Name of the Temple

Sri  Viswanathar Temple

Period of origin

11th or 12th century BC

Name of deity

Moolavar: Viswanathar

Ambal: Vishalakshi

Sthala Theertham: Ganga

Sthala Virksham: Castor

Sthalapuranam:

Standing on the western bank of India’s holiest river Ganges, Varanasi is the oldest surviving city of the world and the cultural capital of India. It is in the heart of this city that there stands in its fullest majesty the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in which is enshrined the Jyotirlinga of Shiva, Vishweshwara or Vishwanatha. Here gravitate the teeming millions of India to seek benediction and spiritual peace by the darshan of this Jyotirlinga which confers liberation from the bondages of maya and the inexorable entanglements of the world. A simple glimpse of the Jyotirlinga is a soul-cleansing experience that transforms life and puts it on the path of knowledge and bhakti. Vishweshwara Jyotirlinga has a very special and unique significance in the spiritual history of India. Tradition has it that the merits earned by the darshan of other jyotirlinga scattered in various parts of India accrue to devotee by a single visit to Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Deeply and intimately implanted in the Hindu mind, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple has been a living embodiment of our timeless cultural traditions and highest spiritual values. The Temple has been visited by all great saints- Adi Shankaracharya, Ramkrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekanand, Goswami Tulsidas, Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati, Gurunanak and several other spiritual personalities. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple attracts visitors not only from India but abroad as well and thereby symbolizes man’s desire to live in peace and harmony with one another. Vishwanath being a supreme repository of this spiritual truth thus strengthens the bonds of universal brotherhood and fellow feeling at the national as well as global levels. The Temple in the present shape was built way back in 1780 by Late Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore. In the year 1785 a Naubatkhana was built up in front of the Temple by the then Collector Mohd. Ibrahim Khan at the instance of Governor General Warren Hastings. In 1839, Two domes of the Temple were covered by gold donated by Punjab Kesari Maharaja Ranjeet Singh. Third dome but was remained uncovered, Ministry of cultures & Religious affairs of U.P. Govt. took keen interest for gold plating of third dome of Temple.

The rivers Varana and Asi join the Ganges here, a beautiful city was built there in the ancient times. It was named Varanasi. Varanasi, a prime place of pilgrimage, a tribe called kasha used to live. Therefore, Varanasi was also known as Kashi. Near Kashi, Ganga flows in the shape of a bow. Hence it acquired special importance. A king called Deivodas expanded this area. Nirvikar cahitanya and Sanatan Brahma have assumed the form of Saguna Vishwarupa from the initial Nirgun Roopa or form. The Shiva Shakti roopa became the Purusha (man) and Stree (the woman) again. Prakriti and Purusha (Nature and man) (Shiva-Shakti) were once ordained by Shiva to do tapas in the universe in order to create the best being. He specified the best place for this purpose. When a prayer was held, Nirgun Shiva, with His own powers and aura, created a wonderful city called Panchakoshi. Vishnu, who resided there, spent a lot of time praying to Shiva after which several watersprings originated there. Vishnu was amazed at this wonderous event, and even as he tilled his head, a gemstone fell from his ear. Because of this place, it was also called Manikarnika. The entire Panch Koshi area of Manikarnika waters were then gathered into the Trident by Shiva. Then from the navel of Vishnu was born a lotus flower with Brahma in it. Brahma was ordained by Shiva to create a world, at which Brahma created this wonderful world. It had fifty crore Yojanas of area and fourteen lokas. In order to save the lives of these who are bound by their own actions or karma. Shiva kept panchakoshi city away from the entire universe. In this city, Shiva Himself established the saviour Muktidayak JyotirLinga, which He can never leave. Shiva removed this very Kashi from His Trident and set it in this mortal world. It was not to be destroyed when Brahma’s day ends, but during Pralay i.e., final destruction of the world, Shiva saved it by keeping it safe in his trident. So the kashi is called avimukta kshetra. In Kashi, the Avimukteshwar Linga is there forever. Those who can never hope for salvation, attain Moksha here.

