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KASHI VISHWANATH TEMPLE - A SYMBOL OF SPIRITUALITY





“HAR HAR MAHADEV SHAMBHU KASHI VISHWANATH GANGE”

About Kashi Vishwanath Temple

Kashi being the “heart” of Sanathan Dharma makes Kashi Vishwanath Mandir its “heartbeat”. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple, also known as the Golden Temple, is one of the most famous and respected Hindu temples located in the holy and ancient city of Varanasi. It is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, which is a Sanskrit word, combining  Jyoti which means ‘radiance’ and Lingas which means ‘sign’. It is a popular temple of Lord Shiva, also known as ‘Vishwanath’ or ‘Vishweshwara’ meaning ‘Ruler of the universe’. The temple stands on the western bank of the holy river ‘Ganges’. It holds immense religious and spiritual significance for Hindus worldwide. 

History of Kashi Vishwanath Temple

The history of the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir dates back several centuries. The magnificent Vishwanath temple was built by Vikramaditya. In 1194, the temple was destroyed on the commands of Qutb-ud-din Aibak. It was again rebuilt by a Gujarati merchant during the reign of Delhi’s Sultan Iltutmish in 1230 and later the destruction of the sacred hindu mandir was carried out during the rule of Sikander Lodhi. Yet again in the time of the Mughal emperor Man Singh I rebuilt the temple. However, historical records suggest that the temple has been destroyed and rebuilt multiple times throughout its existence.

During the Mughal Emperor Akbar and his grandson Aurangzeb ordered the destruction of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Aurangzeb’s forces demolished the original structure and constructed a mosque called Gyanvapi Mosque on its site and now the present beautiful temple was built by the great Rani Ahilya Bai Holkar, queen of Indore.

Today, the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir stands as a symbol of devotion, spirituality and cultural heritage. It remains a vibrant center of worship and continues to be an integral part of the city of Varanasi, the holy city of India.

Duration to Visit Kashi Vishwanath Temple

The duration of a visit to the Kashi Vishwanath mandir in Varanasi, India can vary depending on various factors such as the crowd, personal preferences, and religious practice. On average, a visit to the temple can take approximately 1 to 2 hours.

However, it’s important to note that the temple can get quite crowded, especially during peak pilgrimage seasons and festivals. During these times, the wait times to enter the temple and have darshan (sight of the deity) can be significantly longer, potentially extending the duration of the visit.

It’s advisable to plan your visit accordingly and consider factors like the time of day, weekdays versus weekends and major religious occasions to ensure a more comfortable and efficient visit to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

Location of Kashi Vishwanath Temple

The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is located in Varanasi, a holy city also known as Kashi or Banaras in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India.

The precise location of the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir is in the Vishwanath Gali area of the old city of Varanasi. It is situated near the western banks of the holy river Ganges (Ganga). The temple complex is within close proximity to the Dashashwamedh Ghat, one of the most famous and bustling ghats in Varanasi. 

Please note that due to the old city's narrow lanes and traffic restrictions, it is often recommended to reach the temple by foot, Tuk Tuk, or cycle rickshaw. Vehicles may not be able to access the temple directly.

The Architecture of Kashi Vishwanath Temple

Shri Kashi Vishwanath temple stands as a witness to the exquisite architectural craftsmanship of ancient India. The temple was constructed in the 18th century in the Nagara style of architecture, which is prevalent in North India. The temple structure is divided in three section. The first section is a spire on the building, the second is the golden dome and the third golden tower with a flag and trident at the top.

The main temple is quadrangle in shape and is surrounded by smaller shrines/ idols of other gods including Kaalbhairav, Vishnu, Ssanishwara, Avimukteshwara, Dhandhapani, Vishalakshi, Annapurna, Virupaksha, Vinayaka and Virupaksha Gauri in the complex .
The temple has a spire (shikhara) that rises to a height of about 15.5 meters (51 feet). The spire is adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures depicting various Hindu mythological figures.

