ASI Survey Reveals 55 Stone Sculptures, Including 15 Shiva Lingas, at Gyanvapi Mosque Premises
ASI Survey Reveals 55 Stone Sculptures, Including 15 Shiva Lingas, at Gyanvapi Mosque Premises

Varanasi: In the recent survey conducted by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at the Gyanvapi mosque premises, 55 stone sculptures were discovered, including 15 "Shiva linga." The ASI report revealed the presence of sculptures representing Lord Vishnu, Ganesha, Nandi, Krishna, and Hanuman. Notably, three sculptures of Lord Vishnu, two of Nandi, two of Krishna, and five of Hanuman were among the findings. The report, made public on Thursday, concluded that a temple "appears to have been destroyed in the 17th century, during the reign of Aurangzeb, and part of it... modified and reused in the existing structure."

According to the Varanasi district court's request, ASI was tasked with determining whether the mosque was "constructed over a pre-existing structure of a Hindu temple." Apart from the sculptures, 259 stone objects, including 21 household materials, five inscribed slabs, and 176 architectural members, were discovered. The survey also identified 27 terracotta objects, including 23 figurines, and investigated 113 metal objects and 93 coins, such as those from the East India Company, Victoria Queen coins, and Shah Alam Badshah-II coins. All the retrieved items have been handed over to the Varanasi district administration.

The descriptions of the discovered objects include details about their conditions, sizes, and locations within the mosque premises. For instance, the report describes a Lord Hanuman sculpture with the bottom half, depicting the left leg bent at the knee placed on a rock, while the right leg is firmly planted on the ground. Additionally, a Shiv Linga made of sandstone and a Ganesha sculpture were found, each with specific details about their conditions and locations. The report sheds light on the historical significance of the findings, suggesting a connection to the destruction of a temple during the 17th century.

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