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Temples: History, Architecture & Distribution - 2
the famous Sanci stupe place was inhabited between 3bc and 12 ad,

here is a reconstructed plan of the place

[Image: sanciplan2.jpg]

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[Image: sanciplan2.jpg]

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[quote name='Bodhi' date='26 October 2007 - 02:31 AM' timestamp='1193345616' post='74590']

On the banks of Old Gandaki river, on the lands of the earstwhile princely state of darbhangA, and presently in the samastIpur distt. of bihar, is a village called mAlInagar. The village itself is non-descript, except for a 'forgotten' temple of 12/13th century, that it has.

On one side of the river lies samastIpur, while on the other darbhangA. On the samastipur side is this village. During the heavy rains, the river is often flooded, causing enormous desctruction to both sides. Right on the banks lies this temple known by the locals as Sri Har Mandir.

The temple, actually a complex of twin temples - of Sri Ram, and of Bhagwan Siva, was constructed by some "mahathA" (Mehta?) gold-merchants from Gujarat, as the shilA-leka located here proclaims in sanskrit-prAkrit. Then later there was certain dispute between the wealthy merchants and the king of darbhangA - due to which the merchants left mAlInagar, although the descendant mahathA-s still patronize the temple.

<img src='http://inlinethumb52.webshots.com/24627/2407462780100818794S425x425Q85.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />


would post more images later.


Dear Bodhi,

Do you have the exact dates of the temples according to the shilAlekha? And are there more images of the temple complex? This is yet another very important example of Hindu temples with clear bulbous (!!) domes at such an early date, but certainly way before any Timurid/Mughal structure. I have seen for instance examples of Hindu Shahi temples too. South Indian temples (of Pallavas for instance) also do have bulbous domes much before Timurid Mughals.

India developed an indigenous style of bulbous domes. This type of domes anywhere in Asia is developed from a fusion of Indian pointed horse-shoe shaped Chaitya roofs and Indian semicircular Stupa domes. The last type we can see frequently in the structures usurped by the Delhi Sultans and called "Pathan" by Fergusson's biased thesis. But Hindu temples do also have the Stupa domes, having its clear examples in elevated Stupas = semicircular stupa domes on top of a square hall, which we have since the Gupta period of the 5th century on.

If my reasoning is right, as explained on the previous page) about the demolished Babari structure that it was actually a former temple built by king Nayachandra in the 12th century (on top of a demolished ancient Rama Mandira of at least the 10th century, which must have been destroyed by a Ghaznavid before Nayachandra's time), then it follows that those structures with that type of a single or triple

(semicircular Stupa) dome was very much a Hindu creation.

This would lead to the important conclusion that not only bulbous domes, but also the non-bulbous semicircular ones must have been Indian creations, all going back to Indian semicircular and bulbous Stupa and Stupi domes. No country shows more varieties of domes as India: plain and ribbed circular bulbous domes, octagon ribbed bulbous domes, bell shaped domes, Chhatri domes, Stupa domes, piramidal domes, conical domes, etc., etc.
if you look at the jain temples from gujarat and rajastan ,you also observ that they have domes from 11-12 century,before mughal occupation.

however the technique of construction is different from more western counterparts .

indian domes are made in "fake" arch ,meaning that layers of stone are horizontal not angular as in the case of "real" arch.

the fake arch doesnt have lateral pressure ,but also it cant be made to large.

the real arch can produce large internal expansion.

some architects believe that dome or arch and jain micro-decorations(imitation of arab mosaics) was influenced by muslim architecture before the invasion of mughals based on the fact that they usually appear after 10 century when muslims advance as far as Indus,while others believe that it was an internal development.

the foiled arch was born near Baghdad but the inventor was either a arab according to one theory ,either a indian architect living there.
[quote name='HareKrishna' date='25 September 2010 - 04:34 PM' timestamp='1285412190' post='108477']

if you look at the jain temples from gujarat and rajastan ,you also observ that they have domes from 11-12 century,before mughal occupation.

however the technique of construction is different from more western counterparts .

indian domes are made in "fake" arch ,meaning that layers of stone are horizontal not angular as in the case of "real" arch.

the fake arch doesnt have lateral pressure ,but also it cant be made to large.

the real arch can produce large internal expansion.

some architects believe that dome or arch and jain micro-decorations(imitation of arab mosaics) was influenced by muslim architecture before the invasion of mughals based on the fact that they usually appear after 10 century when muslims advance as far as Indus,while others believe that it was an internal development.

the foiled arch was born near Baghdad but the inventor was either a arab according to one theory ,either a indian architect living there.


