Outside view of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Gyanvapi Mosque

Kashi Vishwanath Temple” the temple for which “Varanasi” is famous, the temple with countless history, a history that will force your mind to think, what was our culture? and what happened to it?

This “Kashi Vishwanath temple” is history itself, if anyone who wants to write on this temple can easily write a book on it. This temple resides in the heart of the Varanasi”s people.

Note: Please don’t confuse, Vishwanath Temple B.H.U and Kashi Vishwanath Temple, are two different temples located at two different places in the city.

Kashi Vishwanath Temple is referred to in Hindu scriptures for a very long time. A central part of worship in the Shaiva Philosophy. In past, there were many invasions happened and this temple was destroyed and reconstructed several times. As per historians, the last structure was demolished by Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal emperor who constructed the Gyanvapi Mosque on its site.

The current structure “Kashi Vishwanath Temple” built on an adjacent site of the Gyanvapi Mosque. Made by the Maratha ruler, “Ahilya Bai Holkar” of Indore in 1780. She gave 800 tons of Gold for the construction of the temple. You can see a mosque in the place of the temple.

How everyone is so sure that the main temple was in the place of the mosque?

You know “Nandi” the ride of Lord Shiva? So, in every Shiva temple, there is this “Nandi” in front of the temple. But here, one of the major statues of “Nandi” is in front of the mosque. So, it is said that they destroyed our temple, and they left “Nandi” there which is facing the mosque on the campus of the temple. By this, we say that there was our main temple of Lord Shiva.

One more story that adds to this is, when the invaders were invading this temple, the priest jumped in the well i.e., inside the campus of the temple. To protect the “Shivalinga” from the invaders.

Vishwanath Temple, B.H.U Varanasi
Vishwanath Temple, B.H.U, Varanasi

But what our etymology says?

As per the Shiv Purana, once Brahma and Vishnu had an argument about who is supreme. To test them, Shiva pierced the three worlds as a huge endless pillar of light, the Jyotirlinga. To determine who was mightier Vishnu took the form of Varaha and sought out the bottom while Brahma took the form of a swan to fly to the pillar’s top. Brahma out of arrogance lied that he had found out the end, offering a Katuki flower as a witness. Vishnu modestly confessed that he was unable to find the bottom. Shiva then took the form of the wrathful Bhairava, cut off Brahma’s lying fifth head, and cursed Brahma that he would not be worshipped. Vishnu for his honesty would be worshiped as equal to Shiva with his own temples for all eternity.

The jyotirlinga is an ancient axis Mundi symbol representing the supreme formless (nirguna) reality at the core of creation, out of which the form (saguna) of Shiva appears. The Jyotirlinga shrines, thus are places where Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light.

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