Gyanvapi Hindu Temple: Idols Discovered in Basement – ASI Survey Unveils Evidence of Aurangzeb Era Demolition

The ASI survey report of Gnanawapi was released late on Thursday night, revealing significant findings within the premises. According to the report, idols of Lord Vishnu, Ganesha, and Shivlinga have been discovered. Additionally, 34 pieces of evidence indicate that the entire complex stands on a temple structure. Notably, a stone slab named ‘Mahamukti Mandap’ was found within the mosque complex.

Traces of Hindu Heritage Amidst Historical Layers

The ASI report delves into the rich history of Gnanavapi, asserting the existence of a prominent Hindu temple during the 17th century, which was demolished during Aurangzeb’s reign. Despite modifications and concealment of the original structure, the report, spanning 839 pages, highlights key sites within the complex.

Linguistic Diversity and Devotion: Insights from Inscriptions

Inscribed in four languages – Devanagari, Kannada, Telugu, and Granth – the walls of Gnanavapi bear testimony to devotion, featuring three names of Lord Shiva: Janardana, Rudra, and Omeshvara. The report reveals that the pillars, adorned with animal figures, were repurposed from an earlier temple.

Architectural Marvels and Spiritual Symbolism

Animal figures adorning decorated arches within the complex have faced defacement, yet the interior dome boasts intricate geometric designs. The western entrance, embellished with carvings of animals and birds, leads to the central part of the temple.

Deciphering Historical Layers Through Architectural Styles

Describing the western wall as an integral part of the temple, the report traces its construction back to 5,000 years ago in the Nagar style. Additionally, remnants dating back 1,000 years were discovered beneath the wall, alongside a broken inscription from 1966.

Pillars: Silent Witnesses of Time and Tradition

The ASI report sheds light on the pillars, dating back to 1669, adorned with Hindu symbols, indicating their origin as part of a temple. The western wall, constructed from rubble of the old temple, retains its original character, while modifications are evident in the outer chambers.

Legacy Preserved in Stone: Unraveling Architectural Significance

Pillars from the original temple structure were repurposed in the eastern part of the Gnanavapi platform, showcasing decorative elements such as bells and lamp spaces, symbolizing the enduring legacy of spiritual devotion and architectural craftsmanship.

Hindu Party’s Assertion Validated by Report

The Hindu party affirmed that their claim stands validated by the report. According to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), a two-meter-wide well exists in the S-1 area of the Gyanvapi basement, covered under structures. The temple comprised a sizable central chamber with additional chambers to the north, south, east, and west. The north side exhibits remnants of three floors, while the chambers remain intact to the south and west. However, traces of the eastern chamber and its surroundings are indiscernible physically.

Temple Pillar within Mosque’s Basement

Broken Idols Discovered in Basement

Carving Traces on the Walls

Symbolic Motifs: Lotus and Swastika

Nagar Style: Characteristic of the West Wall

Hindu Party Lawyer Affirms Demolition of Temple

Subhash Nandan Chaturvedi, the lawyer representing the Hindu party, asserted that the survey report unequivocally demonstrates the demolition of the Adi Visweshwar temple and the subsequent construction of a mosque. Similar to the events in Ayodhya, a temple in Banaras was demolished, and a mosque was erected atop its remnants.

Muslim Party Awaits Response Pending Report Examination

The Muslim party, represented by the Anjuman Arrangement Committee, reserved their response pending thorough scrutiny of the report. SM Yasin, the joint secretary of the management committee, highlighted that the report constitutes information rather than a verdict. Evaluating the extensive 839-page report requires time, consultation with experts, and subsequent deliberation. Additionally, Yasin claimed that the mosque was constructed by a wealthy Muslim from Jaunpur between 804 and 842 Hijri, approximately 150 years before Emperor Akbar, indicating a long history of Muslim prayers at the site.

ASI Commences Survey at Gyanvapi

On July 24th, a team from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) commenced a survey at Gyanvapi, following an application granted by District Judge Dr. Ajay Krishna Visvesh on July 23, 2023. With the consent of Hindu and Muslim parties, the court authorized ASI to conduct a radar-based survey directed by the ASI Director, ensuring scientific methodology without causing any damage to the premises. The ASI team initiated the survey on July 24th and submitted a sealed report to the court after an 84-day survey, excluding the sealed toilet area.

Extensive Documentation of Survey Findings

The survey report, spanning 84 days, was meticulously prepared in three distinct parts. The first section comprises details of surface structures, including the terrestrial layout, historical periods, and timelines. The second section delineates findings from underground Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) surveys, featuring graphical representations and X-ray analyses of subterranean fossils in digital and graphical formats. The third section entails video-photography documentation, including day-wise PowerPoint slides capturing the progress of the survey at Gyanvapi.

Niyati Rao

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