Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the 12 holy Jyotirlingas. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is situated in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. “Vishwanath” means “King of the World” and hence, the Jyotirlinga here is said to be the King of all Jyotirlingas. It is said that if a person visits all the Jyotirlingas, he is blessed with good health and also attains Moksha.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple – Facts
What are the timings of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple?
The temple opens at 2:30 AM and closes at 11 PM. However, after 9 PM, pilgrims are allowed to view the Lord from outside the sanctum only. The temple performs various rituals during this time. The devotees can be a part of these rituals, such as the morning, afternoon, and evening aarti.
The timings are as follows:
|4:00 AM to 11:00 AM; 12:00 PM to 7:00 PM; 8:30 PM to 9:00 PM
|3:00 AM to 4:00 AM
|11:30 AM to 12:00 PM
|Sapta Rishi Aarti
|7:00 PM to 8:30 PM
|Shringar Bhog and Aarti
What are the poojas performed at Kashi Vishwanath Temple?
The following poojas are performed between 4 AM to 6 PM at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple:
- Rudrabhishek: This pooja is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is worshiped as Fire or Rudra. The pooja wipes out all sins and purifies the atmosphere. It also removes all sorts of planetary related ill-occurrences. The Mondays of the month and the Pradosham days are considered as ideal for performing this pooja.
- Maharudrabhishek: In the abhishek, recitations of Rigveda, Samveda, Yajurveda and Atharva Veda is done in front of the deities of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
- Laghurudrabhishek: This abhishek is done to resolve issues related to health and wealth. It is also done to remove the harmful effects of planets in the horoscope.
- Shravan Somvar Pooja: The Mondays of the month of Shravan (July – August) are considered highly auspicious for worshiping Lord Shiva. Devotees observe Somvar Vrat during the Shravan month and perform Poojas in their homes. The articles used for worship are Bilva leaves, white flowers, water, honey, and milk. The charges for the Seva are Rs. 6251.
- Lakh Vilvarchana: This archana is performed by offering one lakh Bilva leaves to the Linga of God.
The poojas mentioned below are Long Term Schemes and are offered for a period of 20 years:
- Dainik Pooja and Archana Scheme: This annual scheme has a membership fee of Rs. 11, 000 /-. As per the scheme, the Rudrabhishekam is performed once a year for 20 years in the name of the devotee.
- Yati Bhiksha: The word “Yati” means “Sadhu” or a Sage. Yati Bhiksha means that offerings like food will be provided to the Sadhus residing in the holy town of Varanasi. The charges for the seva are Rs. 8, 751/-.
- Sarwa Pooja: All the poojas of the day are performed for one day in the name of the devotee. The charges of the seva are Rs. 13, 751/-.
Yatras at Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Apart from the poojas and sevas mentioned above, the devotees can also be a part of yatras. Here are some yatras one can be a part of:
- Panchatheertha Yatra: The pilgrims should take a bath in the five main Ghats in the sequence of Asi ghat – Dashashwamedha ghat, Aadikeshav ghat, Panchganga ghat, Manikarnika ghat, and then proceed to visit all the shrines of Kashi.
- Mauni Yatra: This yatra should begin with a bath in the Manikarnika ghat followed by the darshan of the various forms of Shiva and Shakti and end with a bath again at the Manikarnika ghat. The condition of the Yatra is that it should be performed in silence.
What is the significance of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple?
The significance of the temple is that the Linga of the presiding deity Lord Vishwanath is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas that are revered in Hindu mythology. The Jyotirlinga means that the Linga is self-manifested and is called Swayambhu. It is believed that a one-time visit to Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga equals to the visit of the rest of the eleven Jyotirlingas. Kashi Vishwanath is called the King of Jyotirlingas.
The well of Gyan Vaapi is also known as the well of wisdom. It is believed that before Aurangzeb attacked the city, the Jyotirlinga was hidden inside the well. The well can be seen between the mosque and the temple.
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple has been visited and appreciated by several revered ancient saints like Sri Adi Shankaracharya, Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Swami Vivekananda, Swami Dayanand Saraswati and Gurunanak.
It is believed that Kashi is the holiest city for Hindus and that anyone who lives here will attain Moksha. It is a belief that anyone who departs from the city of Kashi will attain spiritual enlightenment and salvation. This is the reason that the ashes of departed people are mostly dispersed in the River Ganga at Kashi.
According to the scriptures, the city was built by Lord Shiva on his trident as his residence after his marriage with Goddess Parvati. It is believed that the first rays of the sun fell on the city of Kashi when the world was created. Hence, it is believed that the city is so sacred that even if the end of the world (Pralayam) happens, the city of Kashi will survive.
In the Puranas, the city is also mentioned as Aadyavaishnav Bhoomi and Lord Brahma is supposed to have performed ten Ashwamedha Yagnas at the Dashashwamedha Ghat. It is an important place for devotees of Shakti (Goddess Sati) as the city is also home to a Shakti Peeth.
Lord Shiva is the protector of the city. It is believed that the Navagraha (Nine Planets) does not influence or affect the people living in Kashi as they abide by the rules of Lord Shiva. They cannot even enter the city without Lord Shiva’s permission.
