Varanasi, the modernized name of Kashi, is seemingly one of the most ancient cities of the world where people are still inhabiting. This city is known to be the capital city of Shiva, one of the supreme Hindu gods. It is believed that Lord Shiva built Kashi to make it his and Goddess Parvati’s abode. The furious manifestation form of Shiva, Kal Bhairava, is regarded as the guard of Kashi.
Vishwanath temple is one of the twelve Maha Jyotirlingas existing on earth. Jyotirlinga translates to the linga that got lightened on its own. The light of jyotirlinga unifies heaven and the underground world and is the formless avatar of Lord Shiva. Vishweshwara, one of the many forms of Shiva, is the deity of the Vishwanath temple. Both Vishwanath and Vishweshwara signify the universe’s ruler, Lord Shiva.
As per belief, King Vikramaditya first laid the foundation stone of Vishwanath Temple around 2100 years ago. In 1585, Todar Mal undertook restoration work at the Vishwanath temple under Mughal king Akbar’s patronage. The 18th century queen of the Maratha empire, Ahilyabai Holkar, is famous for reconstructing the temple in 1780. Maharaja Ranjit Singh of the Sikh Empire donated gold to the temple in 1835, which became a source of Vishwanath temple’s remodeling. There are three domes in Vishwanath temple that was built with gold. Thus, the temple is also known as the golden temple of Shiva.
A Day in Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Lord Vishweshwara’s day at the temple begins with the Mangala aarti, is followed by three more sacred worship rituals, and ends with Shayan aarti.
- Mangala Aarti begins at 3:00 a.m. in Brahma muhurta, awakening Vishweshwara.
- Bhog Aarti starts at 11:30 a.m and is the time for Vishweshwara to intake food.
- Saptarishi Aarti begins at 7:30 p.m and is one of the most revered aartis. Belief is that sapta rishis (the seven Maharishi) visit and grace the temple.
- Shringar Aarti at 9:00 p.m is the evening bhog aarti where devotees offer food to Vishweshwara. He grants food in return to everyone in the form of prasad.
- Shayan Aarti at 10:30 p.m. is the aarti before Vishweshwara lord goes to sleep.
- Sugam Darshan of lord Vishweshwara is the harmonious darshan of the lord minus the queue.
- Devotees can perform Rudrabhishek (accompanied by one or many Sashtris) in eight ways.
- Mahadeva pooja of lord Vishweshwara is performed in 15 different ways. From pouring milk on the shivalinga to performing mahamrityunjay jap pooja, everything is covered in Mahadeva pooja.
Thousands of people visit the temple every day to witness the five aartis.
A Day in Kashi Vishwanath Temple after 2019
The narrow and crowded lanes around the temple were inconvenient to both the locals and the visitors. Vishwanath Dham beautification project facilitated the devotees to enjoy a seamless visit.
An earlier ritual involves people bathing in the river Ganga first and then visiting the temple shrine. The temple is now connected with the holy river Ganges, allowing people to perform the ritual in comfort. The temple area now comprises five lakh square feet. The earlier record for the maximum number of visitors was around 1.5 lakh. Now, on days of peak religious importance (for example, Shivaratri), the temple gets over five lakhs visitors.
Temple Timings & Entry Fee
The temple premise is open to visitors from 4 a.m. to 11 p.m. No entry fee for anyone visiting the temple. However, partaking in sugam darshan, aartis, Mahadeva pooja, and rudrabhishek is chargeable.
Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple trust does not charge a sugam darshan fee from the differently-abled visitors.
The temple trust facilitates the global live online darshan telecast of the sanctum free of cost.
How to reach Kashi Vishwanath Temple
The nearest airport from Kashi Vishwanath temple is the Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport at Varanasi. The nearby railway stations are Varanasi City (2 km), Varanasi Junction (6 km), and Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Junction (17km). Varanasi is also well-connected with the rest of India by road through various national and state highways.
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