Dedicated to Lord Shiva, The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is a famous Hindu temple. It is located in Vishwanath Gali of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh in India. It stands on the western bank of the holy river Ganga and is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas, the holiest of Shiva temples. Madhuri Desai narrates the temple’s history, focusing on a litany of repeated destruction and rebuilding. Pilgrims visiting the present Kashi Vishwanath temple are informed about the timelessness of the Linga. Initially known as the Adi Vishveshwara Temple, The original Vishwanath temple was destroyed in 1194 CE by the Ghurids when Muizz al-Din Muhammad ibn Sam returned to India and defeated Jayachandra of Kanauj near Chandwar and later destroyed the city of Kashi.
Razia Mosque was constructed in its place, in a few years. The temple was rebuilt near the Avi Mukteshwar Temple, in 1230, away from the main site during the reign of Delhi’s Sultan Iltutmish (1211–1266 CE) by a Gujarati merchant. Again during the rule of either Hussain Shah Sharqi (1447–1458) or Sikandar Lodi (1489–1517), it was demolished. During Mughal emperor Akbar’s rule, Raja Man Singh built the temple. In 1585, Raja Todar Mal further rebuilt the temple but orthodox Brahmins chose to boycott the temple because his daughter was married to Islamic rulers. Vir Singh Deo either restored or completed the construction of the earlier temple, during the rule of Jahangir. Mughal emperor Aurangzeb destroyed the temple in 1669 CE and built the Gyanvapi Mosque in its place. The foundations, columns, and back of the mosque show remnants of the earlier temple. In 1742, the Maratha ruler Malhar Rao Holkar planned to demolish the mosque and rebuild the Visvesvara temple on the site. However, his plan was not implemented, partly due to the intervention of the Nawab of Awadh, who was given control of the region. The Maharaja of Jaipur commissioned a survey of the land around the site around 1750, with the objective of purchasing land to rebuild the Kashi Vishwanath temple. However, his plan to rebuild the temple was also not implemented. Malhar Rao’s daughter-in-law Ahilyabai rebuilt the present temple adjacent to the Holkar Masjid, in 1780.