Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi: The History of Shiva & The Legend of Jyotirlingas

Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the holiest Hindu Temples located in Kashi, now called Varanasi. Know about this temples history, its architecture, the legend of Jyotirlingas here in the article below.
Kashi Vishwanath temple
Kashi Vishwanath temple

Kashi is the old name for the city of Benaras, now called Varanasi. The place is known to be on the banks of the holy river Ganges, called Ganga in Hindi. Varanasi is known for its temple and the most famous temple there is the Kashi Vishwanath temple. It is located in the Vishwanath Gali in the city and has millions of devotees visiting it every year. But do we really know why this temple is so famous across the world? What is the legend behind its existence and how does it happen that every wish comes true once devotees visit this temple? Do we really know all about the Jyotirlinga that is worshipped here? Read the article further to know all about the above mentioned. 

PM Modi is also present in Varanasi today to inaugurate the Kasi Vishwanath Dham. Take a look at the tweet below.

Kashi Vishwanath Temple: All You Need To Know

Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most famous Hindu Temples. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It has one of the 12 Jyotirlingas or the Jyotirlingams which make it one of the holiest temples of Shiva. 

Main Deity:

The major deity of the temple is Shri Vishwanath which means the Lord of the Universe. 

Vishva: Universe; Nath: One who has dominion 

The Hindu temple of Kashi Vishwanath has been the centre of Shaiva philosophy since time immemorial. It has been demolished by many Muslim rulers from time to time, Aurangzeb being the last one. 

The present structure of the temple is the one built by Ahilya Bai Holkar. 

The year in which the current structure was built was 1780. 

It is being managed by the Government of Uttar Pradesh since 1983. 

History of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple:

The Shiva Purana, a holy book of Hindus, mentions Jyoritlingas. These are the structural manifestations of Lord Shiva and are considered to be Him by Hindus. 

The twelve jyotirlingas are Somnath in Gujarat, Mallikarjuna at Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh, Mahakaleswar at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh, Kedarnath in Uttarakhand, Bhimashankar in Maharashtra, Viswanath at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Triambakeshwar in Maharashtra, Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga, Deogarh in Deoghar, Jharkhand, Nageswar at Dwarka in Gujarat, Rameshwar at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and Grishneshwar at Aurangabad in Maharashtra.

This temple is situated on Manikarnika Ghat and is considered as a Shakti Peeth or the place of worship for the Shaktism sect of Hinduism. The origin of the Shaktipeets is mentioned in Daksha Yaga. 

Kashi Vishwanath temple has a seal or Lord Avimukteshwara dating back to 9-10 century BC which was discovered in Rajghat excavations. The temple is also mentioned in the boom of Xuanzang who visited Benaras in 635 CE. It also finds a mention in Skanda Purana. 

Kashi Vishwanath Temple: Legend of Jyotirlingas

Shiva Purana mentions the story of the Jyotirlingams. As per the legend once there was a fight between two of the Trinity, Vishnu and Brahma, about who was the better one. To test them, the third of the Trinity, Shiva pierced three worlds with an endless pillar of light, which is called the Jyotirlinga. Vishnu then turned into a boar and tried to find the bottom of the pillar and Brahma took to the upper end turning into a swan. But Brahma lied about finding the upper end of the pillar which made Shiva angry. He had even offered Katuki flowers as a witness. Vishnu however confessed about not finding the other end. Shiva then turned in the fearful Bhairava and cut down Brahma's fifth head and cursed him that he would never be worshipped. To date, there is no temple of Brahma. Vishnu was blessed that he would be worshipped in all the Shiva temples for eternity. 

What is actually a Jyotirlinga?

Jyotirlinga is the representation of the nirguna or the formless supreme reality. This is the core of the creation, out of which Shiva is formed. Shiva is the Saguna or the form of the creation. Jyotirlinga is the form where Shiva appeared out as a fiery column of light. There are 12 Jyotirlingas or manifestations of Shiva. 

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Who built Kashi or Varanasi?

Kashi or Varanasi that we know today has been built by Maratha and Bhumihar Brahmin kings in the 18th century.

Who built the Kashi Vishwanath temple that we can see today in Varanasi?

Ahilya Bai Holkar built the Kashi Vishwanath temple that we can see today. The last final renovation of the temple waa done by her.

Who built the Kashi Vishwanath temple?

Kashi Vishwanath temple's builder is still unknown. All one knows is that this temple is so old that iut finds its mention in the Skanda Purana as well.

Why is Kashi Vishwanath so famous?

Kashi Vishwanath is famous because of the Shiva Jyotirlinga that is present there. It is one of the 12 ost famous jyotirlingas in the country.
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