Kashi Vishwanath Temple (Golden Temple)
Every day, thousands of Hindu devotees flock to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, located near the auspicious western banks of the Ganga River. Kashi Vishwanath is one of India’s 12 so-called Jyotirlinga temples, important sites of worship to Lord Shiva. The temple complex consists of the main shrine to Shiva, as well as temples dedicated to other gods.
Go to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple independently, or on a guided tour of the ancient city. Walking tours of the area around the river are popular, as the narrow twisting lanes can be hard to navigate for first-time visitors. Guided excursions that stop by the temple sometimes include a boat ride and a visit to several of the ghats (steps) along the Ganga.
Things to Know Before You Go
When entering a Hindu temple, it’s customary to remove your shoes and socks and leave them on the provided shoe racks.
Phones, cameras, cigarettes, lighters, and other items are prohibited inside the temple. Visitors pass through security checks before entering.
Cover your arms and legs with long sleeves and pants before entering the temple.
How to Get There
The maze of streets in Varanasi’s old town, west of the Ganga, can be confusing, and it’s easy to get lost. Don’t worry—that’s part of the experience of exploring Varanasi. The temple stands just west of Manikarnika Ghat, one of the main steps on the river.
When to Get There
The temple is usually closed for only a few hours in the middle of the night. Early morning is the best time to go, to avoid long lines. If you dislike crowds, avoid visiting during Hindu festivals, particularly Maha Shivaratri in February or March.
Watch the Ganga Aarti at Manikarnika Ghat
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is near Manikarnika Ghat on the banks of the Ganga, where the evening aarti (ceremony) happens every day. Hindu priests perform ceremonies worshipping the Ganga River, which holds a vital place in Hindu mythology. Although crowded, this is an experience you shouldn’t miss.
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