Lord Shiva to emanate in his blazing linga form. Here he is known as Vishwanatha, the Lord of Universe.This city is also known as Varanasi as it is located between the two rivers Varana and Asi. The importance of this place lies in the fact that it encompasses one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in its folds. The city and the concept of self-emanated linga is almost inseparable which is reflected in the numerous Shiva lingas installed at almost every ghat of Varanasi as the replica of Vishwanatha. And yet the original place where the Vishwanatha linga was is shrouded in misery. There is also a controversy regarding the self-emanated linga. According to one tradition a linga called Avimukteshvara, today situated in the courtyard of the Vishwanatha temple is the original self- emanated linga.Todays Vishwanatha temple was built in the eighteenth century by Queen Ahalyabai Holkar of Indore. The shikhar rising over the Vishwanatha was plated with gold by King Ranjit Singh of Lahore in 1839. Because of this golden spire the tourists also call the temple as golden temple of Varanasi.
Significance: The Lord himself has declared this spot as his Royal residence. The mother of Goddess Parvati felt ashamed that her son-in-law had no decent dwelling. To please Parvati Devi, Shiva asked Nikumbha to provide him with a dwelling place at Kashi. On the request of Nikumbha, Aunikumbha a Brahmin made Divodas construct a temple for the Lord here. The pleased Lord granted boons to all his devotees. But Divodas was not blessed with a son. Angry Divodas demolished the structure. Nikumbha cursed that the area would be devoid of people. Listening to the pledges of the repenting divodas, Lord Siva once again took residence here permanently. The Lord along with Parvati Devi once again started blessing his devotees with wonderful boons.Parvati Devi was so pleased that she offered food (annam) to one and all and hence is worshipped as Annapoorani. The Lord himself is seen with a bowl in his hands asking for annam from the seated Devi at the Devis shrine adjacent to Viswanathas shrine. This is considered to be one of the 52 Sakthipeedams (the place where Parvathis left hand fell, when her corpse was cut by Mahavishnus sudarshana chakram).
Air: Indian Airlines connect Varanasi to Bhubaneshwar, Lucknow, Agra and Delhi.
Rail: Varanasi is connected by rail with all the major cities in India.
Road: Good bus service connects Varanasi with most of the important places of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Some of the road distances are: - Agra 610 kms, Allahabad 127 kms, Bodh Gaya 240 kms, Gorakhpur 215 kms, Khajuraho 406 kms, Kushinagar 260 kms, Lucknow 320 kms, Lumbini 320 kms, Patna 270 kms Calcutta 681 kms, Bombay 1550 kms, Delhi 710 kms.