This holiest city of Panchakoshi, with its capacity to destroy every conceivable sin, is the vehicle of a special Moksha by the name “Samyugha”. That is the reason why this city which is ruled by Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesha, is the place, where even divines want to die. Sarwaguna from inside and Tamoguna from outside, are the qualities of Rudra here. When prayed to, Vishwanatha Bahagavan Sri Shankar made this abode and resided there with Parvati. Kashi city is the place for Moksha and Ganga. Those who live here attain Mukti or Salvation, even without having to travel to any place of pilgrimage. Any one, be it a man, woman, young, old, Sahava, pure or impure, Prasuta, Aprasuta, Swadesh, Andaja, Udibhaja, of whatever caste, all attain Moksha. There is not an iota of doubt in this. Whatever a person may be doing, eat, sleep or anything else, if he departs from this world from Avimukteshwar, he definitely attains Moksha. Any small act of goodness or Punyakarya, takes away all the sins. Good as well as bad people are born on this earth. But by living in Kashi, both attain Moksha

Vishalakshi Temple

There is a saying in Tamil ” Kanchi Kamakshi, Kasi Visalakshi”. But this is not known in Kasi. The Visalakshi temple is near Viswanath temple. You have to enquire around. Then they may ask “do you mean the Nattukottchetti temple? This is the local name as the temple was constructed by the Nattukottai Chettiars. Not an old temple. A small temple in typical Tamil Nadu style.

Sati was the daughter of the Prajapati Daksha and She got married to the Lord Shiva against Her father wishes. Once, Prajapati Daksha had organized a great yagya but he did not call his daughter and his son in law. Sati was very sorrow from Her father’s such behavior. She reached there but got insulted from Her father as he ignored the Sati. She could not bear insult of his husband (Lord Shiva) and She had jumped into the fire of yagya and committed suicide. She died but Her dead body did not burn. Lord Shiva became angry and had taken His Virabhadra Rupa. He cut the head of Daksha but finally He forgave him by reviving his life again. The heartbroken Lord Shiva had wandered in the universe by taking the Sati’s corpse. Finally, Lord Vishnu dissected the corpse of the Sati into 52 parts by His Chakra. Each of the body part became Shakti Pitha. At the place where body piece had fallen on the earth had changed into the temple. Lord Shiva had created 52 Bhairava for each Shakti Pitha as a guardian to secure the Shakti Pitha. It is considered that Her eyes or earrings had fallen.  It is said that karna kundala (earring) of Devi Sati fell here. Hence Devi Maa here is also known as Manikarni or Manikarnika. The Puranas say that this city exists even after the Pralaya. The famous place ‘Manikarnika’ is located here and named so because the earring of Goddess Sati was like a pearl (Mani). Goddess worshiped here as Maa Vishalakshi & Lord Shiva as Kala or Kaal Bhairva. Some pundits feel that karna kundala is merely an ornament and not part of the body. Therefore this place can at best be considered as a upapeetha, a minor or sub-centre. Another version says that this is a shakti peetha only because one of the three eyes (Akshi) fell here. As the divine eye can perceive the entire universe, Mother here is called Vishalakshi, the vast-eyed. The Vishalakshi Temple of Divine Mother Sati, wife of Lord Shiva stands at Meer Ghat just behind Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi, India. Vishalakshi Devi temple is a powerful Shakti Peeth and any pooja, charity, recitation of devi mantras performed in this premises is considered to yield very high results. Unmarried girls worshiping Vishalakshi Devi are sure to get married, childless couple will certainly be blessed with a child, even the most unfortunate ladies will find all fortunes coming their way.

Annapurna Temple

Annapurna temple is situated at Dashashwamedh road, Opening time of the Annapurna temple is 4:00 am to 11:30 am and 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm.  Annapurna temple is dedicated to the Annapurna or Annapoorna Mata, the Goddess of Food or the Goddess of Nourishment (Anna means food and Purna means complete or full), Mata Parvati. There was a golden idol of the Annapurna Mata in the Annapurna temple. Annapurna temple has a huge crowd of pilgrims at the occasion of Annacoot. Annacoot festival is celebrated in India every year after Diwali. On the occasion of Annacoot coins are distributed to all the devotees. It is considered that whoever will worship this coin, he will be blessed by the Annapurna Mata for his successful and prosperous life. Annapurna Mata is the Goddess of the Varanasi city Who always protects the Kashi and fulfill His devotees with the food

Once, Lord Shiva said to the Goddess Parvati that the whole world is an illusion and the food is the part of that known as ‘Maya’. The Goddess of food (Mata Parvati) became very angry and She had to show the importance of all the material, in order to that She had vanished all things from the world. In the absence of food from the earth, the earth became infertile and everyone had suffered from the deep hunger.

She had to reappear in the world by seeing His devotees suffering from the deep hunger. She, then made a kitchen in the holy city, Varanasi. Lord Shiva too came to Her and said that I understand that the material can never be sent away as an illusion. Mata Parvati became very happy and offered food to the Lord Shiva with her own hands. From that time Mata Parvati is worshiped as an Annapurna means the Goddess of Food.

