Kashi Vishwanath Shivling – The ancient and most important Jyotirlinga

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Kashi Vishwanath Shivling, present in the holy city of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, is considered the spiritual capital of India. It is visited by countless devotees every year to seek blessings. Nestled close to the river Ganga, numerous people visit to dip in the river to attain atonement for all their sins. The city of Varanasi is said to be immune from destruction. People believe that Lord Shiva, in the form of Kashi Vishwanath Shivling, grows as an infinite pillar of light, protecting the city from the pralay at the end of every yuga. This provides a knowledge base for the new generation at the beginning of the new Yuga.

Vishwanath means the “Lord of the Universe”. Which is another name of Lord Shiva.

kashi Vishweshwar jyotirlinga
kashi Vishweshwar jyotirlinga

Where is the Kashi Vishwanath Shivling located?

Kashi Vishwanath Shivling is located in the holy city of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. Varanasi is one of the oldest cities in the world, and the Ganges River, known as the Ganga, flows through it. The ghats of Varanasi are a sight to behold. Kashi Vishwanath Temple is a prime example of North Indian Nagara-style architecture, with its golden spire. The temple complex is an intricate maze of shrines and courtyards. The original temple is believed to have been built by Lord Shiva himself, with subsequent renovations and rebuilding by various rulers.

Kashi Vishweshwar Jyotirlinga Legend

Argument between Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu

Once Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu had an argument about who was supreme out of them both. Lord Brahma argued that he was the oldest person of the universe which makes him the supreme of all. However, Lord Vishnu says, that Brahma was born on a lotus out of the navel of Lord Vishnu and the entire universe resides inside Lord Vishnu himself. Eventually, their argument started to turn into a fight. This frightened the Devas. Who ran to find help from Lord Shiva.

Bramha and vishnu are challengedby Shiva
Bramha and vishnu are challengedby Shiva

Lord Shiva then turned into an infinitely long pillar called Linga and sent Brahma and Vishnu in opposite directions to find the end of the pillar in their respective orders. Accepting the challenge, they both set on the journey to see the end of the pillar. Vishnu took the form of Varaha and travelled with utmost velocity to find the end of the pillar, but all in vain. He soon realised that the pillar had no future and accepted his defeat in front of Lord Shiva.

Read more: Markandeya the immoratal Kid

It is believed that after this incident, Lord Shiva’s infinite long pillar of light started residing in the form of Kashi Vishwanath Shivlinga in Varanasi. At the end of every yuga, When Lord Shiva creates the pralay, the entire knowledge, a variant of every species, including plants, animals, insects, knowledge about science, medicine and spirituality is stored in the holy city of Varanasi and the city is raised by the infinite pillar of light, protecting Varanasi from the catastrophe. This city then provides a base for humanity to learn and grow in the next yuga.

Union of Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati

According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati once came to Varanasi (Kashi) and decided to make it their home. Lord Shiva resided in the form of a Jyotirlinga (a divine symbol of his presence), and this is believed to be the Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga. The temple was later built to enshrine this sacred symbol.

Marriage of Lord Shiva and devi parvati
Marriage of Lord Shiva and devi parvati

Read More: Tapasya of Devi Parvati

Legend of king Harischandra

Another legend is related to King Harishchandra, known for his unwavering devotion to truth and dharma. Raja Harishchandra never lied and always stayed by his words. Once King Harishchandra promised sage Vishwamitra to give anything the sage wanted. Immidately the sage asked for every ounce of wealth the king possessed. Due to this, they had to give up everything. Harish Chandra had to also sell his wife and child to repay the sage.

After losing his kingdom, wealth and family, King Harishchandra started working in the cremation grounds of Varanasi near the Kashi Vishwanath Shivling to repay a debt to a sage.

ALSO READ: Kaal bhairav of Kashi

History of Kashi Vishwanath Temple

Medieval Period:

  • The original Kashi Vishwanath Shivling, initially known as the Adi Vishveshwara Temple, was destroyed in 1194 by the Ghurids under Mu’izz al-Din Muhammad ibn Sam.
  • Kashi was razed during this time, and the Razia Mosque was constructed in place of the temple. It is still said that there is another Kashi Vishwanath Shivling present inside the mosque.
  • In 1230, the temple was rebuilt near the Avimukteshwara Temple during the reign of Delhi’s Sultan Iltutmish.
  • It was demolished again during the rule of either Hussain Shah Sharqi or Sikandar Lodi.

Mughal Period:

  • Raja Man Singh built the temple during Mughal Emperor Akbar’s rule.
  • Raja Todar Mal rebuilt the temple in 1585, but some orthodox Brahmins boycotted it because his daughter was married to Islamic rulers.
  • During Jahangir’s rule, Vir Singh Deo restored or completed the temple’s construction.
  • 1669 Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb destroyed the temple and built the Gyanvapi Mosque.

British and Maratha Period:

  • 1742 Maratha ruler Malhar Rao Holkar planned to demolish the mosque and reconstruct the Kashi Vishwanath temple, but this plan didn’t materialize.
  • Around 1750, the Maharaja of Jaipur surveyed the land to purchase it to rebuild the Kashi Vishwanath Shivling, but this plan also failed to come to fruition.
  • In 1780, Ahilyabai Holkar, daughter-in-law of Malhar Rao, rebuilt the present temple adjacent to the mosque.
  • In 1828, Baiza Bai, widow of Maratha ruler Daulat Rao Scindhia, constructed a low-roofed colonnade in the Gyan Vapi precinct.
  • Between 1833 and 1840, the boundary of Gyanvapi Well, the ghats, and nearby temples were constructed.
  • Maharaja Ranjit Singh of the Sikh Empire donated 1 tonne of gold in 1835 to plate the temple’s dome, and Raghuji Bhonsle III of Nagpur was granted silver in 1841 to rebuild the Kashi Vishwanath Shivling.
  • The temple was managed by a hereditary group of pandits or mahants, and a dispute over leadership arose in 1900, resulting in Pandit Visheshwar Dayal Tewari being declared the head priest.
Kashi Vishwanath shivling
Kashi Vishwanath shivling

How to reach the Kashi Vishwanath Temple

By Air:

  1. The nearest major airport is Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport (VNS) in Varanasi, which is well-connected to major Indian cities.
  2. Upon arriving at the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a pre-paid taxi to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The temple is around 20-30 minutes away from the airport.

By Train:

  1. Varanasi Junction (BSB) is the main railway station in Varanasi and is well-connected to various cities across India.
  2. From the railway station, you can hire a taxi, an auto-rickshaw, or take a cycle rickshaw to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. It’s approximately a 10-15 minute drive from the station to the temple.

Interesting facts about Kashi Vishwanath Shivling

  • A sacred shrine dedicated to Kaal Bhairav, a fierce manifestation of Lord Shiva, is located within the Kashi Vishwanath Temple complex. It is believed that Kaal Bhairav guards the city and ensures that time moves swiftly for those who enter Varanasi.
  • The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is situated on the banks of the holy River Ganga. The legend states that the waters of the Ganga are especially pure at this point, and a dip in the river here is believed to wash away sins.
  • Official website: Kashi vishwanath temple














Kashi Vishwanath Shivling - The ancient and most important  Jyotirlinga
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Kashi Vishwanath Shivling - The ancient and most important Jyotirlinga
Kashi Vishwanath Shivling, present in the holy city of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, is considered the spiritual capital of India. It is visited by countless devotees every year to seek blessings.
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