yada paapasya bahulyaam yavana krantabhutalam
bhavishyati tadaa vipra nivaasam himavad giro
kasya saha karishyaami sarvatirtha samanvita
anaadisiddham me sthaanam vartate sarvadeva hi
Lord Shiva said, “O sages, when the Earth is weighed by sins and plagued by demons, then Himalaya will be my abode. Himalaya which has been blessed from time immemorial has always been my region in Kali-yuga. The Kashi of the North – Uttarkashi will become exalted as the Kashi of the East (Varanasi) and all other pilgrim centers combined together. (Skanda Purana)
In the center of Uttarkashi, in a buzzing market is a beautiful temple of Lord Vishwanath which is worth a visit. Lord Vishwanath in the form of a shiva-linga has been residing in the Vishwanath temple in Uttarakashi in deep meditation since time immemorial, showering his blessings on all the living beings. Unlike the other Shiva temples, the shivalinga in this temple leans towards the South direction. The garbha-griha or sanctum sanctorum also houses the Deities of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Parvathi Devi.
The mystery of Shiva-Linga tilting South
According to the Puranas, Sage Markandeya was cursed with a short span of life and hence was meditating on Lord Vishwanath at the very spot the Markandeya temple stands today within the temple complex. When Lord Yamaraja came to take him away, Sage Markandeya went and embraced Lord Vishwanath tightly and in this affection for Lord Vishwanath, Sage Markandeya was protected with a long life and Yamaraja was sent away. Since Sage Markandeya was destined to live only till 16 years of age, Lord Shiva blessed him to be eternally young like a sixteen year old boy. Yamaraja threw his gauntlet at Sage Markandeya to capture and take him away but Sage Markandeya’s tight embrace of the Shiva Linga of Lord Vishwanath along with the force of the gauntlet pull by Yamaraja tilted the Shiva Linga towards the southern direction.
History of Vishwanath Temple
The Shiva Linga of Lord Vishwanath was installed by Lord Parashurama. The present temple was constructed by Queen of Tehri – Khaneti Devi, the wife of Sudarshan Shah in the year 1857 AD. The stone temple is built in the Katyuri style and sits on a rock foundation which is a depiction of the local Himalayan architecture.
Other temples in Vishwanath Temple complex
There are several other temples in the Vishwanath temple complex with the most prominent being the Shakti temple which is situated opposite the temple of Lord Vishwanath. Here, the trident which is 19.5 feet high represents Shakti and is said to be the same trishul that was used to kill the asuras or demons during the wars between the demigods and demons. It has been standing there since and also bears Tibetan inscriptions as well as markings of the Naga dynasty on it. The trident is said to have assimilated the power of Lord Shiva’s Trident, Lord Vishnu’s disc and Lord Parashuram’s axe. The Uttarkashi district administration website mentions that the trident was built by King Ganeshwar’s son Guh who was a great warrior. Also, as per the site, there are inscriptions on the trident which mentions that the Vishwanath temple was built by King Ganeshwar.
On the right side of the main entrance, an ancient Deity of Lord Ganesha as Dundiraj has been enshrined in a small temple. There are also temples dedicated to Lord Sakshi Gopal as well as Sage Markandeya within the temple complex.
Every evening a a grand sandhya-arati is performed ceremoniously to Lord Vishwanath amidst the chanting of the sacred hymns. Couples desiring to have children come here every year on Shivaratri and hold a lighted lamp in their hands the whole night praying to Lord Vishwanath to beget a child.
Darshan timings of Vishwanath Temple
5 am to 1 pm in the morning.
4 pm to 8 pm in the evening.
How to reach the Vishwanath Temple
The temple is located in Uttarkashi town half a kilometer from the the Uttarkashi market. The temple is also 154 kms from Rishikesh near the main road leading to Gangotri. One can reach Uttarkashi by bus from Rishikesh, Dehradun, Mussoorie and Haridwar and take a bus further to Uttarkashi.
Location of Vishwanath Temple on Google Maps0