The edges linking Vishalakshi Devi in south, Jnaneshvara in northeast Jnanavapi in the west form a triangle called as “Nabhi kshetra” (navel territory) of Kashi. There are about thirty shrines and temples of historically importance as eulogised in the Puranic literature, especially the Kashi Khanda of the Skanda Purana, dated ca 14th century. The patron deity of the city is Vishvanatha whose temple is the nucleus (navel) in this area. This is one of the 12 Jyotira Lingam located all over India. The Jnanavapi is symbolised as the pool (well) of the first primordial water on the earth. All the pilgrimage journeys (i.e. about 52) start and concluded at this site by taking vow and by getting release of the vow. In whole of India, thus this is the “navel” of the cosmic mandala of the whole India.
The area was famous in puranic mythology, which always referred Jnanavapi as the symbol of the primordial water from where the life began. The folk tales say that after the destruction of Vishvanatha temple in 1669 in the Jnanavapi Kupa the Lord had taken refuge and since then resides there. The king of Darbhanga (Bihar) built the temple of Nilakantheshvara in 1915; this is another grandeur of the temple architecture. Entering near the compound of Jnanavapi mosque, one meets the Dhundhiraj Gali, a typical and unique bazaar that preserved the scene of the late medieval period. In the lane are the shrines of Markandeshvara Shiva, Dandapani Bhairava, Ganapati Ganesha, and at the crossing Dhundhiraj Ganesha in the left. By following the straight the lane enters to Vishvanath Gali. This represents the Banarasi culture and shops related to it. A proverb says ‘Whatever one want to purchase, one can get here’. Halfway on the right there is a shrine of the Sakshi (“witness”) Vinayaka built in 1770, a transformed form of old Yaksha Vinayaka re-established here.