- This has historically
been the central temple of Varanasi
and as a result it extends well beyond its present humble incarnation,
temples throughout India appropriate its power by calling themselves
- Pilgrims and residents
alike (only Hindu's are permitted enterence) filter into this
temple for Darshan
of the Linga.
Shiva is know as Vishveshara
(lord: ishvara, of all: Vishva)
- The Linga worshipped here is the
Jyotirlinga. This the linga of light that manifest itself to prove,
once and for all, the supremacy of shiva.
- While this Linga has been worshiped
for at least a thousand years, the temple has been destroyed and rebuilt
several times. The present temple was rebuilt in the eighteenth century
under the patronage of Queen Ahalyabar Holkar
- In fact, this temple isn't even in the
same place as the historical temple. Two mosques (one built in the thirteenth
century and one in the seventeenth) currently occupy that position.
- The smooth black stone Linga is
set into a silver base on the floor and honored with five daily arati's.
Pilgrims make offerings to the Linga, covering it with water, flowers,
bilva leaves, and other items which them become prasada.
- However, it is also powerful because
pilgrims have been coming here for so long. "Countless people have
come here at Vishvara for hundreds of
years. by virtue of of that history, this place is special. there is
a saying. 'pilgrims make the tirtha.'"
- Adjacent to the temple is the
or well of wisdom.