Yuva - India

ASI survey of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Masjid

In a huge development, a Civil Court in Varanasi district in Uttar Pradesh has allowed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to survey the Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque. All the costs will be borne by the Uttar Pradesh Government. The petition was filed by Advocate Vijay Shankar Rastogi on the behalf of Swayambhu Jyotirlinga Bhagwan Vishweshwar. The order was passed by Civil Court Judge Ashutosh Tiwari at Varanasi Civil Court.


The petition demanded the restoration of the land on which the Gyanvapi mosque is located to Hindus which is built allegedly on the ruins of Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The court has been urged to declare that Hindus have the right to worship and reconstruct their temple on the land. According to the petition filed in 1991 by the Temple’s Trust in the Varanasi District Court, it is claimed that the Mosque was built after demolishing a portion of the temple by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb who had pulled down a portion of the 2000 years old Kashi Vishwanath Temple to build Gyanvapi Mosque in 1669. However, the suit was opposed by Gyanvapi Mosque Management Committee-Anjuman Intazamia Masazid.

The Court held, “Thus, this Court finds that survey by ASI alone can bring the truth of the matter before this court. Irrespective of what surfaces, the survey by ASI may go on to help not only the plaintiffs but also the defendants if their version is indeed true.”

In the order passed by the Court, the following directions have been issued.

  •         The Director-General, Archaeological Survey of India, is hereby directed to get a comprehensive archaeological, physical survey to be done of the entire site.
  •         The Director General (DG) shall appoint a five members committee of eminent persons who are experts and well versed in the science of archaeology, two out of which belong to the minority community.


  •         The DG shall appoint an imminent and highly experienced person who can be regarded as an expert in the science of archaeology to act as the observer for the committee so constituted. Such a person should be preferably a scholarly personality and established academician of any Central University and the committee shall report the observer.


  •         A comprehensive documentation along with drawing, plan, elevation, site map with the precision of the disputed land shall be prepared by the committee.


  •         The prime purpose of the archaeological survey shall be to find out whether the religious structure currently standing at the disputed land is an alteration or addition to or over any other religious structure. If so, then what exactly are the age, size, and archaeological design of the religious structure standing at the presently disputed land. The committee will also find whether any temple belonging to a Hindu temple ever existed before the mosque in question. If so, then what is the age, size, and archaeological design, and which Hindu deities it was devoted to.


  •         For this survey, the committee shall be entitled to every portion of the religious structure standing at present at the disputed site.


  •         Every artifact supporting the plaintiff or defense shall be preserved. If any structure is deeply entrenched with earth and cannot be removed without potentially disturbing the structure, then is it to be recorded, photographed. Videography and external measurement shall be done.
  •         The committee shall ensure that people belonging to the Muslim committee are not prevented from offering Namaz at the disputed land. If due to the ongoing survey, it is not practicable to facilitate the Namaz offering, then the committee shall provide such person alternative and suitable place to offer Namaz.


  •         The committee shall give prior notice to the parties before entering into the survey work.


  •         No media or the general public shall be allowed to have access to witness the ongoing survey work.


  •         A report of survey work shall be prepared on a routine basis.


  •         The survey shall be carried between 9:00 am to 5.00 pm.


  •         The committee shall prepare comprehensive documentation along with the site map of the disputed site.

The Nandi in Gyanvapi is facing the mosque wall.



Mugdha Joglekar

Intern, Goa Chronicle

DISCLAIMER: This article reflects author’s view point. Goa Chronicle may or may not subscribe to views of the author

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