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Vishwanath

Where the Varuna and Asi rivers join the Ganges, 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

Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga is situated in Kashi and famous by the name of Shiv Vishwanath Kashi. This holy place is very dear to Lord Shankar. It is said in the scriptures than this place was forever destroyed when the Earth was submerged under water (Pralaya). It is so because Lord Shiva holds this place by his Trishul. Those who come and die here attain Moksh. It is said that Lord Shiva gives the Tarak Mantra to the one’s who is going to die, here. He resides here and is the giver of Moksh and happiness. The one who prays and worships Vishweshwar with devotion attains all his desires and one who incessantly recites his name attains all siddhis and finally gets Moksh.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple  is one of the most famous Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, where at least once in life a Hindu is expected to do pilgrimage, and if possible, also pour the remains of asthy on the River Ganges. The temple stands on the western bank of the holy river Ganges, and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest of Shiva temples. The main deity is known by the name Vishwanatha or Vishweshwara. The temple town, which claims to be the oldest living city in the world, with 3500 years of documented history, is also called Kashi and hence the temple is popularly called Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

The temple has been referred to in Hindu theology for a very long time and as a central part of worship in the Shaiva philosophy.

The temple complex consists of a series of smaller shrines, located in a small lane called the Vishwanatha Galli, near the river. The linga of the main deity at the shrine is 60 cm tall and 90 cm in circumference housed in a silver altar. There are small temples for Kaalbhairav, Dhandapani, Avimukteshwara, Vishnu, Vinayaka, Sanishwara, Virupaksha and Virupaksh Gauri in the complex. There is a small well in the temple called the Gyana Vapi (the wisdom well) and it is believed that the Jytorlinga was hidden in the well to protect it at the time of invasion. It is said that the main priest of the temple jumped in the well with the Shiv Ling in order to protect the Jyotirlinga from invaders.

The temple is widely recognized as one of the most important places of worship in Hindu religion and most of the leading Hindu saints, including Adi SankaracharyaRamakrishna ParamhansaSwami VivekanandaGoswami TulsidasSwami Dayananda Saraswati and Gurunanak have visited the site. A visit to the temple and a bath in the river Ganges is one of many methods believed to lead one on a path to Moksha. 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 water samples of the Ganges to perform prayer at the temple and bring back sand from near that temple. Many legends record that the true devotee achieves freedom from death and saṃsāra by the worship of Shiva, Shiva’s devotees on death being directly taken to his abode on Mount Kailash by his messengers and not to Yama. There is a popular belief that Shiva himself blows the mantra of salvation into the ears of people who choose to end their lives at the Vishwanath temple.

 

Jaya Ganga, Jaya Vishwanath, Om Namah Shivaya. The entire area echoes with these chantings. The Gods in Varanasi are described in Sanskrit in the following way

”Varanasitu Bhuvantrya sarabhoota’
Ramya Nrinaam Sugatidakhil Sevyamana”
Atragata Vividha dushkritkarinopi’
Papakshaye virajasaha sumanaprakashah”

– Narada Puran

Varanasi is also considered to be one of the Shakti Peethas of India. It is believed that the left hand of Sati fell at Varanasi, and that Annapurna or Visalakshi represent the Shakti Peetham here.

  

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