The temple also has a small well in the temple called the Jnana Vapi also known as Gyan Vapi (The wisdom well). The temple complex features a spacious courtyard (sabha mandap) where devotees can gather and participate in religious ceremonies and rituals.

It is also known as Monkey temple since the temple is entirely covered by a large number of monkeys inhabiting the place. 

In recent years, a massive renovation and redevelopment project called the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor has been undertaken to enhance the temple complex.

Mythological Facts of Kashi Vishwanath Temple

The Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi, India is stepped in mythological significance. According to Hindu mythology there are some of the famous mythological facts linked with the temple:

VISHWANATH JYOTIRLINGA - The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the twelve jyotirlingas, which are considered the most sacred abodes of Lord shiva. It is believed that worshiping the Vishwanath Jyotirlinga can grant liberation (Moksha) and give blessings upon devotees. The temple has a Shakti Peeth along with the Jyotirlinga.

RAMA AND KASHI VISHWANATH - In this epic Ramayana, Lord Ram is said to have visited Kashi during his exile. It is believed that he worshiped Lord Shiva at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple and sought his blessings before embarking on his journey to rescue his wife, Sita,from the demon King Ravana.

SATI AND THE SHIVA- PARVATI MARRIAGE- Popular mythological story linked with the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is the story of Sati, the first wife of Lord Shiva, she self- sacrificed as her father, Daksha showed disrespect towards Lord Shiva. It is believed that the Kashi Vishwanath Temple was constructed at the place where Sati’s ear fell during the dance (Tandav) performed by Lord Shiva in his sorrow. It is also where Lord Shiva married his second wife, Goddess Parvati.

WISH FULFILLING CHHATRI- The temple has a beautified chhatri which is covered in gold plating. It is believed that the person who sees golden chhatri, their wish gets fulfilled.

THE WELL OF WISDOM- The temple has a well which is called “Well of Wisdom” because when Aurangzeb was planning to destroy the temple all the Lord Shiva’s idol was hidden in that well.

FIRST RAY OF LIGHT- It is believed that when the earth was founded, the first ray of the sun fell on Kashi.

Kashi Vishwanath Aarti Timings

 

S.NO.

PROGRAMME

TIME

1.

DARSHAN

6:00 AM- 6:00 PM

2.

MANGALA AARTI

3:00 AM- 4:00 AM

3.

BHOG

11:15 AM- 12:20 PM

7.

RUDRABHISHEK

4:00 AM- 6:00 PM

4.

SAPTARISHI AARTI 

7:00 PM- 8:15 PM

5.

BHOG/ AARTI

9:00 PM- 10:15 PM

6.

SHAYAN AARTI

10:30 PM- 11 PM

Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi offers special darshan tickets known as Sugam Darshan Tickets which are priced at about Rs. 300 per person. The Sugam Darshan tickets allows you to avoid the huge rush of devotees in the Kashi Vishwanath Dham and get a chance to have a trouble free darshan. 

Significance of Kashi Vishwanath Temple

The Kashi Vishwanath Temple holds immense significance for Hindus and is considered one of the most sacred and revered temples in India.

SPIRITUAL IMPORTANCE- The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is considered the supreme deity in Hinduism. The temple holds great spiritual importance for devotees who believe that a visit to this sacred site can help attain moksha (liberation from the cycle of birth and death).

JYOTIRLINGA- The temple houses one of the 12 Jyotirlinga, which are believed to be self- manifested lingams (symbolic representations) of Lord Shiva, and the Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga is highly venerated by devotees.

MOKSHA DAYINI CITY- Varanasi, also known as Kashi, is regarded as the City of Light and is considered one of the holiest cities in Hinduism. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is the heart of Varanasi and is believed to be the place where Lord Shiva bestows moksha (salvation) to devotees.

CULTURAL HERITAGE- The temple has a rich cultural heritage and has been a center for spiritual and cultural activities for centuries. It has been a hub of learning,music,art,and religious discourse, attracting scholars, artists, and devotees from all over the world.

