Kashi Vishwanath Temple: Where Religion Meets History
The city of Lord Shiva, Kashi, is formally called Varanasi and is home to some of the finest temples. One such temple is the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, which is truly a spectacle to witness not just for visitors but residents too.
After the recent additions and developments, you can visit the temple to see the beautiful architecture combined with the faith of the people in the temple. It would be a whole sensory experience that is perfect for your trip.
Discover the tranquil Kashi Vishwanath Temple, one of the most beautiful and ancient temples in India and embark on a spiritual journey.
The Beginning of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Kashi Vishwanath is one of the oldest preserved temples in Varanasi, and also in India. The temple not only has a rich and undying history but is also one of the most important temples of one of the most celebrated deities, Lord Shiva.
The temple is a part of ‘jyotirlinga shrines’ which consist of 12 separate temples that worship the forms of Lord Shiva. This ‘jyotirlinga’ was a pillar of light that Lord Shiva used to determine the power of the gods. Ultimately, Shiva and Vishnu were decided to be worshipped by the people for their honesty.
The idols in the Kashi Vishwanath Temple are a ‘linga’ that represent the pillar Lord Shiva used. The exact building date of the temple is difficult to pinpoint, but the first attack on it happened in 1194 by Qutb-ud-din Aibak. Since then, the temple faced many attacks by invaders but the faith of the Hindus helped it survive through those times too.
The Recent Renovation of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple
During ancient times, the temple got demolished and then renovated countless times. Hence, the original structure and design of the temple kept getting modified little by little. However, every time the temple was rebuilt, it would be as grand as, if not more than, its former one.
The temple that we can see now, however, is the renovated version of the temple Ahilyabai Holkar reconstructed in 1774, during her rule. She was one of the most celebrated rulers and the restoration of the temple adjacent to the mosque is one of her popular achievements too.
The temple was most recently renovated by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, from 2019-2021. He wished that the travelers and locals could easily access the temple and ghats and avoid huge crowds, so he widened the area and made a grand corridor around the temple called the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor too.
The Centre of Culture
With the onset of 2022, the new temple can now accommodate more visitors and the way to reach the temple is also far better than before. This has led to a rise in visitors and a comfortable visit for all those who come to the temple. The Kashi Vishwanath Dham project of the PM was successful in achieving its goal in that way.
The temple is one of the centers of activity in the city and is always lively with crowds at most times of the day. Thousands of pilgrims visit each day to pray to Lord Shiva and make wishes at the holy temple in Varanasi. People believe firmly that if you pray in the temple and see the golden chattra (golden dome), your wish will come true.
To the locals, the temple is one of the pride of Varanasi since it holds such importance both religiously and culturally. On traditional religious occasions, the people pool to the temple or the adjoining ghats to show their devotion to Lord Shiva.
How and Where to Visit?
You can reach the Kashi Vishwanath Temple on foot or through public transport in the Vishwanath Gali. The route was quite congested and compact earlier, but it is much wider and spacious now. However, it is always best to opt for walking or using public transport as navigating through the narrow streets in a vehicle would not be ideal.
Now that you have seen how grand the temple truly is, you must be eager to visit the temple yourself. But before you visit the temple, you can also look at some other activities and events that you can attend near the temple premises. It will help you get a more whole cultural experience and enjoy your visit to the fullest.
Here are some activities and things you can do:
- Visit The Ghat- With the recent developments, you can easily reach the ghat by walking and there you can enjoy the beautiful sights. It is also a holy spot for locals where many bathe in the water, but one can merely spectate the burst of activity too. Aside from admiring the sunset or aartis, you can also hop on a boat for a wonderful tour of the ghats in Varanasi while floating in the holy river, the Ganges.
- Explore The Streets- Though the temple looks modern now that it has been renovated, the streets surrounding it are some of the oldest streets in one of the oldest cities in the World. You can walk and explore the ancient architecture that is still evident in some spots in the streets to this date. There are many local shops where you can find authentic handicrafts, clothes, and other items as a memoir.
- Have Local Cuisine- The best thing to do near the temple, however, is to enjoy the lovely local cuisines you can find in the Vishwanath Gali. You can have some spicy and tangy golgappas or choose some creamy and cooling lassi as per your preference. Though there are fancy food courts and restaurants, nothing can beat the flavors of food by the local vendors.
With increased accessibility and the latest developments made in the temple recently, the temple is truly the best spot in Varanasi currently. If you get an opportunity to visit Varanasi after the pandemic, the temple is one of the places you must visit in the holy city.
It is undoubtedly one of the most architecturally, religiously and aesthetically pleasing sights to see on your trip. Additionally, you can also explore the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor to discover local cuisines and shops while you’re there.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Kashi Vishwanath temple difficult to reach?
Earlier, it was quite complicated to reach the temple through the streets, but the latest renovation project has made the way to reach the temple much more convenient for people.
Can foreigners visit the Kashi Vishwanath Temple?
Yes, foreigners can visit the temple even if they don’t have any particular interest in religious things. It is a great place to explore for everyone.
Are there other attractions near the Kashi Vishwanath Temple?
There are many street food spots near the temple. You could also visit nearby temples or the river Ganges.