Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most famous and ancient Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located in the holy city of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. The temple is widely regarded as one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Hindus and is visited by millions of devotees every year. The temple is also known by other names such as the Golden Temple, Vishwanath Temple, and Birla Temple. It is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, which are considered to be the most sacred abodes of Lord Shiva.
History of Kashi Vishwanath Temple
The history of Kashi Vishwanath Temple dates back to ancient times. The original temple is believed to have been built by Lord Shiva himself at the site of the current temple. However, over the centuries, the temple has been destroyed and rebuilt several times due to various reasons such as foreign invasions and natural disasters.
The current temple was built by the Maratha ruler, Ahilyabai Holkar, in the 18th century. The temple complex was expanded and renovated several times by various rulers and philanthropists over the years. The current structure of the temple is a beautiful blend of Hindu and Islamic architecture.
The temple has also played a significant role in Indian history. During the reign of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, the temple was destroyed and a mosque was built in its place. However, the temple was rebuilt by the Maratha ruler, Peshwa Baji Rao I, in the 18th century. The temple was also a center of the Indian independence movement and played a prominent role in the Non-Cooperation Movement led by Mahatma Gandhi in the 1920s.
Today, Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Hindus and is visited by millions of devotees every year.
Signification of Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Kashi Vishwanath Temple is considered one of the most important and sacred temples of Lord Shiva, and it holds immense spiritual significance for Hindus. It is believed that the Jyotirlinga present in the temple is the most powerful and divine manifestation of Lord Shiva.
The temple is situated on the banks of the holy river Ganges, which is considered the lifeline of the Hindu civilization. It is said that a visit to the temple and a dip in the river Ganges can wash away one's sins and purify the soul. The temple is also believed to be the center of the spiritual universe, and it is said that anyone who dies within the radius of the temple is liberated from the cycle of birth and death.
Architecture of Kashi Vishwanath Temple
The current structure of Kashi Vishwanath Temple was built in 1780 by Queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore, in the traditional Hindu style of architecture. The temple complex is spread over an area of 5 acres and has several smaller shrines dedicated to various deities.
The main sanctum of the temple houses the Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva, which is considered the most important feature of the temple. The temple also has a gold-plated spire and a dome that is made of pure gold. The interior of the temple is adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures, and the walls are decorated with beautiful paintings depicting various mythological stories.
The temple has several smaller shrines dedicated to different deities, such as Vishnu, Durga, Kaal Bhairav, and others. The temple complex also has a large courtyard and several smaller halls that are used for various ceremonies and rituals.
Overall, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is a beautiful example of traditional Hindu temple architecture, with its intricate carvings, beautiful paintings, and gold-plated spires. It is considered one of the most important and beautiful temples in India.
Festivals of Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Kashi Vishwanath Temple celebrates various festivals throughout the year, some of which include:
- Mahashivratri: This is the most important festival of the temple, which usually falls in February or March. It is celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotees from all over the country visit the temple during this time.
- Navratri: This is a nine-day festival celebrated in the month of October or November. During this festival, the temple is beautifully decorated and devotees worship Goddess Durga.
- Diwali: The festival of lights, Diwali, is also celebrated at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple with great fervor.
- Kartik Purnima: This festival is celebrated in the month of November and is considered to be a very auspicious day. It is believed that Lord Shiva defeated the demon Tripurasura on this day.
- Akshaya Tritiya: This festival is celebrated in April or May and is considered to be an auspicious day for starting new ventures.
- Rangbhari Ekadashi: This festival is celebrated on the eleventh day of the Hindu month of Kartik, which usually falls in November. The temple is decorated with flowers and lights, and devotees offer special prayers to Lord Vishnu.
- Holi: The festival of colors, Holi, is also celebrated at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. On this day, devotees smear colored powder on each other and offer prayers to Lord Shiva.
Visiting hours of Kashi Vishwanath Temple
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is open for devotees from 3:00 AM to 11:00 PM every day. However, the temple timings may change on special occasions, festivals, and during certain rituals. It is best to check the official website or with the temple authorities before planning your visit.
Dress code of Kashi Vishwanath Temple
There is a dress code to be followed while visiting the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Men should wear traditional Indian attire such as dhoti-kurta or pyjama-kurta, and women should wear saree or salwar-kameez. Shorts, skirts, and sleeveless or revealing clothes are not allowed inside the temple premises. It is also recommended to remove any leather items such as belts and wallets before entering the temple.
Poojas and rituals of Kashi Vishwanath Temple
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple has several daily poojas and rituals that are performed to the deity Lord Shiva. Some of the important poojas and rituals are:
- Mangala Aarti: This is the first aarti of the day, performed early in the morning around 3 AM.
- Rudrabhishek: This pooja is performed to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva and is considered to be very auspicious. It is performed by offering various items like milk, honey, and flowers to the lingam.
- Bhog Aarti: This is the afternoon aarti, performed around noon.
- Sandhya Aarti: This is the evening aarti, performed around sunset.
- Shringar Aarti: This is the last aarti of the day, performed before the temple is closed for the night.
Apart from these daily poojas and rituals, there are also special poojas and festivals that are celebrated at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, such as Mahashivaratri, Navaratri, and Kartik Purnima.
Accommodation Near Kashi Vishwanath Temple
There are several options for accommodation near Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Some of the popular hotels and guest houses are:
- Hotel Surya - Located just 1 km away from the temple, this hotel offers well-furnished rooms, a restaurant, and other amenities.