PILGRIMAGE DESTINATION- The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is a significant pilgrimage site for Hindus. It is believed that a Pilgrimage to this temple and a dip in the holy Ganges river can cleanse one's sins, bestow blessings, and bring spiritual upliftment.

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANT- The temple has a long and storied history, with various rulers and patrons contributing to its construction and preservation. And has been rebuilt multiple times, standing as a symbol of resilience and devotion.

SYMBOL OF UNITY- The Kashi Vishwanath Temple has been a place of inclusivity and religious harmony. It has welcomed devotees and visitors from different faiths, promoting the ideas of unity and oneness among people.

CULTURAL IDENTITY OF VARANASI- The temple is an integral part of varanasi identity. It serves as a focal point for the city's religious and cultural traditions, attracting millions of pilgrims and tourists every year.

Kashi Vishwanath Corridor Project

The Kashi Vishwanath Corridor project is a redevelopment initiative aimed at enchanting the infrastructure and accessibility around the Kashi Vishwanath Temple Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. The project seeks to provide devotees with improved facilities and a seamless experience during their visit to the temple.

The main objectives of the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor project include expanding the temple premises, easing crowd movement, and developing the surrounding areas to accommodate the growing number of pilgrims. Its aim is to preserve and showcase the rich cultural heritage of Varanasi. It includes the renovation and beautification of historical structures, ghats, and nearby lanes. The project incorporates various technological elements to enhance the experience of visitors, it includes installation of CCTV cameras for security purposes, digital signages for information.

Weather & Climate in Kashi Vishwanath Temple

The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. The city experiences a subtropical climate with distinct seasons.

SUMMER (APRIL - JUNE)- Summer in Varanasi is hot and dry. The heat can be quite intense, especially during May and June, making it uncomfortable for outdoor activities.

MONSOON (JULY - SEPTEMBER)- Varanasi experiences a monsoon season characterized by heavy rainfall, which can sometimes lead to waterlogging and flooding in low-lying areas. It is advisable to carry an umbrella and raincoat.

AUTUMN (OCTOBER - NOVEMBER)- It is generally a good time to visit the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, as the weather is relatively comfortable, and the rainfall decreases.

WINTER (DECEMBER - FEBRUARY)- Winters in Varanasi are cool and comfortable. It is advisable to carry some warm clothing.

Best time to visit the Kashi Vishwanath Temple

The best time to visit the Kashi Vishwanath Temple can vary based on the festival schedules.
The Most favorable season to visit Kashi Vishwanath Temple is the Winter Season (October to February)- The cool temperatures makes it more comfortable for exploring the temple and the surrounding areas. Important festivals like Diwali, Durga Puja, and Mahashivratri often fall during this time, adding to the vibrant atmosphere and spiritual fervor.

How to reach Kashi Vishwanath Mandir?

The Kashi Vishwanath Mandir is located in the ancient city Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India.
Three ways to reach the Kashi Vishwanath temple are-

BY AIR - The closest airport to Kashi Vishwanath Temple is the LAL BAHADUR SHASTRI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT in Babatpur. From there, the temple is AROUND 25 KM or less than an hour by road. There are cabs and buses, private and public, that can take you to the temple straight from the airport. The best way to get from New Delhi to Kashi Vishwanath Temple is to fly, which takes 2h 51m.

BY TRAIN - The temple is around 3 km away from Varanasi Cantt railway station.Varanasi has a number of railway stations. While, Varanasi city station lies only 2km away from the temple, Varanasi junction is around 6 km away. Not too far from the temple is another railhead in Mugal Sarai (17km). And still closer, there is Banaras station (4km).You can also use Tuk Tuk Rickshaw to go to the temple.

BY ROAD - The Distance between Delhi and Varanasi is approximately 821 - 877 km, which varies on the route you take. It should preferably take 13 to 16 hours to cover this distance, but it again varies on the route you take. This is the shortest, faster, and the most recommended route to travel from Delhi to Varanasi. Most tourists and regular travelers use this route since the Delhi to Varanasi traffic is also not heavy on this highway. 

