Where Mata Annapurna feeds and Shri Vishwanath protects – The sacred Kashi

Where the Universe spreads itself into an infinite cosmos, the sacred city of Kashi is said to be its centre point, and that is the special city of Varanasi for all of us. Being the oldest city of the world to being the spiritual capital of our country, Kashi has many facets through which it represents our Sanatana Dharma as a shout out to the world.
The earliest mention of Kashi is mentioned in the Rig Veda, and it is this city which has seen civilizations come and pass through the timelines of history, but stood still against all odds. The ancient temple of Shri Vishwanath dedicated to Bhagwan Shiv stands on the western banks of the holy river Ganga and is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga Kshetras. Bhagwan Shiv is worshipped as Shri Vishwanath namely the ruler of the Universe, and Bhagwathi Parvathi is worshipped as Mata Annapurna, the goddess of Food, and it is an interesting story as to how the mother and father of our Universe came to dwell in the sacred city of Kashi.
Once, Bhagwan Shiv and Bhagwathi Parvathi were engaged in a conversation of life and the illusions of it. Bhagwan Shiv in his usual detachment self, mentioned that everything was Maya and there was no point in enjoying the material aspects of the earth when it was temporary. But being a mother, Bhagwathi Parvathi did not agree with this and decided to let know Bhagwan Shiv that life is worth living, and not everything is valued materialistic.
Bhagawathi Parvathi waved her hand and all the material things, like food, water, natural resources which are the essentials to life disappeared completely on the whole of the earth. Mother earth became dry and nothing grew on it making the humans suffer from hunger and disease and lack of nourishment. The Dharma of the world was hindered as none were able to do their assigned duties due to hunger, thirst and fatigue.
It is at this point that Bhagwan Shiv realises the importance of life and how special it was on earth. He humbly agrees his mistake and mentions that indeed the materialistic things were the source of life which gives energy for mankind to implement their duties in accordance to Dharma. He then requests Bhagwathi Parvathi to incarnate as the goddess of food at Kashi and nourish the humans back with food and water.
Extremely pleased with the request of Bhagwan Shiv, Bhagwathi Parvathi incarnated as Mata Annapoorna and became the mother who fed the hungry. On her request Bhagwan Shiv incarnated as Shri Vishwanath and became the ruler of the Universe and became the guardian protector of the mankind.
The temple of Kasi Vishwanath has the Divine Jyotirlinga of Bhagwan Shiv and Mata Annapurna gives darshan to all the devotees with a pleasant radiant look and a golden pot of steamed rice and a golden plate in her hand. It is believed that Bhagwan Shiv was the first one to be fed by Mata Annapurna to make him understand that food was one of the representations of the Para Brahman, but just not a material aspect of the world.
While the chants of Shri Adi Shankaracharya praising Varanasi Purapathim Bhaja Vishwanatham and Bhikshamdehi Kripavalambakari Mata Annapurneswari resound, the sacred city of Kashi revives the essence of our Sanatana Dharma where one learns to respect life and believe that every life is worth living.