Kashi is one of the oldest cities in the world. Its name is mentioned in the Rg Veda, where it’s called a moksha nagri, for it is believed that whosoever dies in Kashi attains immediate salvation. Therefore, Hindu believers in their old age prefer to surrender their life to God at Kashi. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is of utmost religious importance in the Hindu religion. Many great saints like Adi Shankaracharya, Goswami Tulsidas, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Swami Vivekananda and Guru Nanak had come to Varanasi to bathe in the holy waters of the Ganges, followed by darshan of the holy jyotirlinga.
In Sanskrit, vapi means a well, and gyan means the knowledge that liberates. Thus, gyanvapi refers to a well of knowledge. It was created at a time when even the holy Ganges had not descended to earth. Lord Shiva dug this well with his trishul to get water for his puja. He then delivered a spiritual sermon to his consort Parvati. Thus, the well came to be known as gyanvapi.