- Hotel Varanasi Inn - This hotel is located 2 km away from the temple and offers comfortable rooms and good facilities.
- Hotel Ganges View - Situated on the banks of the Ganges, this hotel offers stunning views of the river and the temple. It has comfortable rooms, a restaurant, and other facilities.
- Shree Guest House - This guest house is located near the temple and offers budget-friendly accommodation options.
- Kedareswar Bed and Breakfast - This is a family-run bed and breakfast located near the temple. It offers comfortable rooms and a homely atmosphere.
Apart from these, there are several other options for accommodation near the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, ranging from budget-friendly guest houses to luxurious hotels.
Attraction Near Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Apart from the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, there are several other attractions near the temple that visitors can explore:
- Dashashwamedh Ghat: It is one of the oldest and busiest ghats in Varanasi, located close to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
- Manikarnika Ghat: It is the main cremation ghat in Varanasi and is believed to be one of the oldest ghats in the city.
- Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple: It is a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman and is located close to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
- Durga Temple: It is a popular temple in Varanasi dedicated to Goddess Durga and is located close to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
- Tulsi Manas Temple: It is a temple dedicated to Lord Rama and is located near the Durga Temple.
- Ramnagar Fort: It is a fort and palace situated on the opposite bank of the Ganges river and can be accessed by boat.
- Bharat Mata Temple: It is a unique temple dedicated to Mother India and is located near the Varanasi Cantt railway station.
- Banaras Hindu University: It is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in India and is located in Varanasi. The university has a beautiful campus with several notable landmarks such as the Bharat Kala Bhavan museum, the Vishwanath Temple, and the Birla Temple.
Things To Do In Kashi Vishwanath Temple
As one of the most revered temples in India, Kashi Vishwanath Temple offers a number of activities for visitors. Here are some things you can do at the temple:
- Offer prayers: The primary activity at the temple is offering prayers to Lord Shiva. You can offer flowers, fruits, and other offerings to the deity.
- Attend the aarti: The aarti ceremony is a daily ritual at the temple that takes place twice a day. You can attend the aarti and witness the grandeur of the ceremony.
- Take a dip in the Ganges: The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is located on the banks of the river Ganges. Visitors often take a dip in the holy river before entering the temple.
- Explore the temple complex: The temple complex is quite large and there are many smaller shrines and temples within the complex. You can take a leisurely walk around the complex and explore these smaller shrines.
- Visit the Kashi Vishwanath Museum: The museum is located within the temple complex and houses a number of artifacts related to the history of the temple and the city of Varanasi.
- Take a boat ride on the Ganges: You can also take a boat ride on the Ganges and witness the grandeur of the temple from the river.
- Explore the city of Varanasi: Varanasi is a city steeped in history and culture. You can explore the narrow lanes, visit other temples and ghats, and sample the local cuisine.
Best Time To Visit Kashi Vishwanath Temple
The best time to visit Kashi Vishwanath Temple is during the winter months from November to February. The weather during these months is pleasant and cool, making it ideal for temple visits and other outdoor activities. Additionally, there are several important festivals celebrated in the temple during this time, such as Diwali and Makar Sankranti, which add to the overall experience. However, the temple is open all year round and can be visited at any time.
How To Reach Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Kashi Vishwanath Temple is located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. Here are the ways to reach the temple:
- By Air: The nearest airport to Varanasi is Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, which is well-connected with major cities of India and abroad. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach the temple.
- By Train: Varanasi Junction is the major railway station in the city, and it is well-connected to major cities of India. From the station, you can hire a taxi, auto-rickshaw or take a bus to reach the temple.
- By Road: Varanasi is well-connected by road with major cities of India. You can take a bus or hire a taxi to reach the temple.
- Local Transport: Once you reach Varanasi, you can take a cycle-rickshaw, auto-rickshaw, or taxi to reach the temple.
What is the entry fee for Kashi Vishwanath Temple?
There is no entry fee for Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
What are the opening and closing timings of Kashi Vishwanath Temple?
The temple is open from 3:00 AM to 11:00 PM every day. However, the timings may change on special occasions and festivals.
Is there a dress code for visiting Kashi Vishwanath Temple?
Yes, there is a dress code for both men and women. Men should wear dhoti or kurta pyjama, while women should wear saree or salwar kameez. Western outfits are not allowed.
Can non-Hindus visit Kashi Vishwanath Temple?
No, non-Hindus are not allowed to enter the main sanctum of the temple. However, they can visit the outer premises of the temple.
Is photography allowed inside Kashi Vishwanath Temple?
No, photography is not allowed inside the temple premises.
What is the significance of Kashi Vishwanath Temple?
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most revered temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed to be one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and is considered to be a very sacred pilgrimage site for Hindus.
What are some nearby attractions to Kashi Vishwanath Temple?
Some nearby attractions to Kashi Vishwanath Temple are Dashashwamedh Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Tulsi Manas Temple, Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, and BHU campus.
Can we book special pooja at Kashi Vishwanath Temple in advance?
Yes, you can book special poojas in advance through the temple's official website or by contacting the temple authorities.
How to reach Kashi Vishwanath Temple?
The temple is located in the city of Varanasi, which is well-connected by road, rail, and air. The nearest airport is Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, while the nearest railway station is Varanasi Junction.