Another myth about the Annapurna is, Once Mata Parvathi had closed all the eyes of the Lord Shiva (three eyes: Sun, Moon and Fire) and entire world was full of darkness. There was the condition of ‘Pralaya’ and the color of the Mata Parvati became dark also (means She has lost Her Gauri Rupa). She was very sorrow and asked Lord Shiva how to get Gauri Rupa again. Lord Shiva said to Her to make Anna Dan in the Kashi. Mata Parvati took Her Annapurna Rupa with a golden pot and ladle and made Anna Dan in Varanasi. Again She got Her Gauri Rupa. It is considered that Her devotees do Annapurna Pooja by making Anna Dan in Kashi.

Kalabirav Temple

Kaal Bhairav Temple today is one of the most intresting in Varanasi. Entering from the street , through a door guarded by Bhairava’s mount, the dog, one finds a fine courtyard, in the center of which is the main shrine of Bhairava. Only the silver face of kaala bhairava, garlanded with flowers, is visible through the doorway of inner sanctum. The rest of Bhairava’s image-said to be pot-bellied, seated upon a dog, holding a trident-is hidden behind a cloth drapery. This a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. There are nine other Bhairav temples in the city. Kaal Bhairav, the “Black Terror,” is widely known as the Kotwal, the “police chief,” of Kashi, and the section of the city in which his temple stands is known as Kotwalpuri. Bhairav is considered a fearsome manifestation of Shiva. He wears a garland of skulls and carries a club of peacock feathers. Kaal Bhairav, whose name, Kaal means both Death and Fate, in addition to meaning Black. He is the black one who has also assumed the duties of the God of Death in Kashi. Even Death, it is said, is afraid of Kaal Bhairava.

Long ago many great saints went to the Sumeru Mountain in order to know from Lord Brahma that who is eternal and supreme power. Lord Brahma stated that he was the superior person. Lord Vishnu (also known as the Yagyeshwar or Narayan) was not agreed with the quick and impudent decision of the Lord Brahma. Both, Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu went to the four Vedas for the answer of same question. Rig Veda answered that the Rudra is supreme as He has the power to control all living beings. Yajur Veda answered that Lord Shiva is supreme as He could be worshiped by various Yagnas (Yagam). Sam Veda declared that Triambakam is supreme as He is worshipped by a variety of Yogis and can control the entire world. Atharva Veda answered that Lord Shankar is supreme as He can eliminate all the troubles of human beings. All of the four Vedas declared that Lord Shiva is the ultimate supreme.

Both, Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu laughed on the decision of Vedas. Soon, Lord Shiva came as a powerful divine shine in their center. Lord Brahma was staring very angrily at that shine with his 5th head. Lord Shiva has instantly created the new being (known as the king of Kaal means Kaal Bhairav). Lord Shiva said that Kaal Bhairav will forever be in Kashi in order to remove sins of the disciples, that’s why Kaal Bhairav is also known as Paap Bhakshak. In the meantime, Kaal Bhairav plucked the burning head with anger of Lord Brahma and devotees started praying Lord Shiva.

Lord Shiva said to Kaal Bhairav to go to various places but Brahma Hatya Dosh was following him. Brahma Hatyia (a female stature) created by Lord Shiva was following Kaal Bhairav at every places. Finally, he reached to Kashi, also known as the Moksha Puri in the world. Brahma Hatya has finally vanished as soon as Kaal Bhairav has entered to the Kashi. The Lord Brahma’s head (held by Kaal Bhairav) fell at the ground known as Kapal Mochan and the place famed as the Kapal Mochan Teerth. From that day onwards, Kaal Bhairav stayed at Kashi forever and protects devotees from their problems.

Kalbhairav temple is located at K-32/22 Bharonath, Vishweshwarganj, Varanasi. God KalBhairav is believed to be the “Kotwal of Sati pind”. Without his permission no one can even touch to the Sati pind.

Ashtami day [eighth day after Poornima] in the month of Margashirsha is an important day for worshipping Kaal Bhairav. Besides sundays, tuesdays, Ashtami and Chaturdasi days are very important for worshipping Kaal Bhairav. A person who circumabulates Lord Kaal Bhairav 8 times will be absolved of all the sins committed by him. It is also believed that a devotee who worships Kaal Bhairav for 6 months will attain all types of Siddhi [ as mentioned in Kashi Khand Chapter 31]

Old timers in Kashi believe whenever residents of Kashi leave the city for short journeys, they worship Kaal Bhairav[taking his permission] and on return back to Kashi, they again worship Kaal Bhairav. It is said that those living in or visiting Kashi, must worship Kaal Bhairav and he in turn, grants protection/shelter to all his devotees.