It's advisable to plan your travel in advance, especially during festival or peak tourist seasons, as Varanasi attracts a large number of Visitors. Additionally, be mindful of your belongings and be cautious of touts or unauthorized guides who may approach you.

Accommodation near Kashi Vishwanath Temple

There are several hotels near the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi: 

HOTELS AND GUESTHOUSES - There are numerous hotels and guesthouses in and around the temple area that cater to different budgets and preferences. Some popular options include Hotel Costa River, Hotel Vagmi, Hotel Landmark, The Hide Away Bedzz. These establishments offer comfortable rooms, amenities, and proximity to the temple.

DHARAMSHALAS -  These are several Dharamshalas ( Pilgrim guesthouses) near the Vishwanath Temple that provide basic accommodation facilities at affordable prices. These include Kashi Annapurna Bhavan, Sri Vishwanath Temple Trust Dharamshala, and Sri Kashi Vishwanath Gaudiya Math and Jaipuria Dharamshala.  

ASHRAMS - In Varanasi there are several ashrams that provide a serene and spiritual atmosphere for devotees and visitors. There are some Ashrams : Parmarth Ashram, Sankat Mochan Ashram, Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust Ashram, Kedar Ghat Ashram.

HOSTELS - There are some Budget Friendly hostels that provide affordable accommodation options, especially popular among Budget Travels, backpackers. There are some Hostels : Zostel, Wander Stationen, Moustache.

TENT CITY - Tent city conceptualized on Ganga river banks to top potential of tourism in the region. It provides accommodation facilities and caters. It is developed by Varanasi Development Authority. It has Swiss cottages, art gallery, library, gaming zone, restaurants, dining areas, conference facilities, spa and yoga studios. It will be operational from October to June every year. 

Attractions near Kashi Vishwanath Temple

  • Manikarnika Ghat (650m)
  • Nepali Temple of Lord Shiva (300m)
  • Ganga Aarti (500m) Dashashwamedh Ghat
  • Sankatmochan Temple (4km)
  • Ramnagar Fort (7km)
  • Sarnath (8km) 

Do's and Don'ts in Kashi Vishwanath Mandir 

While visiting the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, there are certain activities that visitors can engage in and certain guidelines to follow.

DO’S IN KASHI VISHWANATH TEMPLE

  • Worship, offer prayers, participate in religious rituals and seek blessings from Lord Shiva. 
  • Temple conducts several aarti throughout the day. You can join the devotees in the aarti ceremonies and experience the divine experience.
  • As the Kashi Vishwanath mandir is situated on the banks of the sacred river Ganges. Devotees often take a holy dip in the river before visiting the temple.
  • You can seek guidance and blessing from the presiding deity.
  • Devotees often make donations, offer food, or contribute to the temple’s charitable activities as a way of expressing their devotion.
  • The temple premises provide a serene and spiritual ambience where you can find quiet corners to meditate, reflect and connect with the divine.
  • Try some famous local cuisine which is Kachori Sabzi, Baati Chokha, Chena Dahi Vada, Choora matar, Malaiyyo, Rabri Jalebi. DON’T FORGET TO EAT “BANARSI PAAN”.

DON’T IN KASHI VISHWANATH TEMPLE

  • The main sanctum sanctum of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, where the lingam (symbol of Lord Shiva) is placed, is typically accessible only to the temple priest.
  • Photography and the use of electronic devices are generally prohibited inside the temple premises to maintain the sanctity of the place and avoid distraction.
  • Visitors are required to remove their shoes or any form of footwear before entering the temple complex.
  • The temple authorities have specific rules regarding items that are not allowed inside the temple premise, such as leather products, tobacco, alcohol, and non- vegetarian food. 
  • Inappropriate behavior or any form of disturbance is not tolerated.

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