Dear HareKrishna,

Thank you for your remarks, and especially for the Stupa with the monolithic pillars at the Gates of the sanctuary. That again stresses the fact that monolithic and especially cylindrical towers or pillars scattered over E-Iran, Afghanistan, Central-Asia and the subcontinent fromAshoka's time on, mostly close to a sanctuary, have their origins in monolithic Bauddha, Jaina, Shaiva, Vaishnava, etc. Stambhas, whether as Vijaya-, Mana-, Dipa-, Brahma-/Garuda-etc. Stambhas.

The information in standard works always barks on arches, especially true and foiled arches having been introduced in India by Muslims. Nothing is farther from the truth. Even clear instances of really indigenous occurrences have never been mentioned by these works and their scholars showing acute amnesia. Below I have commented on arches, which is from my Part II. on Mughal or Muslim architecture. (to be posted as soon as I have finished putting in right order all the quotes and notes)


1. Pointed arches

Standard works make these an invention of non-Indians introduced by Muslims in India. But see Buddhist chaitya cave in India: "the rock-cut pointed arch-type facade that is carved as if it were wooden construction", The top girders and beams are laid on the pillars of the sarcophagus, small posts supporting small beams stand on the girder, the ends of purlins are carved along the curved rafter, then a ridgepole on the top. See the Lomash Rishi Cave at Barabar Hill, 3rd century BC http://www.kamit.jp/07_lycia/xbaraba.htm

At the facade of the Buddhist chaitya caves in India, the extrados of the arch is cusped with a horn on top, , but its intrados form is semicircular, except a few examples like the Barabar cave. The semicircular shape reminds us of a "true arch" made of laid stones or bricks. But in fact, the inside of the arch is completely carved like a wooden construction with the rafters and purlins. Upper part of a Chaitya cave, Baja (India) , 1st century B.C.


Indian masons certainly knew the technique before the birth of Muhammad. There are many examples of these in Indian temples.

2. Foiled arches

They are clearly an indigenous development, already witnessed in Bauddha, Gupta period and Hindu Shahi period temples and later. The came into existence as arched niches were moulded after the head and shoulders of statues placed in these

a. trefoiled arches can be seen in pre-Muslim structures of for instance Hindu Shahi period, before any Muslim entered their soil.

b. cusped arches It is a development of the "horse-shoe" arch (gable window) which has rightly been regarded as of Indian, pre-Muhammadan invention, as per Rivoira, Moslem Architecture, p. 110f quoted by Coomaraswamy (see quote below).

Cusped arches are found already in Java by the eighth century (Borobudur); there is an excellent example at the Gal Vihari, Palonnaaruva, Ceylon. . They can also be seen in Hindu Shahi, Vangi and Gurjari architecture of pre-Muslim periods. The Hindu shastras have names for each part of the cusped arches. Says Coomaraswami: "Mukherji, Antiquities of the Lalipur District, I, p. 9, gives the Indian terminology; the "parts of the so-called Saracenic (five-foiled) arch, are all Hindu." These names are, for the spring of the arch, naaga (cf. Naaga-bandha, in the sense of chamfer-stop); for the foils or cups, kaTora; and for the top, cuukaa (? = cuulikaa, q.v. in Dictionary)."

A.K. Coomaraswamy: Indian Architecture. JAOS, vol. 48, no. 3, september 1928. Pp. 254

Perhaps the word "cuukaa" is also the name of the topmost important stone of the radiating true arch construction of the ancient temples.

3. true arches

These are definitely known to Indian masons, before any pagan Arab called himself a Muslim. See for instance the true arch at Buddhist Stupa at Guldara, Afganistan、3rd to 4th century ( from "The Art of Ancient India" by Susan L. Huntington) http://www.kamit.jp/07_lycia/xguldara.htm

True arches were known to Birmese structures. This Birmese (Pagan)style was influenced by Indian masonry style of Bengal (and Bihar). Shri Lanka also knows true arches, which may have been from the same tradition as that of India.

