Narmada Parikrama: Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Maheshwar, Khargone District, Madhya Pradesh

Maheshwar, named after Lord Shiva is dotted with ancient temples, innumerable Shiva Lingas carved at the ghats and decorative chhatris on the banks of the sacrosanct Rewa River that are perfect for meditation and to catch a glimpse of the mesmerizing rising and setting sun.


One of the most beautiful temples built by Punyashlok Ahilyabai Holkar in 1786 on the banks of the Narmada River is the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. According to the locals, this imposing Shiva Linga was supposed to have been consecrated in Kashi Vishwanath in Varanasi but incidentally came to be seated here and took the name of Kashi Vishwanath. It is the general belief that this Shiva Linga is as spiritually potent as the Jyothirlinga at Kashi Vishwanath and one can offer their prayers here if they are unable to make the tedious journey to Banaras.


This temple was built after the Shiva Linga arrived in Maheshwar. This temple has a sabha mandap of 18 pillars made of stone. The architectural style and detailing is very similar to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi.


It is said that Punyashlok Ahilyabai Holkar used to worship Kashi Vishwanath Mahadev on Mondays. After performing abhishek and pujaarchana in the morning and evening, naivedhya of rice and lentils used to be offered. This tradition has been continued till today.


Another interesting story of this temple is about the Nandi Bhagawan installed in the sabha mandap. Locals say that Nandi is known to disappear in the night to graze and return in the early hours of the morning! The priests have erected a balustrade to prevent him from moving about and leaving the premises.


Thousands throng this temple on the auspicious occasion of Maha Shivaratri and in the month of Shravan. It is also said that Bhagawan Kashi Vishwanath goes around the town on the last Monday in the month of Shravan to enquire about the well-being of his devotees.


Written by Lakshmi Subramanian

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