A popular tradition that is followed to date is that the water taken from River Ganga after visiting the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is used for abhishekam of the Jyotirlinga of Sri Ramanathaswamy in Rameswaram. The sand from the temple is brought back to Kashi and given as an offering to Lord Vishwanath. Hence, it is believed that the pilgrimage of Kashi and Rameswaram will lead to complete Moksha and enlightenment.
What is the history of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple?
According to evidence, the history of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple dates back to the 11th century. The Temple was subjected to repeated invasions and destruction. The original structure of the temple was destroyed by Qutb-ud-din-Aibak in 1194 CE but was rebuilt under the reign of Sultan Iltutmish.
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple was again attacked under the reign of either Sikander Lodhi or under Husain Sharqi in the 1400s. Raja Man Singh built it but was boycotted as he allowed the Mughals to marry into his family. However, Todar Mal further re-built the Temple with Akbar’s blessings at the original site in 1585.
In 1669, Aurangzeb destroyed the temple again and over the foundations, built the Gyanvapi Mosque. Later, plans were made to demolish the mosque by Maratha ruler Malhar Rao Holkar in 1742 and in 1750 by the Maharaja of Jaipur. However, they were unsuccessful in doing so due to the objections raised by the Nawabs of Lucknow. The remains of the temple can still be seen in the mosque premises.
In 1780, Rani Ahilyabai Holkar constructed the present Kashi Vishwanath Temple near the mosque. In 1828, the widow of Daulat Rao Scindia, Baija Rao built a colonnade with 40 pillars at the Gyan Vyapi premises. The Gyan Vyapi Well boundary, the Ghats, and other small temples were eventually built during the period 1833-1840.
What is the structure of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple?
Kashi Vishwanath Temple complex is quadrangular in shape with several small temples and shrines dedicated to Lord Dandapani (Karthikeya), Lord Vinayaka, Kalabhairavar, Avimukteshwar, Lord Vishnu, Virupaksha, Virupaksha Gauri and Lord Shaneeshwara.
There are three distinct regions of the temple – the first is a spire over the temple of Lord Vishwanath, the second is a golden dome and the third is a spire with a trident and a flag atop it. The temple has a Sabha Griha that leads to the Garbha Griha where the Linga is housed.
The holy River Ganga flows beside the temple increasing the spiritual value of the temple by manifolds. Kashi Vishwanath Temple plays an important role in Hindu mythology and has been mentioned innumerable times in scriptures like Skanda Purana, Shiva Purana, the Upanishads, and in the Vedas.
What are the festivals celebrated at Kashi Vishwanath Temple?
Although the Kashi Vishwanath Temple celebrates almost all the festivals such as, Ramnavami, Hanuman Jayanti, Dussehra, Holi, and Janmashtami with great pomp and fare, there are some festivals which are extremely important at this temple.
Some major festivals celebrated at Kashi Vishwanath Temple are:
- Mahashivaratri: The festival is celebrated on the 13th night and the 14th day of the month of Maagha (February /March). The Linga of Lord Shiva is bathed with Ganga water, applied with Chandan paste, and offered Bilva leaves, bhang, datura, flowers, coconut, fruits, and cow milk. People keep fast for the whole day and do Shiva Pooja at their homes. Taking a dip in the River Ganga on Mahashivaratri is considered extremely sacred.
- Makar Sankranti: The devotees take a dip in River Ganga and pray to the Sun God on this day. The day signifies the ascent of the sun and the beginning of spring. The day is dedicated to a good harvest in the agricultural terms. On the day of the festival, thousands of kites are flown in the Varanasi skyline, which is an enthralling experience to have.
- Shravan Maas: The month of Shravan (June-July) is considered to be the holy month of the Hindu calendar. Special decorations and special poojas are performed for Lord Shiva on every Monday. On the first Monday, Lord Shiva is decorated, on the second, both Shiva and Parvati’s idols are decorated. On the third and the fourth Monday, Lord Ardhanarishwar and Sri Rudrakshaya are worshiped.
- Dev Deepawali: The festival means “The Diwali of the Gods.” The festival is celebrated in the month of Karthik Poornima, ten days after the festival of Diwali. The steps of all the ghats are lit with lamps in honor of the River Ganga. It is believed that Gods descend to the Earth to take a dip in the Ganga.
- Rangbhari Ekadashi: The festival is celebrated in February –March. As per legend, the consummation of the marriage between Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati happened on this day. The devotees carry the idols of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati in a Palki from the house of the Mahant of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple and take them to the sanctum of the temple and are decorated with gulaal and rose petals.
How to reach Kashi Vishwanath Temple?
- Air: The nearest airport to the city is Babatpur, which is 22 km from Varanasi. Direct flights are operated by Air India as well as other private airlines from cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Agra, Bhubaneswar, and Lucknow.
- Train: The nearest railway station is Varanasi Junction or the Mughal Sarai Junction. Several trains connect the city to almost all major parts of the country like Delhi, Chennai, Howrah, Jammu, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Guwahati.