Perhaps one of the oldest examples we still have of the true arches with an older technique of constructing these is of the Nongarh Jamui temple on which was built a stupa of the 1st century BCE-1st century CE. The stupa was excavated by Mr. Beglar, assistent to Cunningham. He concludes that the principle of true arches were known and used in that period in India! From: Bihar and Orissa District Gazetteers: Monghyr by L.S.S. O'Malley, New Delhi, 1926 reprinted 2007. Logos Press, page 251

Hindu Shahi "Salt Range temples – Amb, Kalar, Katas, Nandana and the two groups of temples in north and south Kafirkot, near Chashma on the Indus are equally remarkable not only for their links to Gandhara, but also for the employment of true arches, vaults and domes, using a cementing lime or gypsum mortar." By Kamil Khan Mumtaz, architect of Lahore, see: http://www.kamilkhanmumtaz.com/index.php...&Itemid=73

The problem is that Muslims in their first period of conquests confiscated previous temples with these features, both in India and abroad.

4. vaulted arches

Multivaulted arches were also known to Indian masons. See an example of multi-vaulted muqarna-like, pointed and horse-shaped arches in the entrance arch at http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/ipc/img/15800.jpg

This is from the period of 270 B.C.E.


Arch techniques described above were applied to entrances, etc. Different dome techniques, all indigenous, are described in the previous post. Additional example: The Shitaleshvara Mahadeva temple at Chandravati of 689-690 has a ribbed bulbous dome from a slightly later Hindu period. See also the Hindu Shahi bulbous domes.


We have to remember that when the Arabs conquered South Sindh and Multan and only held later on the last, they had already taken with them many Hindus, including stonecutters/masons to West-Asia. The influence and reputation of Hindu masons was very high in Asia!

Also we have to keep in mind that when the Ghaznavids rose to power in the 10th century, they were a a huge imperial power, dominating large parts of Iran, Central-Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. They captured many Hindu masons, employed in their empire to construct buildings or to convert preexisting Zoroastrian, Bauddha, Shaiva, etc. structures in those areas into Islamic ones. During Khalifa Harun-al Rashid many Indian scholars, masons, etc. were invited to Baghdad.

We only have to recall the awe or amazement of Arabs, Mahmud Ghaznavi, Al Biruni (who had seen many areas, cities and structures of Asia), Timur, etc. with reference to Hindu structures and the abilities of Hindu masons. That is why they killed all men, but captured women and boys (for their pleasure) and masons (for their skills). And these masons built structures in foreign countries.

Also we have to keep in mind the fact that India had many seats of higher learning or universities, like N: Sharadapitha in West Kashmira (POK); NW: Takshashila in Panjab; E: Varanasi seat, Nalanda and Vikramashila in Bihar; Jagaddala in Bangal, Somapura in Bangladesh; SE: Odantapuri, Ratnagiri and Pushpagiri in Orissa; SW: Valabhi in Gujarat; S: Manyakheta in Karnataka, Nagarjunakond in Andhra and Kanchipuram in Tamilnadu.

These seats of higher learning taught for instance the catuhshashti kalas or 64 arts. Some of these above mentioned were universities with world-renowned reputation, where foreigners from afar used to come to learn something on high level.

Thus, not only the Hindus went abroad freely or were forced to move, but also their high level knowledge. Where in standard works dealing on architecture can you find this fact mentioned? Can any Muslim country compete with these numbers and their high level? One can sure blame Muslims with the destructions of these seats and the forcefully deportation of the skilled ones to their countries where these former Indians were Islamized and built like Titans.

Those Daiva (or sacred) temples which were too heavily ornamented or unconvertable, were destroyed. The standard works only concentrate on temple architecture, look at heavily ornamented Hindu temples that did survive, but ignore simpler executed Daiva temples or Daiva temples converted into mosques, and totally ignore non-temple structures as palaces (of royal people) and huge lofty mansions (of wealthy merchants and nobles).

Those Bhauma (a better word than secular) structures and simpler Daiva edifices which were clearly not heavily ornamented, having a more free architectural execution, etc. were converted either in tombs of Muslim royal people or nobles or Sufi saints. (some royal mansions could have a double function as Bhauma and Kula Daiva edifices)

The so-called fusion in Indo-Islamic art (a psec appeasing approach), concerning structures called Islamic and showing features of Hindu hand (masons) and symbolism, are actually structures which were former or contemporary built Hindu Daiva or Bhauma edifices worthwhile to retain (for their beauty, for disecrating a former Hindu sanctuary and denigrading its followers or rulers, etc.) and claim as their own with court formulations like 'built by the great Sultan or Padishah X of such grandeur, as no ruler in the seven climes of the world has witnessed or created'.

