Showing posts with label Vishvanath temple. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vishvanath temple. Show all posts

Hinduism - Where Is The Vishvanath Temple?


At the Vishvanath temple in Benares, the deity Shiva appears in his manifestation as the "Lord of the Universe." Shiva is represented in Vishvanath with a linga, a pillar-shaped image that represents Shiva's symbolic form; the Vishvanath linga is one of Shiva's twelve jyotirlingas, a network of locations thought extremely important to Shiva and where Shiva is uniquely present.

Benares, also known as Varanasi, is one of India's most holy towns; it is especially dedicated to Shiva, with Vishvanath being the most significant of all the Shiva temples there.

The original temple was destroyed by the Moghul emperor Aurangzeb, who built a mosque on the site, and the only part of the original temple that has survived is the Gyan Vapi ("well of knowledge"), into which the original Shiva linga was reportedly cast (to prevent it from being desecrated by Aurangzeb's soldiers).

The original temple was established in 1776 on a location next to the pre-sent temple by the Maratha queen Ahalya Bai Holkar.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Lahore eventually covered the temple in gold, earning it the moniker "Golden Temple." Even in previous centuries, the closeness of the Vishvanath temple and Aurangzeb's mosque made for tense relations between the Hindu and Muslim populations, and Benares, like many other northern Indian towns, has seen its share of bloodshed.

The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), a Hindu activist group pushing for the "return" of this and other northern Indian landmarks by force if necessary, has recently taken up the demolition of the old Vishvanath temple as a political issue.

The existence and activities of the VHP have heightened tensions between Hindus and Muslims in general.

Given the political benefits that these confrontational techniques have yielded, it is probable that they will continue in the future, and that the Vishvanath temple will remain a focus of strife.

Kiran Atma

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Hinduism - What Is The Indian Moghul Dynasty?


The Moghul Dynasty (1525–1857) was a Muslim dynasty that dominated India for almost 200 years.

Babar (r.1625–1630), a central Asian king who had been banished from his country in Afghanistan and conquered the Lodi dynasty rulers at Panipat in 1625, establishing the dynasty.

Humayan (1508–1556), Babar's son, ascended to the throne but spent most of his life combating an Afghan menace.

He reclaimed his kingdom, but died six months later as a result of injuries incurred in a fall.

Humayan was succeeded by his son Akbar (1542–1605), who is regarded as the greatest of the Moghul emperors for his forty-nine-year rule and attempts to treat his Hindu people as equal citizens rather than vanquished infidels.

Jahangir (1569–1627) replaced Akbar, and Jahangir was succeeded by Shah Jahan (1592–1666).

Aurangzeb (1618–1707), the last of the great Moghuls, expanded the Moghul empire by incorporating sections of the Deccan area.

The Krishna Janam Bhumi at Mathura and the Vishvanath temple in Benares were both demolished during Aurangzeb's reign.

Such events have sparked debate over whether the damage was motivated by anti-Hindu religious feelings (the Moghuls were Muslims) or by Moghul political power.

The Moghul empire disintegrated after Aurangzeb's death, but the dynasty continued to hold dwindling power until the 1857 insurrection against the British, when it was finally overthrown.

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Hinduism - What Is The Krishna Janam Bhumi?

Krishna Janam Bhumi is a site in Mathura considered to be the birthplace of the Hindu divinity Krishna.

The current temple was built in the 1960s, although the site is much older.

The new temple abuts the Shahi Idgah, a mosque erected on the foundation of an ancient Krishna temple, making it one of India's most religiously contentious places.

According to one legend, Muslim iconoclasts demolished four successive temples on the site where the mosque currently stands, commemorating the precise place of Krishna's birth.

Since the mosque was erected in 1661, and the temple it is alleged to have replaced was demolished by the Moghul emperor Aurangzeb in 1669, this claim seems dubious.

Along with the Vishvanath temple in Benares and Ayodhya's Ram Janam Bhumi, the activist Vishva Hindu Parishad chose the Krishna Janam Bhumi as one of three locations to be recovered as a Hindu holy place in the 1980s.

Mosques were said to have been erected on the site of an important Hindu temple at each of these locations, albeit only the first two have historical evidence of this.

Several attempts to recapture the Krishna Janam Bhumi have been launched during the 1990s, but they have received little support to yet.

Following the public outcry following the destruction of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992, the government has been significantly more restrictive in the activities it permits at such sensitive sites.

Christophe Jaffrelot, The Hindu Nationalist Movement in India, 1996, is a good source of information.

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