What is Kashi Vishwanath temple’s history
May 13 |
As an old Hindi saying goes, 'Kashi ke kankar Shankar samaan,' which means that 'Each pebble is as sacred as Shiva in Kashi.' Varanasi is the spiritual capital of the world for the followers of the Hindu religion. Therefore, a visit to the Kashi Vishwanath temple for Hindus is essential as a trip to Mecca for Muslims or a trip to the Vatican city for Christians. Therefore, it is necessary to understand Kashi Vishwanath temple history to grasp the importance and significance of the temple in the Hindu religion.
As we know that Varanasi is the home to Kashi Vishwanath temple, it is also important to note that Kashi Vishwanath holds great importance for the devotees of Lord Shiva. Moreover, it is one of the twelve jyotirlingas, which is another reason why Hindus hold this temple in high regard.
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Varanasi & Kashi Vishwanath temple history
Kashi Vishwanath, Varanasi origin according to Hindu mythology?
Let’s get to know the Kashi Vishwanath temple, Varanasi history.
Varanasi is the most sacred place for the followers of the Hindu religion. It is home to 23000 temples. Apart from being home to so many temples, is there any other reason why the city of Varanasi is sacred?
Lord Shiva is the protector of Varanasi city. The scriptures of the Hindu religion mentions that Lord Shiva built the city of Varanasi after he married Goddess Parvati.
One more instance that reminds us of Varanasi city's importance is that it is a common belief that the first rays of the sun graced this city when the world was created. It also indicates that it will be the only city that will not be affected by Pralayam (the end of the world).
Kashi Vishwanath mandir history
Kashi Vishwanath Temple is of Lord Shiva, and it is in the 'Puranas,' which is a holy scripture of Hinduism.
Let’s look into the Kashi Vishwanath history to understand the legacy of the temple better.
Qutb-ud-din Aibak demolished the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in 1194 AD. Qutb-ud-din Aibak defeated the Raja of Kannauj, after which he demolished the temple. The temple was rebuilt again but Illtutmish demolished it again in his reign. Under Akbar's rule, Raja Mann Singh built the temple once again. However, the local Hindus boycotted the temple's construction because Raja Mann Singh had given permission to the Mughals to marry into his family. Raja Todar Mal restored the temple once again.
Aurangzeb destroyed the temple during his rule, and built the Gyanvapi mosque in its place. A small well is present inside the temple, its name is Jnana Vapi or Gyanvapi. It is an essential part of the Kashi Vishwanath temple history as according to a popular belief that a priest jumped into the well with the shivling as the invaders arrived to protect it.
Coming back to the present, Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar, who was the Maratha clan's ruler, built the temple structure which we witness today.
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Detailed history on the current structure of Shri Kashi Vishwanath temple
Unsuccessful attempts to build the current temple
Here we will learn the Kashi Vishwanath temple history surrounding its construction.
There were many attempts to build the Kashi Vishwanath temple before Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar made the current temple. So let's dive into the events which occurred before the construction of the present temple.
The Maratha ruler Malhar Rao Holkar wanted to reconstruct the Kashi Vishwanath temple in 1742. So he made a plan to demolish the mosque to build the temple in its place. But, unfortunately, the plan did not materialize as the Nawab of Awadh did not allow it. Since the territory was under the control of Nawab of Awadh, Malhar Rao Holkar could not continue with his reconstruction plan.
The Maharaja of Jaipur made one more attempt to construct the temple in the year 1750. He commissioned a land survey as he wanted to purchase it and then construct the temple on it. But this attempt also did not materialize.
Successful attempt to build the current temple of Kashi Vishwanath
It is said that once, Lord Shiva appeared in the dream of Rani Ahalya Bai Holkar of Indore, which introduced the idea of building the temple.
Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar, the daughter-in-law of Malhar Rao Holkar, finally constructed the temple in 1780.
The temples nearby the Kashi Vishwanath temple were constructed during 1833- 1840. Even the ghats and the boundary of the GyanVapi well were built during this period. Many noble families and kingdoms of the Indian subcontinent made generous contributions to support the operations of the temple.
The temple's dome’s gold-plating was made from the donation of 1 tonne of gold from Maharaja Ranjit Singh of the Sikh Empire. Similarly, many other contributions were made to the temple over a period of time.
Structure of Kashi Vishwanath Mandir
A series of smaller temples surround the main temple complex. All these temples are in a famous lane whose name is ‘Vishwanath Gali’. The whole area is near the holy river Ganga. The structure of the main deity of the shrine is 90cm in circumference and 60 cm tall, and it is in a silver altar.
The shrines of other Gods surround the main temple. The shape of the main temple is a quadrangle. As we mentioned earlier, other small temples are surrounding the main temple, such as temples of Dhandapani, Avimukteshwara, Vishnu, Kaalbhairav, Vinayaka, Sanishwara, Virupaksha, and Virupaksh Gauri.
