It is almost impossible to miss the ancient temple of Varanasi, Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The continuous ringing of temple bells, chanting voices, and lines of pilgrims walking into the temple, makes it undoubtedly, the most iconic temples of the land. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is located at the end of Vishwanath Gali, an important shopping destination in the city.
Location of Kashi Vishwanath Temple
The temple is located in the Lahori Tola region of Varanasi.
- Distance between Kashi Vishwanath Temple and DashashwamedhGhat – 300 m (2 minutes)
- Distance between Kashi Vishwanath Temple and Varanasi Cantt railway station – 6.8 km (35 minutes)
- Distance between Kashi Vishwanath Temple and BHU – 4.3 km (19 minutes)
- Distance between Kashi Vishwanath Temple and Varanasi Airport – 24.8 km (63 minutes)
- Distance between Kashi Vishwanath Temple and ManikarnikaGhat – 400 m (4 minutes)
- Distance between Kashi Vishwanath Temple and SankatMochan Temple – 4.3 km (22 minutes)
History of Kashi Vishwanath Temple
There are numerous ancient texts and mythologies which give different narration of the history of the temple. There are no details to when the temple was built. However, the temple has been repeatedly expressed in numerous texts and literature over time. In the end of 12th century, the original temple was destroyed by Qutb-ud-din Aibak. Later in 13th century, the temple was reconstructed by Gujarat merchant. It took more than half a century to rebuild the temple (from 1211 to 1266 AD). However, Sikandar Lodhi destroyed the temple in yet another attempt to invade Varanasi. The temple was re-built and destroyed several times, including the final time by Aurangazeb. During this attack, the head priest of the temple grabbed the main deity and jumped into the temple well to safeguard the deity from destruction. The temple well is now a sacred element of the city, named as Well of Knowledge.
The current structure was built in 18th century by Ahilyabai Holkar.
Significance of Kashi Vishwanath Temple
The temple is said to hold one of the twelve Jyotirlingams of the world. According to legends, a bath in the River Ganges followed by visit to the temple is the way to attain salvation. Seeing the main deity will provide salvation, according to many. It is a tradition that every time a devotee visits the temple, he should let go of at least one desire. Kashi Vishwanath Temple is also called the Golden Temple of Hinduism.
Architecture of Kashi Vishwanath Temple
The temple structure consists of numerous small shrines. The main deity of the temple is the Shivlinga, which is 60 cm tall and 90 cm in circumference. The main deity is present in a sanctum sanctorum. The main deity is a black stone placed on a silver altar. Apart from this, there are numerous small shrines for Vishnu, Kaal Bhairav, Virupaksha, Sanishwara, Avimukteshwara, Dhandapani, and others.
The structure of the main temple has three sections. The first one is a Spire, which is dedicated to Lord Mahadeva. The second is a dome made of gold and the third is a golden spire on top which, there is a golden spire, which holds Lord Vishwanath with flag and trident.
Tourist Attractions of Kashi Vishwanath Temple
- Visit during any aarti time to watch the ritual and take part in the spiritual activity.
- During auspicious times, prasadam (delicacies) will be served to the visitors.
- Visit the Gyanvapi well, into which the head priest jumped with the main deity, when Aurangazeb attacked the temple.
- The way towards the temple is called VishwanathGali. This street is filled with shops, and it is the best place for shopping wooden souvenirs, religious items, statues, brassware, and others.
- Take a dip in the River Ganges before entering the temple. This act is said to provide salvation to your soul.
Entry Fee of Kashi Vishwanath Temple
There is no entry fee to visit the temple. If you wish to skip the long queue, you need to book for special darshan. Do not pay to any individual who approaches you with a promise to see the deity within minutes. No visitor is obligated to pay any form of donation or bring anything to the temple.
Visiting Time of Kashi Vishwanath Temple
The temple is open from 4 am to 11 pm. No one is allowed to enter the temple after 11 pm. The temple is open throughout the week.
- Mangala Aarti (first ritual of the temple): 4 am
- Bhogaarti – 11:15 am to 12:30 pm
- Sandhya aarti (evening ritual) – 7 pm to 8:15 pm
- Shringar Aarti - 9 pm to 10:15 pm
- Shayan Aarti – 10:30 pm to 11 pm
Best Time To Visit Kashi Vishwanath Temple
The best time to visit the temple is during any Shiva festival. Top festivals to enjoy in this temple are Rangbhari Ekadasi, Maha Shivaratri, Shivaratri (monthly), AkshayTriteeya, Deepavali, and others. In terms of climate, the winter is the best time to visit. October to March is the winter season and the temperature is pleasingly warm. Remember that you would have to wait for many hours in queue during peak time. Thus, avoid hot afternoons. The early morning ritual is said to be very auspicious and important one.
How To Reach Kashi Vishwanath Temple
The temple is around 3 km away from Varanasi Cantt railway station. The Maudualiah railway station is 2.5 km away and Kashi Station is 2 km away. From the railway stations, you can find any road transportation to reach up to the Vishwanath Gali. You ought to walk through the Gali to reach the temple, as no vehicles are allowed through the street. If you are choosing to reach via bus, the closest bus stand to the temple is Chaudhary Charan Singh bus stand, which is 3 km away.
From any part of Varanasi, you can hire auto rickshaws or cycle rickshaws to reach Vishwanath Gali or Dashashwamedh Ghat. The remaining distance of a few hundred meters should be covered on foot.