Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most famous Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Temple stands on the western bank of the holy river Ganges, and it is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest of Shiva Temples.
The main deity is known by the names Shri Vishwanath and Vishweshwara literally means Lord of the Universe. It is approached through a maze of narrow alleys of the Vishwanath Gali (or Lane).
Temple has been destroyed and re-constructed a number of times in the history. The last structure was demolished by Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal emperor who constructed the Gyanvapi Mosque on its site.
The present structure was built on an adjacent site by the Maratha ruler, Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore in 1780. It is popularly known as the Golden Temple, due to the massive gold plating on its shikhara (spire).
The summit of the sanctum sanctorum of Sri Kashi Vishwanath temple is important. In this, the dome upwards is adorned with Sriyantra. It is considered to be the main practice for Sri Yantra-tantra cultivation.
The Four Gates of Kashi Vishwanath Temple Varanasi:
The four gates of the sanctum sanctorum are also important from the point of view of Tantra. The gates are –
- Peace Gate
- Art Gate
- Prestige Gate
- Retired Door
By revolving the sanctum sanctorum containing these four gates five times, the devotees get freedom from the upper obstacles. There is no other place in the whole world where Shiva-Shakti is seated together and there is a Tantra door.
According to mythological belief, Sri Kashi Vishwanath, the chief of Dwadash Jyotirlings, is in two parts. Mother Bhagwati is seated as Shakti in the right. On the other hand Lord Shiva is seated in the left form (beautiful); hence Kashi is called Mukti Kshetra.
Being seated on the right side of Goddess Bhagwati opens the path to salvation only in Kashi. Here man gets liberation and does not have to conceive again. Lord Shiva himself gives tarak mantra to the devotees here.
Since 1983, the temple has been managed by the Uttar Pradesh government. During the religious occasion of Shivratri, Kashi Naresh (King of Kashi) is the chief officiating priest.