Varanasi, which was known as Kashi historically is one of the most ancient and sacred cities of India. On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated one of the most ambitious, Kashi Vishwanath corridor which is situated in the heart of Varanasi. Kashi Vishwanath Temple occupies the ninth position among the 12 Jyotirlingas of India. This magnificent temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. According to Skanda Purana, this place is the starting point of Lord Shiva and Mother Parvati. Therefore Avimukteshwar is considered as the first linga in the form of Adilinga, it is also mentioned in Mahabharata and Upanishads.
Mythologically, it is said that Kashi rests on the trident of Lord Shiva. According to religious texts, about 30 crore deities reside here in Varanasi. Varanasi is also popular as City of Lights in India. There are many temples, ghats and tourist places in this city, but Kashi Vishwanath temple is the most significant one. So today we will, dive deeper into the history of Kashi Vishwanath Temple of Varanasi.
History of Kashi Vishwanath Temple
According to historians, this temple was built by King Vikramaditya in the 11th century. And it was some where close to this time in 1194 AD this majestic temple was demolished by Muhammad Ghori, or to be more precise it was destroyed under the slave of Muhammad Ghori, Qutub-din-Aibak, who was also the founder of Slave Dynasty in India.
Then few years later, in 1230 AD it was rebuilt during the reign of Iltutmish. But, again two centuries later it was demolished for the second time in 1447 AD by the Sultan of Jaunpur, Hussain Shah Sharqi.
Later, during the reign of Akbar, the temple was again reconstructed by Raja Man Singh, who was the Kachchawa ruler of Amer. In 1585, during the reign of Akbar, the temple was further renovated by Raja Todarmal, who was among the nine gems of Akbar and also served as the Finance Minister under Akbar. This renovation was done with the help of Pandit Narayan Bhatt.
A few decades later, Aurangzeb issued a decree ordering the temple to be demolished. After all the uproar and resistance, the temple was built by Maharani Ahilya bai Holkar of Indore in 1780 AD.
Mythological Story about Kashi Vishwanath Temple
There is a legend about Kashi Vishwanath Temple situated on the banks of river Ganges. According to a story mentioned in Skanda Purana, once there was a debate between Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma, who is more powerful. Gradually this dispute grew so much that Lord Shiva had to mediate and he took the form of a huge Jyotirlinga.
After this he asked Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu to find out its source and height. Hearing this, Lord Brahma rode on his swan and went to find out its end. On the other hand, Lord Vishnu rode on Garuda and set out to find the source of the Jyotirlinga. It is said that for many ages both tried to trace the source and the end of the Jyotirlinga. But in the end, Vishnu conceded defeat and bowed down in front of this exemplification of Lord Shiva. On the other hand, Lord Brahma didn’t accept his defeat and told a lie that he found the source of this Jyotirlinga.
This lie told by Lord Brahma made Lord Shiva angry, and out of this anger, he cursed Lord Brahma that he will not be worshipped anyone ever.
It is said that wherever the divine light of Lord Shiva emanated from this pillar (Jyotirlinga) inside the earth, it was called as a “Jyotirlinga”. And there are total of 12 Jyotirlingas in India. Kashi Vishwanath Temple is also one of them.