The greatest, most complex, beautiful and largest constructions labelled as Islamic are still Indian designed and built lofty edifices. Therefore, the most truthful correction to Bishop Heber's 19th century statement is: "Hindus designed like Titans (built like Giants) and finished like jewellers."
Ishwa, If the Babri Masjid is a converted Hindu temple with the fake arch, which cannot support lateral loads, would that explain the speedy demolition on Dec 6, 1992?

Has anyone done a structural analsysis of how it collapsed so quickly? Are there interior pictures of Babri structure?
correction ramana:is the real arch that have lateral loads.
Dear Hari Krishna and Ramana, I am more and more interested in the demolished 'masjid' w.r.t. the signs of its preexisting temple features. Perhaps there is some documentation somewhere on this topic (ASI reports?). But I do not have read any.

At this moment I only know about a massive 10th century temple structure under ground, a inscriptional testimony of a temple structure in the 12th century by king Nayachandra, and a demolished structure called with both names Masjid-i Janamsthan and Babri Masjid. Between the last structure which was demolished in 1992 (and which is certainly pre-Mughal) )and the underground 10th century massive temple structure, there is no other structure, which leads me to the conclusion that the demolished structure must be king Nayachandra's temple. And thus Babar ordered its desecration and conversion to a mosque.

Anyway, Babar didn't order the building of the structure named after him from scratch.

The construction of true arches was certainly known in pre-Muslim times as I have demonstrated. But if one wishes to ignore this, at least from the Khilji Sultanate period on, Hindu masons did know the principles and practice.
Ancient undergound temple

The excavation yielded: “stone and decorated bricks as well as mutilated sculpture of a divine couple and carved architectural features, including foliage patterns, amalaka, kapotapali, doorjamb with semi-circular shrine pilaster, broke octagonal shaft of black schist pillar, lotus motif, circular shrine having pranjala (watershute) in the north and 50 pillar bases in association with a huge structure".

This ancient temple was destroyed by Muslim vandalism. The only candidates before the Gahadavala Govindachandra are the Ghaznavids, of whom Mahmud and Salar Masud are the most likely Ghazi invaders.

New Temple inscriptions

12th century, pre-Sultanate thick stone slab recovered from the demolished 'masjid' structure, embedded in the lower portion of a wall.

The 1.10m x 0.56m buff sandstone, found broken into two pieces from the debris of the demolished structure, was inspected by a team of experts from the Archaeological Survey of India in March 2000 under instructions from the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court. It has since been kept at the Ram Katha Kunj under the seal of the high court.

Line 5: paying obeissance to the “Janmabhumi of that incarnation of Vishnu which possesses the highest and most desirable glory in this world and whose splendour was constantly enhanced by

performing thousands of brave deeds".
(Clear reference to Shri Rama)

B.B. Lal: “From the published reports it is gathered that there were more than 200 specimens which included many sculptured panels and architectural components which must have once constituted parts of the demolished temple. Besides, there were three inscriptions…

…the largest one is engraved on a stone slab, measuring 1.10 x .56 metres, and consists of 20 lines. It has since been published by Professor Ajaya Mitra Shastri of Nagpur University in the Puratattva, No. 23 (1992-93), pp. 35 ff. (Professor Shastri, who unfortunately is no more, was a distinguished historian and a specialist in Epigraphy and Numismatics.) The relevant part of his paper reads as follows:

The inscription is composed in high-flown Sanskrit verse, except for a small portion in prose, and is engraved in the chaste and classical Nagari script of the eleventh-twelfth century AD. It has yet to be fully deciphered, but the portions which have been fully deciphered and read are of great historical significance for our purpose here. It was evidently put up on the wall of the temple, the construction of which is recorded in the text inscribed on it. Line 15 of this inscription, for example, clearly tells us that a beautiful temple of Vishnu-Hari, built with heaps of stone (sila-samhati-grahais) and beautified with a golden spire (hiranya-kalasa-srisundaram) unparalleled by any other temple built by earlier kings (purvvair-apy-akritam nripatibhir) was constructed. This wonderful temple (aty-adbhutam) was built in the temple-city (vibudh-alayani) of Ayodhya situated in the Saketamandala (district, line 17) showing that Ayodhya and Saketa were closely connected, Saketa being the district of which Ayodhya was a part. Line 19 describes god Vishnu as destroying king Bali (apparently in the Vamana manifestation) and the ten-headed personage (Dasanana i.e. Ravana).

