Golden Temple Varanasi (aka Vishwanath Temple)

#1 Sep 27th, 2009, 15:54
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  • joneall is offline
#1
My wife and I saw (from the outside) the temple last year. But it was a mess. Security control is incredible. Just to enter the street where the temple is, I had to leave my camera and all metal items outside. (My wife and I finally went separately so the other could hold all the stuff.) I couldn't even take in a memory card!

Various guidebooks, such as LP, claim you can see the top of the temple from "the 2nd floor of a shop across the street." We were unable to find such a shop, tho many claimed the distinction. Could someone tell me which shop and which street? You'll have to describe the street, since names are useless even if you read Devanagari. We found the simplest way to approach the temple was from Nepali Ghat. You reach a cross street where the temple is in the street straight ahead, which is blocked by the police security check. Where from here is the store?

Or is it around the other side, west of the temple?

Thanks in advance.
John
#2 Sep 28th, 2009, 21:40
Sair Kar Duniya Ki Galib , Jindagani Fir Kahan ...
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  • mridula is offline
#2
Joneall most of the temples do that, you can't take anything in!

Sorry about the street though, no idea.
#3 Sep 28th, 2009, 22:32
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#3
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Originally Posted by mridula View Post Joneall most of the temples do that, you can't take anything in!
Thanks for you sympathy, mridula. That has not always been my experience tho. You can take stuff in most Indian temples, except shoes, leather and other "impure" objects. In many, photography is forbidden, but that doesn't mean you can't take a camera in with you as long as you don't use it. Since the 2006 attack on the Sankat Mochan Temple in Varanasi, you can't take much in there either. So restrictions seems to be based on temple importance and on history.

Hope somebody will be able to explain how to see the domes at least.

Say, you don't happen to know where the Razia Mosque is, do you?

Thanks again.
#4 Sep 28th, 2009, 23:21
Sair Kar Duniya Ki Galib , Jindagani Fir Kahan ...
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#4
I have been to Varanasi long long back, I vaguely remember the Vishwanath Temple. But maybe I need to revisit Varanasi but then when there are so many places that are not so crowded and then Varanasi gets pushed back!

Did you try searching for the same here?
#5 Sep 29th, 2009, 01:02
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#5
The Kashi Vishwanath temple we see today is the fourth one dedicated to Vishwanath.

The original one was destroyed by Qutub-ud-din Aibak and later Razia Sultan built the Razia Mosque on this site.

The Vishwanath Temple was then built in the nearby compound of the Avimukteshwara Temple, this was destroyed by the Sharqis of Jaunpur. The third destruction by Sikander Lodi led to the building of a new temple by Todarmal of Akbar's court. This temple too was demolished by the order of Aurangzeb in 1669.

The present temple was built by Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore.

The Nandi bull still faces the Jnana Vapi Mosque, the site of the original sanctum. Nearby is the Jnana Vapi Kupa or the Well of Wisdom, said to be the source of the primordial water offered to Avimukteshwara, the most ancient form of Shiva. The mosque bears the Sanskrit name due to this well only.
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes - Marcel Proust
#6 Sep 29th, 2009, 02:31
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#6
Quote:
Originally Posted by delhiwala View Post The Kashi Vishwanath temple we see today is the fourth one dedicated to Vishwanath.

The original one was destroyed by Qutub-ud-din Aibak and later Razia Sultan built the Razia Mosque on this site.

...

The Nandi bull still faces the Jnana Vapi Mosque, the site of the original sanctum. Nearby is the Jnana Vapi Kupa or the Well of Wisdom, said to be the source of the primordial water offered to Avimukteshwara, the most ancient form of Shiva. The mosque bears the Sanskrit name due to this well only.
So the Razia Mosque is also (now) known as the Jnana Vapi Mosque?

I'm looking for it because of its description in Diana Eck's book about Varanasi. According to her, it's on Varanasi's highest point and so has a nice view out over the city. A French photographer who now lives in Varanasi has told me though that you cannot take a camera to the mosque, as it is in the "quarantine domain" of the Vishvanath Temple. Is that so?

Thanks for your detailed history of the mosque. Doesn't help me find what I am looking for, but it is fascinating.
#7 Sep 29th, 2009, 02:53
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#7
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Originally Posted by joneall View Post So the Razia Mosque is also (now) known as the Jnana Vapi Mosque?
No !

Quote:
Thanks for your detailed history of the mosque. Doesn't help me find what I am looking for......
You wanted to know where is Razia Masjid, isn't it ? Or was it something else ?
#8 Sep 29th, 2009, 12:33
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#8
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Originally Posted by delhiwala View Post You wanted to know where is Razia Masjid, isn't it ? Or was it something else ?
Of course, don't know where I left my head today. Thanks!

It is just that, as a non-Hindu, I won't see much of it.

Do you know if the only entrance to the Vishvanath Temple is from the direction of the ghats or is there an entrance from the west too?
#9 Jan 21st, 2010, 23:59
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#9

Golden Temple Revisited

I am in Varanasi now, 21/01/10. I've been here for 3 days and packing up for Delhi tomorrow. I hooked with an exceptional young man who was my unpaid guide. He had a Brahmin friend who took me inside the Temple. He asked me to look around and see if I could spot any tourists, and no I could not - I was told my visit there was an extraordinary event because rarely is a Westerner allowed access. And yes, the security is beyond anything a Westerner has experienced.
#10 Jan 22nd, 2010, 01:41
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#10
Wow! Lucky guy. I've never heard of such a thing.

Please tell us more about what the temple is like.
#11 Mar 7th, 2010, 15:31
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#11
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Originally Posted by snwyrvr View Post I am in Varanasi now, 21/01/10. I've been here for 3 days and packing up for Delhi tomorrow. I hooked with an exceptional young man who was my unpaid guide. He had a Brahmin friend who took me inside the Temple. He asked me to look around and see if I could spot any tourists, and no I could not - I was told my visit there was an extraordinary event because rarely is a Westerner allowed access. And yes, the security is beyond anything a Westerner has experienced.
Wow, I'm surprised. I went there yesterday and they definitely didn't want me in there. And this is no temporary thing: they have it carved in a piece of marble inlaid by the gate of the temple: "Gentlemen who are not part of the Hindu religion are not allowed inside." (that's not an exact quote. Perhaps it was more of a request?).

From the narrow lane next to the temple (past security), you can stand on some high steps and see the top of the golden dome. It could use a cleaning. But: inside this security area, you are allowed to go to the Annapurna temple, where enthusiastic priests will wrap thread around your wrist and bless your whole family for a fee of 100 Rs. (this was the Hanuman temple corner btw).
#12 Mar 8th, 2010, 03:33
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#12
There is (or was) a shop directly across from the temple entrance with a small balcony on the first floor. It used to be common for the owner to invite tourists upstairs. Maybe no more?
Evil all its sin is still alive.

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