There is also a small well in the temple complex. The name of the well is Jnana Vapi or Gyaan vapi. It's in the north portion of the main temple. According to popular belief, it is said that the jyotirlinga is hidden in this well from the invaders.
The temple is made of three parts. The first part consists of a tapering pyramidal structure on the top of the temple of Lord Vishwanath. The second part is where the golden dome is situated. The third part consists of a gold spire with Lord Vishwanath carrying a trident and a flag.
Kashi Vishwanath temple origin according to mythology
The origin of the temple has an eventful past. Jyotirlingas is the name of twelve places on Earth. They are the locations that hold some significance of the event, which led to its formation in the first place. Kashi Vishwanath temple is one of the twelve jyotirlingas, and the remaining 11 jyotirlingas are all at different locations in the world. Jyotirlingas are the special locations where Shiva's endless pillar of light pierced the Earth while testing Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma.
What was the reason for Shiva to create an endless pillar of light? The legend starts with Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu arguing over who is more supreme than the other. Then, Shiva decided to test their powers, pierced the three worlds by transforming into an endless pillar of light, and ordered Brahma and Vishnu to find the end of the pillar of light.
Lord Vishnu accepted defeat, but on the other hand, Lord Brahma lied. Brahma said that he found the end of the shaft. As a punishment to Brahma for lying, Shiva cursed him, saying that he will never enjoy the prestige of being worshipped by devotees during festivals and celebrations. On the other hand, people will worship Vishnu till the end of time as an award from Shiva.
The pillar of light created pierced the world in 12 places. These 12 jyotirlingas are those same 12 places and hence carry much importance and significance.
The Kashi Vishwanath Corridor issue
Now that we understand the history of the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi let's know what is going on regarding the project of the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor, as this will be one of the significant events in the Kashi Vishwanath temple history.
The Kashi Vishwanath Corridor project will cost about Rs 600 crore for the government. The project aims to connect the ghats to the temple to ease the access for the devotees visiting the temple. The pathways are 50 feet wide so that devotees can walk to the temple from the ghats in an easily accessible way.
A space of 45,000 square meters will be available around the temple. In this vast space, the government plans to set up rest houses, shops, cafeterias, help desks, and hospitals. This project is also a beautification project with the aim to beautify the temple and its surrounding area as it is one of the most popular and important temples in the Hindu religion.
The Kashi Vishwanath temple history is quite eventful and full of mentionable attempts to reconstruct it until Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore finally constructed it. Moreover, the temple is an important pilgrimage site for the devotees of Lord Shiva, and it's being in Varanasi makes it even more sacred. The Godly app provides you with accurate information on deities of the Hindu religion and temples, apart from allowing you to attend live darshan from the comfort of your home. Download the app and get access to more features and get blessings.
Q1) Why is Kashi important?
Kashi is another name for Varanasi, and it is on the bank of the holy river Ganga. It is a part of the seven sacred cities' Sapta' Puri.' Sapta Puri is the seven religious centers in India.
Haridwar, Kashi, Kanchipuram, Ayodhya, Mathura, Ujjain and Dwarka are the Sapta Puri.
To be a part of Sapta puri is an indication of how vital Kashi is in terms of religion.
Kashi has been a cultural center for thousands of years, and it is also on the holy river Ganga which makes it even more important in a religious sense.
Q2) Is there any dress code for the Kashi Vishwanath temple?
When you visit the Kashi Vishwanath temple, there is no particular attire which you should wear. However, you must follow a general dress code, such as covering arms and legs. Contrary to popular belief, Indian traditional dresses are not compulsory to wear as you can even wear western clothes as long as you follow the general dress code.
Q3) What are the Kashi Vishwanath temple timings?
The timings are different special days, but on normal days the timings are as mentioned below:
Mangala Aarti : 3 AM - 4 AM
Bhog Aarti: 11.15 AM - 12.20 PM during the day
Sandhya Aarti: 7 PM - 8.15 PM in evening
Shringar Aarti: 9 PM - 10.15 PM
Shayan Aarti: 10.30 PM - 11 PM
The best time to visit the temple is during the winter season.
Q4) How to reach the Kashi Vishwanath temple?
If you are traveling by road, then there are state and private-run buses to help you reach the temple quickly. Reach Lahori Tola by taxi or auto-rickshaw. The gate of the Kashi Vishwanath temple is easily visible from here. Enter the gate and walk through the Vishwanath Gali, which is a very popular lane. Go through the market where they sell puja items and sweets and reach the temple.
If you travel by train, then drop off at any train station near the temple. For example, Varanasi city station(2 km), Varanasi junction (6 km), Maduadih station (4 km), and Mughal Sarai (17 km) are some of the railway stations you can reach to visit the Kashi Vishwanath temple.
If you travel by air, then Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport in Babatpur has a good connection to metro cities in India such as Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, and more. People coming from other cities or abroad can reach the Delhi airport and board a flight for Varanasi. Once you get to Varanasi airport, the commute from the airport to the temple is 20 - 30 kilometers.