The inscription makes it abundantly clear that there did exist at the site a temple datable to circa 11th-12th century CE. The sculptures and inscribed slab that came out from within the walls of the Masjid belonged to this very temple. It has been contented by certain historians that these images, architectural parts and the inscribed slab were brought by the Kar Sevaks from somewhere else and surreptitiously placed there at the time of the demolition of the Masjid. This contention is absolutely baseless. Transportation of the above-mentioned material from elsewhere would have required the use of many trucks, an act which would have certainly been noticed by the innumerable representatives of the print and electronic media present on the spot to cover the event. On the other hand, a reputed journal, India Today, published in its issue dated December 31, 1992 a photograph which shows the Kar Sevaks carrying on their shoulders a huge stone-slab sculpted with a long frieze, after having picked it up from the debris.

Anyway, to allay any misgivings, I append here a Note from the highest authority on epigraphical matters in the country, namely the Director of Epigraphy, Archaeological Survey of India, Dr. K.V. Ramesh.

… according to [Ramesh] this temple was built by Meghasuta who obtained the lordship of Saketamandala [i.e. the Ayodhya region] through the grace of a senior Lord of the earth, viz. Govinda Chandra of the Gahadavala dynasty, who ruled over a vast empire, from 1114 to 1155 CE.”

From: Rama His Historicity, Mandir and Setu: Evidence of Literature, Archaeology and Other Sciences, by B.B. Lal, 2008. ISBN: 9788173053450.

Some sources provide the names of Nayachandra and Ayushchandra. Perhaps Meghasuta and the two Chandras are all involved with the start of construction and subsequent finishing or perhaps repairs after violation. At this moment I cannot see the role of the Chandra governors and their time, as I do not have the Sanskrit originals.

But, the inscription of the demolished wall clearly refers to king Govindachandra Gahadavala.

Name Janmasthana shrine

Skandapurana, Ayodhya-Mahatmya: a pilgrimage to the city is the best means to salvation. The Ayodhya-Mahatmya profusely eulogizes the Janmabhumi shrine and gives it location. The merits of a visit by a devotee observing the vow on the Ramanavami day to the Janmasthana has been described in Ayodhya-Mahatmya in the following words:

"A man who has seen the Janmasthana will not be born again even if he does not offer gifts, practice asceticism, goes on pilgrimages or make sacrifice-offerings. A man observing the vow world be liberated from the bondages of rebirth on arrival of the Navami day because of the miraculous power of a bath and a gift. By seeing the Rama-Janmabhumi he shall obtain the result that accrues to one who gives away a thousand red cows day after day".

Other Hindu features

Over 200 other artifacts were recovered on the day of demolition of the structure, and many point to being part of an ancient temple. Of course the Nayachandra stone slab.

The excellence of the Hindu masons craftsmanship is noticeable in their vegetal scrolls and lotus patterns of the structure which was demolished in 1992. This is clear indication that the Ghazi Babar, having led a Jihad against Rana Sanga in 1527, could never tolerate vegetal signs if he did build a Masjid (!) from scratch.

B.B. Lal also says that “Attached to the piers of the Babri Masjid there were twelve stone pillars which carried not only typical Hindu motifs and mouldings but also figures of Hindu deities.” And he further says “the pillar-bases were penetrating into the Masjid-complex, a question naturally arose whether these bases had anything to do with the above-mentioned pillars affixed to the piers of the Masjid.”

For me it is clear that the demolished structure has its origins with the Gahadavala period temple, which was interconnected and built on top of an older temple complex beneath. How many times the newer 12th century temple was harrased and repaired till Babar's time is hard to say. But it is clear that Babar didn't build the demolished structure from scratch, but he had desecrated and converted a former temple with minor changes (removing idols, reverting stone slabs with Hindu iconography and Nagari inscriptions, arranging the qiblah) into a mosque.

The unfortunate demolition of a former desecrated temple, fortunately unearthened proofs of its former Hindu status, and also of the existence of an older destroyed temple beneath it.
[quote name='Ishwa' date='29 September 2010 - 12:52 AM' timestamp='1285701255' post='108534']

Dear Hari Krishna and Ramana, I am more and more interested in the demolished 'masjid' w.r.t. the signs of its preexisting temple features. Perhaps there is some documentation somewhere on this topic (ASI reports?). But I do not have read any.


im sorry,im not qualified in that domain.

im more intersted in development of hindu art and architecture over centuries.
Dear Harekrishna, no problem. In the post before yours I have found some more information as given by great excavators and scholars. This gave me the following reconstruction of data:

Ancient temples

- The Janmabhumi area has had continuous and mostly interconnected layers of temple structures for some past three millennia.

Old massive temple till at least 10th century

- The till at least 10th century structure was destroyed in the 11th century, interconnected to which was the new temple built in the next period below.

