'The Golden Temple. Benares. India. Novr. 1878'
Artist: North, Marianne (1830-1890)
Medium: Oil on paper
Oil painting on paper by Marianne North of the Golden Temple at Benares, dated 1878.
Varanasi, the holy city of the Hindus, has innumerable temples and shrines. The Vishvanatha Temple is the principal Shiva sanctuary in the town. The temple as it stands today dates only from 1777 as the original structure, more than a thousand years old and reconstructed in 1585, had been dismantled by order of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb to reuse the material to build a mosque nearby. The sanctuary, which is accessible to Hindus only, contains numerous lingas clustered around a central linga. The temple has a clustered pointed spire, gilded and decorated with flags.