Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga
Kashi Vishwanath Temple Kashi is One of the seven cities, considered by the Hindu's as Mokshadayikas or the cities leading to salvation. Kashi Vishwanath Temple is temples dedicated to Lord Shiva located in Varanasi . Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the 12 jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva, the holiest of holy shrines of Lord Shiva. Varanasi has a temple of almost all the major Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga Temple is situated at Kashi (Banaras) and famous by the name of Shiv Vishwanath Kashi. It is said in the scriptures that when the earth was submerged under water (Pralaya)
Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga Temple is situated at Kashi (Banaras) and famous by the name of Shiv Vishwanath Kashi. It is said in the scriptures that when the earth was submerged under water (Pralaya). Lord Shiva upheld holds this place by his Trishul. It is believed that who come and die here attain liberation (Moksha). Lord Shiva gives the Tarak Mantra to the ones who die here. The one who prays and worships Vishweshwar with devotion attains all his desires of happiness and liberation; and one who incessantly recites his name attains all siddhis and finally gets liberated
Situated amidst the crowded lanes of Varanasi, the temple of Vishwanatha can be approached from a lane called Vishwanatha lane. Inside the courtyard is the temple of Vishwanatha surrounded by many subsidiary shrines. There is a well, called Jnana Vapi i.e. ‘wisdom well' located to the north of the main temple. As one enters the temple from the southern side the first temple to the left of the pilgrim are three temples in a row one behind the other - Vishnu, Virupakshi Gauri and Avimukta Vinayaka.
A cluster of five lingas enclosed in a temple is called Nilakantheshvar temple. Just above the Avimukteshvara Vinayaka are temples of Shanishchara and Virupaksha. To the right just near the entrance is the temple enshrining a linga called Avimukteshvara. There is a controversy regarding the original Jyotirlinga at the place, which suggests that not the Vishwanatha but the Avimukteshvara is the original Jyotirlinga.
According to some scholars the other lingas like the Mahakala, Nikumbheshvara, Dandapanisvara, Vaikuntheshvara, kala Bhairava, kapileshvara, Kubereshvara bear the names of Yakshas. There are also images of Saubhagya Gauri, Shringar Gauri, Savitri, Vighneshvara Ganesha, Vyaseshvara etc. along with a cluster of small lingas to the north is called the court of Vishwanatha.
The Vishwanatha temple consists of a mandapa and a sanctum. Inside the sanctum a linga is set into the center of the floor in a square silver altar. The Linga is of black stone. Though the interior of the temple is not large and elaborate it presents the peaceful atmosphere ideal for worship.
As the name suggests the supreme brilliance shines here and thus it is obviously chosen as his abode by Lord Shiva to emanate in his blazing linga form. Here he is known as Vishwanatha, the Lord of Universe.This city is also known as Varanasi as it is located between the two rivers Varana and Asi. The importance of this place lies in the fact that it encompasses one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in its folds.
The city and the concept of self-emanated linga is almost inseparable which is reflected in the numerous Shiva lingas installed at almost every ghat of Varanasi as the replica of Vishwanatha. And yet the original place where the Vishwanatha linga was is shrouded in misery. There is also a controversy regarding the self-emanated linga. According to one tradition a linga called Avimukteshvara, today situated in the courtyard of the Vishwanatha temple is the original self- emanated linga.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple was built in the eighteenth century by Queen Ahalyabai Holkar of Indore. The shikhara rising over the Vishwanatha was plated with gold by King Ranjit Singh of Lahore in 1839. Because of this golden spire the tourists also call the temple as golden temple of Varanasi.
Mythology of Kashi Vishwanath Temple - Lord Shiva himself has declared this spot as his Royal residence. The mother of Goddess Parvati felt ashamed that her son-in-law had no decent dwelling. To please Parvati Devi, Shiva asked Nikumbha to provide him with a dwelling place at Kashi. On the request of Nikumbha, Aunikumbha a Brahmin made Divodas construct a temple for the Lord here.
The pleased Lord granted boons to all his devotees. But Divodas was not blessed with a son. Angry Divodas demolished the structure. Nikumbha cursed that the area would be devoid of people. Listening to the pledges of the repenting divodas, Lord Siva once again took residence here permanently. The Lord along with Parvati Devi once again started blessing his devotees with wonderful boons.
Parvati Devi was so pleased that she offered food (annam) to one and all and hence is worshipped as Annapoorani. The Lord himself is seen with a bowl in his hands asking for annam from the seated Devi at the Devis shrine adjacent to Viswanathas shrine. This is considered to be one of the 52 Sakthipeedams (the place where Parvathis left hand fell, when her corpse was cut by Mahavishnus sudarshana chakram).