New temple 12th century

- the Gahadavala period new temple through Meghasuta with its splendid golden dome as described in the Vishnu Hari inscription which was found from the wall of the demolished structure in 1992.

New temple damaged and repaired 12th to 16th century

- This 12th century temple too was one or more times desecrated and damaged between the 12th and 16th century by possibly Delhi and Sharqi Sultans.

- But it did still function as temple after reparations (which led to the triple dome superstructure of this period - repairs possibly connected to Nayachandra and Ayushchandra, names also found from the demolished Babri structure).

New temple damaged > repaired as Babri Masjid 16th century

- Babur came and damaged and desecrated the previously repaired temple of the 12th to 16th century. The structure was repaired with cosmetic changes to be fit as Muslim sanctuary, renamed as Babri Masjid.

Thus, based upon the findings of B.B. Lal and others, the demolished structure with the names of Masjid-i Janamsthan and Babri Masjid was a Mughal time desecrated, damaged and converted temple, repaired by Hindus in the Sultanate period and built in the 12th century during Govindachandra Gahadavala, and of which most parts were still of the hands of Hindu masons under order of local Hindu rulers.

But, let's see what the decision is tomorrow.
iswa, Here is the relevant portion of the Allahabad High Court on RJB decision.

BijuShet Wrote:I am not sure about the other 48 documents but this one document (Annexure V - Page 15 to 59), 45 page doc has the pictorial evidence to prove the pre-existence of a Ram Mandir at the site. Warning this is 7 Mb Adobe PDF doc but the pics are in the first few pages. The verdict in its entirety is 49 pdf files - 73 MB and the main HTML page.

What do you make of it? And have you read the google book/links posted by Mudy in the Ayodhya thread?

Lest this is lost in the noise...

A graphic representation of the ASI report that none of the p-sec media will ever show you again..

[Image: Babri_Masjid6.jpg]
they say it was a jain temple there.

its that true?
Thank you very much for the links quoted by Mudy, to which i will look, and for the graphic and the link to a very important documentation! I now have a better idea about the names, relative positions of Nayachandra=Anayachandra, Meghasuta and Ayushyachandra and their time.

The scheme in my previous post has to be adjusted and further fine-tuned as below:

New temple 12th century

- the Gahadavala period new (Vishnu Hari) temple through Meghasuta, the Lord of Saketamandala under Govindachandra Gahadavala, with its splendid golden dome as described in the Vishnu Hari inscription which was found from the wall of the demolished structure in 1992.

Ayushyachandra was responsible for more lofty structures and many small and large wells.

New temple damaged and repaired 12th to 16th century

- This 12th century temple too was one or more times desecrated and damaged between the 12th and 16th century by possibly Delhi and Sharqi Sultans.

The first to have been responsible for a desecration and damage must have been Qutbuddin and Shihabuddin Gori in 1194 after defeating Jayachandra Gahadavala, the last overlord of Ayodhya.

The Delhi Sultanate period from 1194 to 1398 when Timur destroyed their power, must have been a very difficult one for Ayodhya. Most probably Ayodhya rulers bought off their independance from Muslims. The structure, later desecrated by Mir Baqi and/or Babar, was repaired in this period. Probably the three-domed superstructure was of this age, instead of the single golden domed one of Meghasuta. This points at the destruction of the superstructure by Qutbuddin and Shihabuddin Ghori.

After 1398 many tribute paying kingdoms became detached from Delhi harrassments, so also Ayodhya. They may have come under influence sphere of the Jaunpur Sharqis. The Sharqis didn't give an impression that they had harrassed Ayodhya.

- But it did still function as Hindu temple after the last reparations, that it had to get damaged by Mir Baqi and/or Babar later on. Thus, from 1398 to 1451 till the last weak (Sayyid) Sultan of Delhi, Ayodhya was fairly free from Delhi harrassments. The Lodis destroyed the Sharqis in 1479, but they hadn't attacked the temple structure of Ayodhya, because 50 years later Babur had to desecrate and damage it.


Vishnu Hari inscription Family trees

'Mame'.................................................Chandradeva Gahadavala

Sallakshana----------Anayachandra................Madanapala Gahadavala

Alhana---------------Meghasuta................Govindachandra Gahadavala

Ayushyachandra...........................................Vijayachandra Gahadavala

The underlined names are mentioned in the Vishnu Hari inscription. I have added the names of the other Gahadavalas.

