Varanasi Court’s Decision: Controversy over Gyanvapi Mosque Survey Report

The Varanasi court has chosen to share a detailed 839-page report about the Gyanvapi mosque complex with both Hindu and Muslim parties. This complex is next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple. District Judge A K Vishvesh made this decision of sharing the survey, following a district court order from July 21 last year. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) conducted a scientific survey to find out if the mosque was built on an older Hindu temple. This is seen as a positive move for the Hindu side, supporting their claim that the Gyanvapi was constructed after a temple dedicated to Adi Vishweshwar (Shiva) was demolished.

While the Hindu community feels validated by this decision, SM Yaseen, the joint secretary of Anjuman Intizamia Masajid representing the mosque custodians, emphasized the importance of the Muslim side carefully reviewing the report before deciding what to do next.

During the mosque’s expansion and courtyard construction, parts from the pre-existing temple, like pillars and pilasters, were reused with small changes. The survey found 34 inscriptions in Devanagari, Grantha, Telugu, and Kannada scripts on existing and pre-existing structures. The reuse of these inscriptions suggests the likely destruction of earlier Hindu temples, with parts repurposed in the construction or repair of the existing structure. Notably, three deities’ names—Janardhana, Rudra, and Umesvara—appear in these inscriptions, and the term “Maha-mukti mandap” in three inscriptions holds significant importance.

An Arabic-Persian inscription found inside a room dates the mosque’s construction to the 20th regnal year of Aurangzeb (1676-77 CE). This suggests that the pre-existing structure was likely destroyed in the 17th century during Aurangzeb’s reign, with parts modified and reused in the existing structure.

The survey report includes revealing photos of broken idols of Hindu deities such as Hanuman, Ganesha, and Nandi. Additionally, the discovery of several yonipattas (the base of a shivling) and a shiv linga with its bottom part missing supports the conclusion that the Adi Vishweshwar Mandir (Hindu Shiva temple) existed before the Gyanvapi Masjid (Mosque).


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