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9th Jyotirling-Vishwanaath

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9-Vishwanaath Temple

It is located on the shores of the Gangaa in the holy city of Banaaras (Kaashee). Kaashee has a hoary legend with age old reputation worldwide. Varun, Ganga and Assee, flowing in different directions, confluence in ‘Varanaa-Assi’ or Vaaraanasee. The city covers some five kilometers of the Holy and ever flowing Ganges on its banks attracting lots of pilgrims every year as the ultimate destination of salvation for Hindu of all faiths and several other religions especially Buddhists and Jains. This is the Sacred Spot that Bhagavaan Vishweshwar manifested as A-Vimukt Jyotirling in the renowned Golden Vishweshwar Temple.

At the beginning, when Brahmaa and Vishnu were quarreling that who was greater, Shiv burst out through the earth as a fiery pillar of light at Kaashee, which means to shine, the City of Light. This eternal light of Shiv extended to the highest reaches of the heavens, and neither Brahmaa nor Vishnu could find its origin or termination. That was the origin of the Kaashee Vishwanaath Jyotirling. This story is given in Shiv Puraan, Vidyeshwar Sanhitaa. Later Shiv took the form of Rudra and went to live on Mount Kailash.

Another story tells us - that Lord Brahmaa executed such severe Tapasyaa (meditation) here so much that Vishnu moved His head across fast in disbelief so that Vishnu's ear ring fell at a place on the bank of the River and was since then named "Manikarnikaa". When Brahmaa was once chanting Ved in praise of Shiv in the form of the Jyotirling with the his "Panch Mukh" or Five Faces, some pronunciation slips rolled by and becoming furious of the chanting mistakes which changed the sense of the words, Lord Shiv opened the third eye and burnt one of Brahma's heads which fell and found a permanent place in the Temple.

Vishwanaath Temple is also considered as a Shakti Peeth and it is believed that Devee Satee's earrings fell at the spot, where Devee Vishaalaakshee's shrine stands. Durgaa Temple, nick-named as Monkey Temple owing to large presence of monkeys, is considered as a shrine built originally by Durgaa herself and during Aashwin Nava Raatri (Dushaharaa) festival comes fully alive and heavily crowded by devotees.

Sankat Mochan Hanumaan Temple is frequently visited, especially on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

When it becomes too cold to live on Mount Kailaash or in the caves of Amarnaath and Kedaarnaath, Shiv and his consort Paarvatee come to Kaashee. This city is held in place by Shiv's trident. Here the first human couple, Swaayambhuv Manu and Shataroopaa, prayed to the Lord of the Universe, Vishwanaath, in the shape of a Ling.

Banaaras /Vaaraanasee is located on the banks of river Ganges and Lord Vishwanaath, one of the 12 Jyotirling, is visited by many devout Hindu and others from India and all over the world throughout the year. In addition to Darshan of Lord Vishwanaath Jee, other important places of visit in Vaaraanasee are Sankatmochan Hanumaan Temple, Kaal Bhairav / Dandapaani Bhairav /Birla Mandir, Dunnee Ganapaty at the security entrance, Saakshee Ganapati, Annapoornaa Temple, Shaneeshwar Sannadhi at the entrance, Shree Vishaalaakshee Temple, Shree Kedaareshwar Temple at Kedaar Ghaat, Shree Kaam Koteeshwar Temple at Hanumaan Ghaat, Shree Durgaa Mandir, Cholee Maataa Temple, Talapandeshwarar Temple, Gangaa Maataa Temple. You also need to go for a boat ride in Gangaa River seeing all the Ghaat.

Do not visit opposite side of the river ie south bank and to have bath or take Ganges water from there as it is considered inauspicious as boat men will tell you that.

You need to perform two Archanaa at Lord Vishwanaath Temple - one in the early morning Mangal Aaratee and ticket charges are Rs. 151/- per head and only 100 pilgrims are allowed and you need to book the tickets one day in advance. The other one is Sapt Rishi Poojaa at 6 PM in the evening and you need to book the tickets by 2/3 PM in the evening when you are in the temple and coordinate accordingly.

You also need to visit Saaranaath which is 10-12 kms away from Vaaraanasee. The name of person who will co-ordinate your entire trip while in Vaaraanasee, Allaahaabaad, Naimishaaranya, Ayodhyaa, Gayaa, Chitrakoot will be Mr Murali and his mobile number is 09415300549 / 9335635282. Mobile phone carrying is not allowed in most of the Temples in and around Vaaraanasee and therefore you need not carry it with you while visiting temples and can be left in the room itself. Mr Murali will render all help and service as per your requirement and therefore it would be better if you directly speak to him as far as the facilities and services requirements.
[written in March 2011]

The Puraan say that Shiv came down from the Mandar hills (Mandaraachal Parvat) along with his paraphernalia and stood in the Mukti Mandap in Kaashee to give Darshan to Vishnu and Brahmaa in the form of a huge Jyoti which is now called Vishweshar Jyotirling (Sat Chit Aanand Swaroop). The ancient Shiv Temple is believed to be at the place where a mosque now stands next to the Aadi Vishweshwar Temple on a hill on the banks of Gangaa River. This mosque was constructed after destroying the ancient Shiv Temple (at the same location) during the rule of Raziyaa Sultaanaa. This is the view expressed by the American researcher Diana Eke.

The present Temple of Vishwanaqth was constructed in the Vishwanaath lane under the patronage of Mahaaraanee of Indore Ahalyaa Baaee Holkar in 1777. This is in a congested place and it is difficult even to see the top of the temple because of insufficient space all around. There appears to be an influence of the Muslim architecture in the design. Although there is no antiquity, the temple attracts Lakhs of pilgrims regularly to attend to the ancient Poojaa system etc. The evening Sapt Rishi Abhishek attracts devotees in large numbers.
When Aurangazeb was destroying the temple, the priest of Vishweshwar Temple took the lingam and immersed in the Gyaan Vaapee well nearby. It was reinstalled after the construction of the temple again.

The water of Gyaan Vaapee well is considered very sacred as it was supposed to have been made by Shiv himself through his trident (Trishool). .This was kept closed for a long time. (even now it is closed). The mosque constructed near this well is called the Gyaan Vaapee mosque.

There are 511 Shiv Ling in Kaashee. Out of these the twelve Swaayambhuv Shiv Ling are:-
1. Avimukteshwar, 2. Omkaareshwar, 3. Jyeshth Eeshwar, 4. Madhyam Eeshwar, 5. Aadi Mahaadev, 6. Vishweshwar, 7. Vrishabh Dweshwar, 8. Kedaareshwar, 9. Kapardeeshwar, 10. Swaayambhuv Lingeshwar, 11. Bhoorbhuveshwar,  and  12. Veereshwar,

In addition to these, there are several others installed by deities, Rishi and Graha and Shiv Gan.



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Created and Maintained by Sushma Gupta
Created on March 15, 2003 and Updated on August 24, 2013