Sankatmochan hanuman Temple

Sankat Mochan temple is one of the sacred temples of Varanasi. It is located in the southern part of Varanasi, near the Banaras Hindu University. It is dedicated to the Hindu God, Hanuman. The word “Sankat Mochan” means one who helps in removing sufferings Lord Hanuman. Tulsidas, the author of the famous Hindu epic Ramacharitamanasa, founded the Sankat Mochan temple. According to Hindu mythology, one who visits the Sankat Mochan temple regularly, his wishes get fulfilled. Lord Hanuman at this temple brings good luck to the devotee.Every Tuesday and Saturday, thousands of devotees queue up in front of the Sankat Mochan temple to offer prayers to Lord Hanuman. According to Vedic Astrology, Hanuman protects human beings from the anger of planet Saturn and those who have ill placed Saturn in their horoscope visit the Sankat Mochan temple to get remedy. People put “Sindoor” on the statue and offer “laddoos” to Lord Hanuman. The “Sindoor”, from the statue of Lord Hanuman is put on the foreheads of devotees. Sankat Mochan Temple was founded by Tulsidas who was the author of the Tulsi Ramayan, which is the Hindi version of the Hindu epic Ramayan originally written by Valmiki. Tradition promises that regular visitors to the temple will gain special favor of Hanuman. This is supposed to be the most effective way for appeasement of Shani. While it is suggested that Hanuman did not hesitate in engulfing in his mouth the sun, the lord of all planets, humbling all the gods and angel, making them to worship for sun’s release. Some astrologers believe that worshiping hanuman can neutralize the ill-effect of Mangal (mars) ad practically any planet that ha ill effect on human life.

Hari Chandra ghat
This ghat is name after King Harish Chandra. This is one of the two cremation ghats, and sometimes referred as Adi Manikarnika. You remember the climax of the Harischandra story in the cremation ground. There is an electric crematorium here now. However traditional funerals of wood fire continue.

Hanuman Ghat
The ancient name of this ghat was Rameswaram ghat. A lot of importance to Tamil Brahmins as the Brahmins who perform the ceremonies for ancestors stay in and around this ghat. Kanchi Madam has a branch here. They have also erected a Kamakshi temple. There is a Veda Patashala founded by a Tamil Brahmin Professor of Banares Hindu University.

Kedar Ghat
This ghat is near the Hanuman ghat. At the top there is a Shiva (Kedareswara) temple. You enter the temple and you will immediately be back in a Tamil Nadu temple. The reason is very obvious. This temple is attached to the Kumaraswamy madam. In late Sixteenth century Kumaraswamy, a Tamil Saivite founded the madam. Now this is part of the Tirupparanthall (Tiruvaippadi) math. Fairly large temple unlike the other temples. The ghat here is kept very clean and it is good to take a bath here and have Dharshan of Kedareswar. The Nayanmars were very much devoted to Shiva at Kedarnath. One of them wrote a poem called Kedarappan Pathikam. It is displayed prominently in the Shiva temple at Kedarnath. Most of Tamil Nadu are Shaivites. Other than the Veera Shaivas, Shivism is now almost exclusively Tamil.

Dasasvamedha Ghat
This is an ancient ghat and the busiest ghat. According to the mythology, Lord Brahma performed the ten-horses sacrifice (dasa-asvamedha) at this site. The historical sources infer that at this site the Hindu dynasty of the second century, the Bhara Siva Nagas had performed ten-horses sacrifice here. It is in the heart of the town with broad roads leading to it.

These are the ghats which would be of interest to the Tamil Brahmin pilgrim. Of course your Sasthirigals will take you on a conducted tour with specific instruction where to bathe and offer Pindams. Like you remember the famous quote “poonalai valam pottukkarathu”. At that time you will not have time to appreciate the beauty of the ghats. You should go back later.

This temple is  Aathara Stalam.This place is called Anahata meaning Central channel behind spine

Route:

Road Distance or driving distance from Varanasi Junction Railway Station to Kashi Vishwanath Temple is 4 kms 

Temple Timings:

3.00 am to 1.30 pm and 4.30 pm to 10.30 pm

Temple Telephone Number:

0542- 2392629

Temple Address:

Sri Kashi Viswanath Mandir

Vishwanath Gali,

Varanasi-221001

Uttar Pradesh