Meghasuta was the next Lord of Saketamandala after Anayachandra, who in my opinion was his father. After Meghasuta his cousin Alhana (son of Sallakshana and grandson of 'Mame') was the next lord of Saketamandala, followed by his youngest (son?) called Ayushyachandra.

Meghasuta and Alhana served their overlord Govindachandra Gahadavala. The inscription dates from the time of Ayushyachandra, who crushed a thread from the west (Delhi Sultan). His overlord then was most probably Vijayachandra Gahadavala.

Babar's role

That Babar may have had a hand in the desecration of the repaired Vishnu Hari Rama Mandira, as indirectly pointed out by the witness of the inscription of Mir Baqi mentioning his name, is most probably. That his biography doesn't mention this because of missing pages is no proof to the contrary. The atrocities committed by him during his previous 4 failed attempts to conquer India were all disastrous to Hindus, as witnessed by the Guru Grantha Sahib. All the pages containing his atrocities against Hindus are missing, except the ones against his three major political ones: skulls of towers were built with the slain heads.

Ayodhya was politically not interesting for the Ba®bari biography. But that he had a hand in the temple desecration, is indirectly indicated by the inscription of Mir Baqi, his official governor.
Can you elaborate how you infer from Mir Baqi's inscription? How does it indicate Babar's role?
Dear Ramana, first of all, I have to rely on the reliability of the Mir Baqi inscription. Starting with that, the inscription needs some explanations.

Baburnama hiati

Beveridge in her English translation of the Baburnama says that Babar reached the Ayodhya vicinity on March 28, 1528, and camped there for a short period to settle the affairs of Awadh=Ayodhya: "On Saturday, the 7th of Rajeb, I encamped two or three kos above Oudh, at the junc­tion of the Gogra and Saru. Till that day, Sheikh Bayezīd had kept his station, not far from* Oudh, on the other side of the Saru. ...

I halted some days in this station, for the purpose of settling the affairs of Oudh and the neighbouring country, and for making the necessary arrangements. ... On Thursday, the 12th, I mounted, to set off on a hunting party." [april 2]

Babur could never have built a mosque with three domes from scratch or ruins in less than 4,5 months (april 2 till august 18)!! All he could have done was desecrating (breaking idols, killing cows etc.), damaging (removing paintings and ancient inscriptions) and repair it as a new symbol of the might of Islam.

The Baburnama misses the data concerning 2 april to 18 september 1528 = great part of AH 934 and 3 days of AH 935. AH 935 = 15 september 1529 to 5 september 1529.

Mir Baqi may be the Amir or Mir called Baqi Beg Tashkandi. But I have to check this.

Mir Baqi Inscription

1. Ba farmuda-i-Shah Babur ki adilsash Bama'ist ta kakh-i-gardun mulaqi

2. Banaa kard in mubhit-i-qudsiyaan Amir-i-sa'adat-nishaan Mir Baqi

3. Bavad khair baaqi! chu saal-i-banaish Iyaan shud ki guftam, Bavad khair baaqi!

The translation:

1. By the command of the Emperor Babur whose justice is an edifice reaching up to the very height of the heavens,

2. The good-hearted Mir Baqi built this alighting place of angels;

3. Bavad khair baqi! (May this goodness last forever!) (Beveridge 1921)

The number AH 935 (= 1528 CE) does not literally appear in the inscription. Beveridge gets that number by adding up the numerical values in the phrase "Bavad khair baqi" to 935. The letters forming it by their numerical values represent the number 935, thus:

B=2, v=6, d=4 total 12

Kh=600, ai=10, r=200 total 810

B=2, a=1, q=100 i=10 total 113

Total 935 (Beveridge 1921)

Thus the inscription may date from 15 to 18 september 1528 to correspond to the information of the missing pages of the Baburnama and also corresponding to AH 935. The habit is to make inscriptions at the end of a construction or repairing project. This means that Babur visited or stormed into Ayodhya in AH 934 in the first half of 2 april to 15 september 1528. The temple must have been desecrated closer to 2 april 1528 in order to do the (minor) vandalizing changes to finish at the date of 15 to 18 september for the inscription and end of this episode in the Baburnama.


- If the Mir Baqi inscription is genuine, which it seems it is, the governor Mir Baqi clearly claims to have acted according to the orders of Babur with reference to the three-domed structure functioning as a temple.

- He was ordered to construct a lofty edifice at that place, a 'place of angels', which points to a mosque.

