Kashi Vishwanath (Jyotirlinga) Temple of Lord Shiva
There are twelve jyotirlinga’s of Lord Shiva and Kashi Vishwanath Temple holds a special place among these. This temple is present in the holy city of Varanasi, on the banks of The Ganges. The main deity is known by the name Vishwanatha or Vishveshvara meaning Ruler of The Universe. The Vishwanath Jyotirlinga has a very special and unique significance in the spiritual history of India. It is said that the merits earned by the darshan of other jyotirlinga scattered in various parts of India accrue to a devotee by a single visit to Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Kashi nagar is so great that even if the universe is to be destroyed in Pralaya, it would remain intact. Dandapani and Kalabhairav guard this city. They stay there forever. On the Ganga banks eighty four bathing ghats are located. There are also several teerthkundas. They have been there right from the times of Vedas. According to some legends, Lord Shiva had lived at Kashi for quite some time on his arrival there after the Daksha Yagna incident.
Kashi Vishwanath temple witnesses important events, some of them are enumerated below.
Gauna of Devi Parvati
Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati on Mahashivratri and gauna (a ritual associated with consummation of marriage) was performed on Rangbhari Ekadashi. This auspicious occasion is celebrated by the residents of Kashi in grand style.
As per tradition, devotees carried the idols of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati in a ‘palaki’ from the house of former mahant of Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Blowing conch, damru and other musical instruments, the devotees went to the sanctum sanctorum of Kashi Vishwanath Temple and offered gulal and rose petals to the deities.
Importance of Manikarnika Ghat
The Manikarnika Ghat on the banks of Ganges near to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is considered as a Shakti Peetha, a revered place of worship for the Shaktism sect. The mythology of Daksha Yaga, a Shaivite literature is considered as an important literature which is the story about the origin of Shakti Peethas.It is said that Shiva came to the Kashi Vishwanath Shrine through Manikarnika after the death of Sati Devi.
Due to the immense popularity and holiness of Kashi Vishwanath temple, hundreds of temples across India have been built in the same architectural style. 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. The superiority of Shiva and his victory over his own nature—Shiva is himself identified with death—is also stated. There is a popular belief that Shiva himself blows the mantra of salvation into the ears of people who die naturally at the Vishwanath temple.