- Road: The city is located on NH2 highway linking Kolkata to New Delhi. Several buses are available from places like Delhi, Agra, Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad, Patna, Nagpur, Gorakhpur, Azamgarh, and Gaya.
Where to stay nearby?
Numerous Government operated Guest Houses are available for accommodation for Government servants. Please visit the temple’s official website to see a list of the Government Guest Houses: shrikashivishwanath.org
Apart from these Guest Houses, there are several private hotels to accommodate yourself comfortably, within a reasonable budget. The hotels also offer express check-in and check-out, high-speed Internet, Wi-Fi, airport & railway pickup. The names of a few of them are:
- Shiva Inn
- Ganpati Guest House
- Kanha Paying Guest House
- BrijRama Palace – A Heritage Hotel
Where to eat nearby?
The city of Varanasi boasts of great food and culture. The traditional must-haves of the city’s culinary delights are Chaat items like Kachoris and Puris. The Kashi Kalakand is also a famous dessert here and is available widely. Lassi and Thandai are very popular drinks and are extremely cooling in the heat. The cuisine in Varanasi is mainly vegetarian with occasional but rare non-veg hotels.
What are some famous temples near Kashi Vishwanath?
Some temples near Kashi Vishwanath temple are:
- Kashi Vishalakshi Temple: The sacred temple is located behind the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The Temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peeths of Goddess Sati. It is believed that when her body was cut with Lord Vishnu’s Sudarshana Chakra, her third eye (Aksha) and the earing (Manikarni) fell at this location and hence the name Visalakshi.
- The Kalbhairav Temple: The temple is situated 1 km away from the Kashi Vishwanath temple. As per the legend, when Lord Brahma lies about finding the end of the massive pillar of light, Lord Shiva gets angry and assumes the form of Kalbhairav. He cut off one of the five heads of Brahma. However, the decapitation made Lord Shiva guilty of the crime of killing. He carried the head of Brahma and roamed around as a Bhikshatana until his sin was forgiven. The head was released from him after he reached Kashi. He is the guard of Kashi, and it is a belief that no one can enter Kashi without his permission.
- Markandey Mahadev Temple: The temple is located at Kaithi, Varanasi which is 29 km away from the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. According to legend, a couple named Mrikandu and Marudvati prayed to Shiva to attain a son. Lord Shiva granted them a boon of a son who was eventually named Markandeya. He was extraordinarily intelligent in his childhood. He was always dedicated to Lord Shiva and master of the Mahamritunjaya Mantra. When he became 16, Yama came to take him. Markandeya prayed for the defense to Lord Shiva who defeated Yama and granted him the gift of immortality.
- Bharat Mata Mandir: This unique temple is located just 4 km away from the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The temple is located inside the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth Campus. The unique feature is that the temple does not contain any idol of Gods and Goddesses. The Bharat Mata is worshiped here. A map of India can be seen in the sanctum to which offerings are made. Babu Shiv Prasad constructed the Temple and inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936.
- Mrityunjay Mahadev Temple: The famous temple is located just 1 km away from the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. It is believed that the Mrityunjay Mahadev is the “God who triumphs over death.” Devotees from all over the country come here to pray for a long and healthy life and against unnatural death. It is a belief that the well of the temple contains water with medicinal properties, and it can cure several ailments of the sick.
- Annapoorna Devi Mandir: The temple dedicated to Annapoorna Devi, an incarnation of Goddess Parvati is located near the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. It is believed that Goddess Annapoorna is responsible for the nourishment of human souls. Anyone who worships her with devotion will never have any food shortages in his or her life.
- Tulsi Manas Mandir: The Tulsi Manas Mandir is dedicated to Lord Rama, Lakshman, and Sita. It is believed that the temple is constructed over the place where the saint Goswami Tulsidas wrote the epic Ramcharitramanas. The walls of the temple depict the scenes of the epic.
- The Ghat of Manikarnika: Situated on the banks of River Ganga, this ghat near the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is considered to be a Shakti Peetha. The Shakti Peethas are the 52 places where parts of the body of Goddess Sati (Adi Parashakti), first wife of Lord Shiva, fell on Earth after being decapitated by Lord Vishnu’s Sudarshana Chakra.
Apart from the above-mentioned temples, several other famous temples can also be visited in Varanasi. Some of these temples are the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, the Durga Temple, The Vyas Temple, The Birla Temple, The Tilbhandeshwar Temple, and The Sarnath Temple.
Frequently Asked Questions about Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Yes, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is open all 365 days of the year.
The entry to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is free of cost.
Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple.
Yes, please visit the website shrikashivishwanath.org for Online Darshan.
For booking Yajna Shala, please visit the official temple website: shrikashivishwanath.org
No. All electronic gadgets are strictly prohibited (viz. mobile, camera, laptop). They can be stored in lockers available. This facility is free of cost.
No, there are no such facilities provided by the temple.
The months of October to March are perfect to visit the temple as the weather is pleasant and is not too hot to travel during the daytime.
The summers at Kashi start from March and continue until May. The summers here can be hot. Temperatures during the daytime often go up to 38 º C.
In Kashi, winters start in November and continue until February. The temperatures during this time range from around 12 º C to 24 º C. The weather during this time is cool and dry.