Standing on the western bank of India’s holiest river Ganges, Varanasi is the oldest surviving city of the world and the culturally active capital of India. It is in the heart of this city that there stands in its fullest grandeur the Kashi Vishwanath temple in which is enshrined the Jyotirlinga of Shiva, Vishweshwara or Vishwanath.
Hindus believe that this is the temple where one can achieve salvation. It is here that Lord Shiva gives the Tarak mantra to the ones who are about to die. Pray to the Kashi Vishwanath and all your desires are sure to be fulfilled.
The temple is mentioned in the Puranas including the Kashi Khanda of Skanda Purana. The original Vishwanath temple was destroyed by army of Aibak in 1194 CE, as a commander of Mohammad Ghori. The temple was demolished and rebuilt many times.
Emperor Aurangzeb destroyed the temple and built the Gyanvapi Mosque in its place. The remains of the erstwhile temple can be seen in the foundation, the columns and at the rear part of the mosque. The temple was managed by a hereditary group of pandits or mahants.
Here sink the teeming millions of India to seek blessing and spiritual peace by the darshan of this Jyotirlinga which confers liberation from the bondages of maya and the unavoidable entanglements of the world. A simple glimpse of the Jyotirlinga is a soul-cleansing experience that transforms life and puts it on the path of knowledge and bhakti. Vishweshwara Jyotirlinga has a very special and unique significance in the spiritual history of India.
Tradition has it that the merits earned by the darshan of other jyotirlinga scattered in various parts of India accrue to devotee by a single visit to Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
Deeply and intimately implanted in the Hindu mind, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple has been a living embodiment of our timeless cultural traditions and highest spiritual values. The Temple has been visited by all great saints- Adi Shankaracharya, Ramkrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekanand, Goswami Tulsidas, Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati, Gurunanak and several other.