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Kashi Vishwanath Temple

Kashi Vishwanath Temple Varanasi
Introduction
Varanasi is a most sacred place in India for Hindu pilgrimage. It is the best place to visit to understand Hindu timeless culture and its rituals. Many historic Hindu temples are located in Varanasi (also know as Kashi and Varanasi) in which Kashi Vishwanath Temple is most popular and important one. Its name can be understood part by part as "Kashi" means name of city (Varanasi has another ancient name Kashi), "Vishwanath" means one who rules this universe. In local language it is often referred as "Kashi Vishwanath Mandir". Here "Mandir" is a Hindi language word means sacred worship place for Hindu religion devotees. Out of 12 Jyotirlinga in India, one is enshrined in Kashi Vishwanatha Temple of Varanasi.

History
This temple is dedicated to Bholenath (Lord Shiva), it is located in the holy cultural capital of India, Varanasi. It is popularly known as the golden temple due to the heavy gold plating done on its 15.5 meter high spire. One tonne of gold donated by maharaja Ranjit singh (the ruler of Punjab) in 1839, has been used in the gold plating of the two domes. The temple was destroyed during various invasions and was rebuilt in 1776 by Queen of Indore Then, Rani Ahilyabai. The temple has been the centre of faith for millions of Hindus. The Holy Kashi Vishwanath Temple counts amongst most visited temples in around Kashi, uncountable Hindu devotees and other visitors arrives here every year, not only from India but also the world over. In the year 1785, A Naubatkhana was built up in front of the Temple at the instance of Governor General, Warren Hastings. This temple got a beautiful location on the western bank of Indian holiest river Ganga. The Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva, enshrined in this temple makes it more auspicious. It is believed that a single Darshan of the holy jyotirlinga is a soul-cleansing thing that changes the life and lead to heaven. Thus, people from all over the nation, try to visit the place at least once in their lifetime.

Associated Legends
This jyotirlinga temple is laid in one of the most cultural traditional and high spiritual holy city of lights Kashi, which has itself been most admires place for lord of the lords Grand Shiva who chose it at the time of creation. Mahadev (Lord Shiva) considered very innocent and most kind god amongst the other in Hindu Religion, he is one of the god who just want their devotees to only remember him, no need to perform any kind of rituals or any customary worships before him. But at the same time he also is a very powerful and destroyer God. He is the one who has control over death and birth.

Importance of visit
This temple has been one of the most important places of worship in Hinduism as most of the leading Saints around the country like Adi Sankaracharya, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekananda, Goswami Tulsidas, Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Gurunanak have visited this temple. It is believed that a single dip in holy Ganges and a darshan of Lord Kashi Vishwanath lead anyone to moksha (liberation) in this world. There is also a tradition that one should give up at least one desire after a pilgrimage the temple, and the pilgrimage would also include a visit to the temple at Rameswaram in South India, where people take the water samples of the Ganges to perform prayer at the temple and bring back the sand from near that temple. Due to the immense popularity and holiness of this temple, hundreds of temples across the nation have been built with the same style and architecture.
How to Visit
Kashi Vishwanath temple is located on the bank of Ganges river, close to popular Varanasi ghats. Dozens of narrow lanes lead to the temple; one can see the top of the temple while boating on river Ganges, this temple is top in the row of eminent places for must see in Varanasi. Devotees usually first take holy dip in Ganges and then proceed to pay their worship in temple. While there is restrictions on photography and video-shoot due to some security reason and if you carrying any still camera or camcorder so you have to deposit that in authorized stores made outside to the temple. Mahashivaratri (Grand night of Shiva) is a biggest celebration and festival of this temple and city. Millions of visitors around the world come here at the occasion of Mahashivaratri to feel the celebration with god, to realize the immense power of Lord Shiva (the creator of Universe).

Way to temple is narrow and crowded. If you are doing sightseeing on taxi car, leave the car early and take rickshaw to reach close to temple and then walk through narrow passage to reach temple. During visit wear simple clothes, covering most the body and avoid leather and electronic items with you. The Kashi Vishwanath temple opens everyday at 2.30 A.M. for Mangala Aarti and between 3 to 4 A.M. ticket holders are permitted to join. The timing of general Darshan is from 4 to 11 A.M. The timing for midday Bhog Aarti is from11.30 to 12 A.M. Between 12 noon to 7 P.M., general devotees are free to have Darshan. From 7 to 8.30 P.M. the Sapta Rishi Aarati is held after which Darshan is possible again till 9 P.M. At 9 P.M. the Shringar/Bhog Aarati starts and after that Darshan is possible only from outside. Shayana Aarti starts at 10.30 P.M. and the temple closes at 11 P.M. Most of the offerings at the Kashi Vishwanath temple are given to poor.

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