva with his own temples till eternity. The jyotirlinga is an ancient axis Mundi symbol that represents the supreme formless reality at the core of creation, out of which the form Shiva appears.  The Manikarnika ghat on the banks of river Ganga near the temple is considered as Shakti Peetha.

 

Architecture of Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirling, Uttar Pradesh

Structure

The temple complex has a series of smaller shrines, located in  Vishwanatha Galli, near the river. The linga of the main deity is 60 centimeters tall and 90 centimeters in circumference enclosed in a silver altar. The main temple is in the shape of a quadrangle and is surrounded by shrines of other gods. There are small temples constructed inside the complex for Kalbhairava, Kartikeya, Avimukteshwara, Vishnu, Ganesha, Shiva, and Parvati. Gyan Vapi is a small well installed to the north of the temple known as the wisdom well. When the Mughals invaded, the Jyotirlinga was hidden in this well to protect it. There is a Sabha Griha leading to the inner Garbha Griha. The  Jyotirlinga is a dark brown colored stone that is idolized in the Sanctum, placed on a silver platform. The mandir structure is made up of three parts. The first consists of a spire on the temple. The second is a gold dome and the third is the gold spire above the sanctum bearing a flag and a trident. There are three domes each made up of pure gold which was supplied by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1835.

How to reach Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirling, Uttar Pradesh?

By Train: Varanasi railway junction, Kashi railway station, Mughal Sarai and Maduadih are the main railheads, well linked with major Indian cities and travelers can book their tickets for any one of these stations.
By Air: The Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport in Babatpur, Uttar Pradesh or Varanasi airport can be used as an air medium to reach the city and then the temple. They are well-connected to Indian metro cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Banglore etc. Tourists can easily hire a pre-paid taxi, cab or any other mode of public transport to reach the temple.
By Bus: Varanasi has excellent roadways connectivity with cities like Allahabad, Lucknow, Patna, Gorakhpur and Ranchi. A number of state and private buses including air-conditioned luxury buses can be availed from Lucknow to Varanasi. Well-maintained national highways, NH 2 and NH 28 also lead to the city.

Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirling, Uttar Pradesh Timings

4 am to 11 pm(All days of the week)

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