Vishveshwar – Where Mysticism Meets Spirituality
Varanasi, also known as Kashi is considered the holiest of all pilgrimage sites related to Hinduism. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple, also called Vishveshwar is one of the major landmarks of the city.
The temple is located on the western banks of the river Ganga. It is widely believed that a devotee attains salvation (Moksha) if he or she is able to view the Shivlingam at the temple. Many famous saints such as Adi Shankaracharya, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekananda, Tulsidas Goswami, Guru Nanak, and Swami Dayanand Saraswati are known to have visited the temple.
Some of the interesting facts related to the temple are mentioned below-
There is a legend which states that when the earth was created the first ray of light fell on the place what is now Kashi. According to some legends, Shiva stayed at Kashi for some time and is regarded as its guardian.
It is widely believed that here even the nine planets cannot follow their own will and have to follow Shiva. Shani (Saturn) is believed to have come to Kashi to meet Shiva and could not enter this temple for a period of 7 and a half years. During your visit to the Kashi Vishwanath temple, you will be able to view the temple of Shanidev outside it.
The temple was destroyed and rebuilt numerous times throughout history. It is widely believed that the original temple was constructed in 1490. It is widely believed to be the place where the Jyotirlinga was hidden when the temple was destroyed by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.
Locals believe that the main priest of the temple jumped inside the well with the Shiv Ling to protect it from the intruders. A mosque was built in its place. The Gyanvapi Mosque and Kashi Vishwanath temple stand side by side even today.
The temple complex includes a number of small shrines which are located in Vishwanatha Galli, which is located close to the river. The lingam of the presiding deity is 60 cm tall and 90 cm in circumference and is kept in a silver altar.
The main temple has a quadrangle shape and is surrounded by temples of other gods. Within the temple complex are small shrines dedicated to Dhandapani, Kaalbhairav, Vishnu, Virupaksha and Virupaksha Gauri. There is a small wall in the temple which is known as Jnana Vapi, also called Gyaan Vapi (the wisdom well).
It is located to the north of the main temple. There is a Sabha Griha (congregation hall) which leads to the garba griha (sanctum sanctorum). The Jyotirlinga is a stone of dark brown color. The temple structure has three parts. The first includes a spire. The second is a golden dome and the third is a gold spire on the top of Shiva carrying a flag and trident.
What is the best time to visit Vishveshwar?
The best time to visit the temple is during the winter when the weather is pleasant and a calm breeze blows throughout the city.