|introduced in Civilization IV|
|Great People points||1 Great Prophet|
The Kashi Vishwanath (Hindu Shrine) produces one gold each turn for every city in the world that practices Hinduism. It also spreads Hinduism throughout the world and increases its city's chance of generating a Great Prophet.
Kashi Vishwanath was a temple located in Varnasi, "the oldest living city in the world," and the place most sacred to Hinduism. The origins of Varanasi are shrouded in history, but it is believed that the city is more than 3,000 years old. After visiting the city, Mark Twain wrote that Varanasi "is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together."
According to Hindu tradition Varanasi is the home of Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati. Known as the Destroyer, Lord Shiva is part of the "trimurti" - the three aspects of God - creation, preservation, and destruction. Shiva's consort Parvati is seen as Earth Mother, and, according to tradition, the two are the parents of all living creatures. The city is also held sacred because it is here that the Ganges River gained the power to wash away sins.
The Kashi Vishwanath is a golden temple standing at the city's center. The date of construction of the original temple is not known. It was destroyed in 1669 by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, who built a mosque atop the ruins. The present Kashi Vishwanath was built in 1776, across the street from its original location. The newer building's spire is about 50 feet in height and covered with over one ton of gold plating, donated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The temple's interior consists of mandapa (pillared hall) and sanctum containing a silver altar.
According to Hindu tradition, it was here that the first hyotirlinga, the fiery pillar of light by which Shiva manifested his supremacy over other Gods, broke through the earth's crust and flared towards the heavens. The altar contains a Shivalinga (an ancient symbol of Shiva) in its center to commemorate this event. It is believed that viewing the temple can transform a worshipper's life and put him on the path of knowledge and devotion, and each year the temple is visited by tens of thousands of Hindu faithful seeking enlightenment.