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Shri Kashi Vishwanath Mandir

The holy city of Varanasi stands on the banks of river Ganga. It is popularly believed that Varanasi is the oldest city of the India. In the heart of the city is the Shri Kashi Vishwanath Mandir, which enshrines the Jyotirling of Lord Shiva in its full majesty. Shiva is also called as Vishweshwara or Vishwanath. Millions of Hindus flood this place to get the blessings of Lord Shiva and gain spiritual solace.

The Vishweshwara Jyotirling has a unique significance in the spiritual history of India. It is said that the merits earned by a single visit to Shri Kashi Vishwanath Mandir is equivalent to glimpses of other Jyotirlingas, spread in various parts of India.

The Shri Kashi Vishwanath Mandir, also known as the Golden Temple, has witnessed rough times over the years. The city and the temple had been on the receiving end of many invaders. The temple was razed to the ground many a times by the Afghani, Turk and Rohila invaders. It was first destroyed by Bakhtiyar Khilji in the 13th century. Emperor Akbar donated several acres of land to the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir Trust that was seized back again by Aurangzeb.

The temple in its present form, was built by Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore in 1780. In 1785, a Naubatkhana in front of the temple was built by the then collector Mohammed Ibrahim Khan, at the urging of the Governor General Warren Hastings. In 1839, the two domes of the temple were covered with gold, donated by the Punjab Kesari Maharaja Ranjeet Singh. The third dome, which was left uncovered, was plated with gold by the Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs of the Uttar Pradesh Government. Here it deserves a mention that in the 1980's, the temple was taken over by the Government of Uttar Pradesh.

The temple was visited by many a great saints like Adi Shankaracharya, Goswami Tulsidas, Guru Nanak, Swami Ramakrishna Paramhans, Swami Vivekananda and Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati among others.

Most of the offerings of the devotees received in the form of prasada, milk and clothes, etc. are donated to the poor and needy. Shri Kashi Vishwanath Mandir is a true reflection of spiritual India. A visit to this place provides insight to the various facets of religious and spiritual beliefs of Indians, which still are very much prevalent in the day-to-day lives of the common Indian people.

Last Updated On: 2011/07/16

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