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The Vishwanath temple is a sacred shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva which is revered and highly frequented not only by devotees from Varanasi but from all parts of the country. With a deep history and cultural roots, the temple is now synonymous with the heritage city of Varanasi. Also known as the Golden Temple, the temple witnessed a history full of ups and downs.
Several foreign rulers like the Afghans, Rohila, Marathas and Turks invaded the city resulting in the temple being razed and rebuilt several times. This includes the destruction by Bakhtiyar Khilji in the 13th century. Mughal emperor Akbar donated several acres of villages to the trust, a part of which was later cut down substantially by the fundamentalist ruler in subsequent generation Aurangzeb. The present temple was built in the year 1776 by Rani Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore. The towers of the shrine are built from 800-kilogram Gold-plating donated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Lahore.
Now a pilgrimage destination for devotees of Lord Shiva, the Shiva lingam installed in the temple remains the devotional focus of Varanasi. According to legends, the first of the 12 Jyothirligas emerged from the ground as the decisive event during the war of supremacy between the gods. There exists a so called ‘Well of Knowledge’ near the temple complex which is believed to be housing the original Shiva lingam that surfaced millenniums ago. The temple exists in a peaceful environment alongside the tranquil Ganges witnessing the chanting of mantras, evening ‘aarti’ ceremony and sadhus engulfed in a state of deep meditation creating an overall spiritual realm