Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Varanasi
Situated on the western bank of Holy Ganges, Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple is regarded as one of the most popular Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. Located in the heart of Varanasi, the temple is a fulcrum of faith for billion Hindus. As per the Shaiva philosophy, it is believed that the Kashi Vishwanath temple is the centre of the worship for centuries.The main deity of Kashi Vishwanath Temple is Lord Shiva, also known as Vishwanatha or Vishweshwarar meaning 'the ruler of the universe'.
The importance of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple finds mentions in several Holy Scriptures of the Hindus. On the outside, the temple is adorned with intricate carvings that impart a divine quality to the facade. There is a well present within the temple complex called Jnana Vapi or wisdom well. This apart, the temple also houses several other small temples such as Kaalbhairav, Vishnu, Virupaksh Gauri, Vinayaka and Avimukteshwara.On religious occasions of Shivaratri Kashi Naresh (King of Kashi) is the chief officiating priest.
As per Shiva Purana, Lord Bramha and Lord Vishnu had an argument in terms of supremacy of creation. Lord Shiva pierced the three worlds as a huge endless pillar of light, the jyotirlinga. Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma split their ways to downwards and upwards respectively to find the end of the light in either direction. Brahma lied that he found out the end, while Vishnu conceded his defeat. Shiva appeared as a second pillar of light and cursed Brahma that he would have no place in ceremonies while Vishnu would be worshipped till the end of eternity.
The jyotirlinga is the supreme partless reality, out of which Shiva partly appears.The original Vishwanath temple was destroyed by the army of Qutub-ud-din-Aibok in 1194. Raja Man Singh rebuilt the temple during Mughal emperor Akbar’s rule with Raja Todar Mal before Emperor Aurangzeb demolished the temple once again.The temple was again rebuilt by Maharani Ahilya Bai Halkar in 1780. The Kashi Vishwanath temple receives around 30,000 visitors daily. On many occasions the numbers reach 10,000,000 and more.
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