BABA VISHWANATH (VARANASI) PHOTOS AND HISTORY
Om Namaha Shivaya!
Standing on the western bank of India's holiest river Ganges, Varanasi is the oldest surviving city of the world and the cultural capital of India.
It is in the heart of this city that there stands in its fullest majesty the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in which is enshrined the Jyotirlinga of Shiva, Vishweshwara or Vishwanatha.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most famous Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located in Benaras, the Holiest existing Place of Hindus, where at least once in life a Hindu is expected to do pilgrimage, and if possible, also pour the remains (ashes) of cremated ancestors here on the River Ganges
The Gyanvapi Mosque, which is adjacent to the temple, is the original site of the temple.
The original holy well - Gyanvapi in between temple & mosque
Legend maintains that Lord Shiva manifested himself in the from of a lingam at 12 holy cities in India, Varanasi being one of them.These lingams we known as JYOTIRLINGAMS. To the side of the temple is Gyan-Vapi('The well of Knowledge'). The Jyotirlingam of the original Vishwanath Temple, is believed to be hidden in the well by his devotees to protect it from the early Muslim invaders.It is said that the main priest of the temple had jumped in the well with the Shiv Ling in order to protect the (Jyoti-r) Ling from the invaders
Vishweshwara Jyotirlinga has a very special and unique significance in the spiritual history of India.
Tradition has it that the merits earned by the darshan of other jyotirlinga scattered in various parts of India accrue to devotee by a single visit to Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
Deeply and intimately implanted in the Hindu mind, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple has been a living embodinent of our timeless cultural traditions and highest spiritual values. The Temple has been visited by all great saints- Adi Shankaracharya, Ramkrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekanand, Goswami Tulsidas, Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati, Gurunanak and several other spiritual personalities. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple attracts visitors not only from India but abroad as well and thereby symbolises man's desire to live in peace snd harmony with one another.
Here gravitate the teeming millions of India to seek benediction and spiritual peace by the darshan of this Jyotirlinga which confers liberation from the bondages of maya and the
inexorable entanglements of the world.
A simple glimpse of the Jyotirlinga is a soul-cleansing experience that transforms life and puts it on the path of knowledge and bhakti.
The temple town that claims to be the oldest living city in the world, with 3500 years of documented history is also called Kashi and hence the temple is popularly called as Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
May this sacred Shivling bless our souls with the darshan of heaven which is nothing but the blessed lotus feet of Lord Shiva
Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga: Lord Shiva's Sacred Abode
Located in the holy city of Varanasi, Kashi Vishwanath is one of the holiest abodes of Lord Shiva. With more than 3500 years of a history behind it, this place is also known as Kashi and hence, the temple is popularly called as Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The residing deity in this temple known as Vishweshwara has been a central part of worship in Hinduism. Kashi Vishwanath temple has been rebuilt many times, the present one being built by a female Maratha monarch named Ahilya Bai Holkar.
Structure Of The Temple:
Vishwanath temple has a 15.5 metre high spire covered with the 1000 kilos of gold donated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Lahore. The Jyotirlinga in this temple is enclosed in a silver altar. Kashi Vishwanath has a series of smaller shrines located in a small lane within the circumference of the temple. There is a well inside the temple which is known as Jnana Vapi or the Wisdom Well. Some stories about the temple say that the Vishwanath Jyotirlinga was hidden in the Wisdom Well at the time of invasion by foreigners.
Varanasi also known as the City of Ghats is enameled with the presence of Lord Shiva in its air. More than 3000 devotees pay their visit to Kashi Vishwanath everyday. At the river side of Ganga the Sandhya Aarti is worth a view in the evening times. Sometimes on occassions like Maha Shivratri, the number of visitors even reaches a lakh.
Kashi Vishwanath and a mosque named Gyanvapi Mosque exist side by side. The original temple was built at the present location of the mosque. But after being destroyed by Aurangzeb and a mosque was built there. The temple was rebuilt at it's present location.
According to the ancient Hindu Mythology people who once take bath in the holy water of Ganges in Varanasi and offer prayers to the Vishweshwara jyotirlinga in Kashi Vishwanath attain Salvation or Moksha. There are also some myths which say that Lord Shiva himself blows the mantra of salvation into the ears of those who choose to end their lives in Varanasi.
By Bus: Almost all major cities in India are well connected to Varanasi by bus route. Frequent buses are available from all other major towns and cities of Uttar Pradesh to Varanasi.
By Rail: There are two rail heads to reach Vishwanath Temple namely the Varanasi Junction and Kashi Junction. Both of them are well connected to all major railway junctions in India like Delhi (780kms) and Kolkata (680kms).
By Air: Daily connecting flights can be found from Delhi(780kms), Mumbai (1593kms) and Agra (577kms). These airports are in turn well linked to all other major airports in the country.
Vishwanath Temple must be visited at least once by all Hindu pilgrim souls. By going to this place you will not only be visiting one of the holiest Hindu pilgrimages but also one of the oldest cities in the world, that is Varanasi.