Hindu Temple Under Varanasi’s Gyan Vapi Mosque? Court Orders Survey

A petition contended that Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb demolished an ancient temple and built the mosque.


A court in Varanasi has ordered the Archaeological Survey of India to carry out a physical survey of the town’s Gyanvapi Mosque, located right next to the famous Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

The court ordered the survey while ruling on a three-decade old petition, which contended that Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb had demolished an ancient temple of “Lord Vishweshwar” and “constructed a mosque with the help of the ruins of the said temple”.

In its order, the court asked the Director General of the ASI to “constitute a five-member committee of eminent persons who are experts and well-versed in the science of archaeology, two out of which should preferably belong to the minority community”.

The court also asked the ASI Chief to appoint an eminent person — a scholar or an established academician — as an observer for the committee.

In its order , the court said, “the prime purpose of the Archaeological Survey shall be to find out whether the religious structure standing at present at the ‘disputed site’ is a superimposition, alteration or addition or there is a structural overlapping of any kind, with or over, any other religious structure”.

The committee, the court added, “shall also trace whether any temple belonging to the Hindu community ever existed before the mosque in question was built or superimposed or added upon it at the ‘disputed’ site'”.

The original petition in the case was filed in 1991 but a clutch of Varanasi residents contended the mosque was built over an ancient temple in 1664 by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.

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