Kashi Vishwanath Temple is a very sacred place for people who follow Hinduism. This temple is located on the banks of the river Ganga in the state of Uttar Pradesh, Varanasi, India. Lord Shiva is seen in the form of Jyotirlinga in this temple. Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva.
Kashi Vishwanath name meaning:-
The meaning of name Vishwanath is “one who is the lord of all creation”. People who believe in Lord Shiva believe that he is the master of the entire universe. Kashi is the Puranic name of Varanasi and Kashi means A city that gives light. The name of the temple was embellished with the name of its old city as the name of the deity – Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
Along with this temple, this city also has a glorious history of its own. Banaras is one of the oldest cities in the world. Its special description is also found in the books of Hindu religion. Its description is also found in the oldest book of Hindu religion, Ringveda. In the Puranas of Hinduism, it has been considered as the real Vaishnava place. It is also mentioned in two epics of Hindu religion, Ramayana and Mahabharata. Apart from Hinduism, its description is also found in the religious books of Buddhism and Jainism.
Location of Kashi Vishwanath Mandir
Kashi Vishwanath Temple is located in the city of Banaras in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. It is located about 316 kilometers from Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh. There is also Varanshi railway station here and the distance of Kashi Vishwanath temple from railway station is 4 to 5 kms. Varanasi is a city situated on the banks of river Ganga. The Ganga Ghat here also has a special spiritual significance. There are many Ghats here but Dasa-Ashwamedha is one of the most prominent Ghats and Kashi Vishwanath Temple is only about 1 to 1.25 km from here.
Dasa-Ashwamedha Ghat is the most ancient and sacred Ghat of river Ganga of Banaras. The Aarti at the Ganga Ghat of Banaras is world famous and it takes place here. It is believed that Lord Brahma himself built this Ghat to pay respect to Lord Shiva. According to another belief, Lord Brahma performed the Dasa-Ashwamedha Yajna here by sacrificing 10 horses.
Importance of Kashi Vishwanath Temple
We can understand the importance of Kashi Vishwanath temple in two ways, first we see it as a great pilgrimage site of Hindu religion, on the other hand its importance increases even more because it is also known as an ancient heritage. .
Religiously, Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. It is believed that if a person takes a bath in the Ganga of Banaras once in his life and visits Lord Shiva’s Jyotirlinga Baba Vishwanath, he attains salvation. Many great sages of India have visited this pilgrimage and described its importance. Great saints of Hindu religion like Adi Shankaracharya, Eknath, Ramkrishan paramhans, Swami vivekanand, Swami Dayanand sarswati, Baba Guru Nanak (Founder of Sikhism) Goswami Tulsidas have visited here.
There is also a belief that this city cannot be destroyed even when there will be annihilation on the earth. It is believed that Lord Shiva himself lifts the city of Kashi on his trident during the holocaust and restores it back after the holocaust. That’s why this land is also called Adisthali (which cannot be destroyed).
Kashi Nagri as a Mokshadayini
Kashi city is also called Mokshadayani. It is such a belief that any living being here whether it is a human being or any other living being, if he sacrifices his life in Kashi, he attains salvation. Lord Shiva himself preaches the Tarak Mantra in the ear of a dying creature by which he attains salvation. In Matsyapuran, Kashi region has been called Moksha region.
History of Kashi Vishwanath Mandir
The Kashi Vishwanath temple also has a historical significance. Whenever a Muslim invader came to India, he targeted the temples of India every time. Today, all the pilgrimage places associated with Hinduism in India have been in controversies in one way or the other. Be it the case of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi or Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi of Mathura. The history of Kashi Vishwanath is also related to a controversy in which it has been talked about breaking the temple and converting it into a mosque.
The history of Kashi Vishwanath Temple is full of atrocities by Muslim invaders, and every time this temple has stood again after being destroyed, helping to explain the history of India. It begins in 1194 when the originally built temple was first destroyed by Muslim invaders.
The Ghurids destroyed the Adi Kashi Vishwanath temple for the first time in 1194 when Mu’izz al-Din Muhammad Ibr Saim returned to India and defeated Jaichand of Kannauj in a battle near Chandavar and later destroyed the city of Kashi. Later Razia Masjid was built in place of the temple.
In 1230, when Delhi was ruled by Sultan Iltumish, a Gujrati merchant rebuilt the temple near the Avimukteshwar temple, a little away from the main temple. However, later this temple was also demolished by the Muslim rulers. Although historians are not sure who broke it, but most of the historians believe that it must have been broken during the rule of Hussain Shah Sharqi or Sikandar Lodhi.
Kashi Vishwanath in Mughal Period
Later, the rule of the Mughal period came to India, and the temple was built by Raja Man Singh during the rule of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Later King Todarmal rebuilt the temple in 1585. After Akbar, Jahangir’s rule came in India and under his rule Veer Singh Dev got the temple constructed again. Although some people believe that he had renovated the temple. Then later Aurangzeb’s rule came in India and history sees him as a staunch Islamic king. During his rule, the Kashi Vishwanath temple was again demolished and the Gyanvapi mosque was built in its place. Presently you can see the pillar of the temple in the structure of Gyanvapi mosque.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Maratha and British Period
Improvement in the condition of the temple can be seen during the rule of Maratha and British. The ruler of that time tried hard to revive the temple. This period can also be called Golden period in the history of Kashi Vishwanath.
In 1742, the Maratha ruler Malhar Rao made a plan to demolish the mosque and build a temple, but he failed. Then later in 1750, the Maharaja of Jaipur surveyed the land for the construction of the temple, but he also failed to get the temple constructed. Then in 1780 Ahilyabai Holkar, the daughter-in-law of Maratha ruler Malhar Rao, got the temple constructed and the structure of the temple we are seeing today was built by her.
In 1828, Baija Bai, the wife of the Maratha ruler of Gwalior State, built a small terrace with 40 pillars on it. Then from 1833 to 1840, the ghats and other temples around it were constructed. Many hereditary royal families of India contributed to the maintenance and other construction works of the temple.
In 1835, Raja Ranjit Singh, the great ruler of the Sikh Empire, donated 1 ton of gold to gild the dome of the temple at the behest of his wife Datar Kaur. In 1841, Raghuji Bhosale III of Nagpur donated silver to the temple. Then in the 1860s, the Rana of Nepal gifted a 7-foot statue of Nandi to the temple, which is located to the east of the colonnade.
Later the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Damodar Modi decided to renovate this temple. Although Kashi comes under his Lok Sabha constituency. He inaugurated the first phase of the renovation of the temple on 13 December 2021. Later the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Damodar Modi decided to renovate this temple. Although Kashi comes under his Lok Sabha constituency. He inaugurated the first phase of the renovation of the temple on 13 December 2021. In which he made necessary constructions keeping in mind the present and future. He constructed a 20 to 25 feet corridor which leads directly from the temple to Lalita Ghat. Due to which any devotee will now be able to see the temple directly from the ghat of Ganga. Apart from this, he has also got the road constructed keeping in mind the future, so that people can have darshan of Kashi Vishwanath Mandir more easily.