- If he had to construct a lofty edifice on that holy spot, Ghazi Babur must have seen the three-domed temple and he had planned its desecration and conversion for creating a lofty structure adapted to Muslim flavour to show his triumph over locals = Hindus. This he meant with settling affairs in Awadh in his biography.

- That there was hardly time to construct a lofty edifice, not even on top of an harrassed structure, indicates that the three-domed structure functioning as a temple could only be converted with minor cosmetical changes into a lofty edifice worth the command of Babur. In his own eyes he succeeded in this, that he proudly mentions that this lofty edifice was an alighting place of angels. (this points at the structure equalling in status to that of mosques)

- the new situation of the three-domed struture through Mir Baqi on the command of Babur, was that it had stopped to function as a Hindu temple (at that time). This was the main aim, besides showing the non-Muslims the triumph of Islam over them. Desecrating and converting was ment to cause a permanent situation.

- then it must have been regained by Hindus when foreigner Humayun, Babur's son, was ousted from India by India-born Sher Shah Suri whose army included some Hindu generals. (that is perhaps also a reason why there is no reference in the Tulasi Ramacharitamanasa, because in his time the structure must have been regained by Hindus)

- the structure had to function as a mosque as per Padishahi order during Aurangzeb. Thus, the recaptured three-domed structure, was again desecrated by Mughals. See below.

Origin of the name

Why this three-domed structure was called Baburi Masjid? In itself it doesn't make sense, as it possibly did not function (perhaps at all, but sure not for long) as Masjid during Babur's reign. Neither can we trace this name in the inscription. It must have been attached to the structure somewhere during some later Mughal ruler, at least after Akbar. That fact and that the structure was recaptured by Hindus shortly after Babur's act, is why the court works of Akbar's historians are silent about this.

The name Masjid-i Janamsthan makes sense, as that is the literal translation for Muslims to understand the functional name (Rama)Janmasthana Mandira. If this Masjid(-i Janamsthan) was considered by Mir Baqi now to belong to the new political and religious 'overlord' of the Lord of the Hindus, the name was considered as Baburi Masjid(-i Janamsthan). But this last is just a suggestion.


Babur is directly responsible for the damaging of the former Hindu temple. If he is not directly responsible for converting the damaged temple into a 'place of angels', he indeed is indirectly, having given orders, as per Mir Baqi's inscription. The former temple was, due to shortage of time, cosmetically converted in such a way that most icons of the presence of a Hindu temple were erased. And the temple was stopped from being used by Hindus, as was the case with most temples or structures.

This situation must have been temporarily, as shortly hereafter the political situation had drastically changed. The foreign Mughal ruler had been ousted from the country by local Pathan and Hindu forces. Hindus must have reclaimed the possession of the structure, and possibly the Mir Baqi inscription was removed in this time.

The situation was changed again during Aurangzeb, as he was clearly an iconoclast. Joseph Tiefenthaler, an Austrian Jesuit priest who stayed in Awadh in 1766-1771 (just 50 years after the death of Aurangzeb) states in his History and Geography of India: "The Emperor Aurangzeb destroyed a fortress called Ramkot and built at the same place a Muhammedan temple with three domes. Others say it has been built by Babar. one can see 14 columns made of black stone 5 span in height which occupy the site of the fortress. 12 of these columns now support the inside arcades of the mosque."

Tiefenthaler's source is from hear-say, but connects both Babur and Aurangzeb to the damaging of the temple and Ramkot fort. In that case, he didn't see the Mir Baqi inscription, if it was still there, be because his source forgot to tell him. Or it was already removed earlier.

Aurangzeb's daughter has this to confirm the functioning of the temple as mosque on Aurangzeb's order: "... the mosques built on the basis of the king's orders (ba farman-i Badshahi) have not been exempted from the offering of the namaz and the reading of the Khutba [therein]. The places of worship of the Hindus situated at Mathura, Banaras and Awadh, etc., in which the Hindus (kufar) have great faith - the place of the birthplace of Kanhaiya, the place of Rasoi Sita, the place of Hanuman, who, according to the Hindus, was seated by Ram Chandra over there after the conquest of Lanka - were all demolished for the strength of Islam, and at all these places

mosques have been constructed. These mosques have not been exempted from juma and jamiat (Friday prayers). Rather it is obligatory that no idol worship should be performed over there and the sound of the conch shell should not reach the ear of the Muslims ..."

Mirza Jan: Hadiqa-i Shahada, 1856, Lucknow, pp. 4-7 (reproducing Nasihat-i Bist-o-Panjam Az Chahal Nisaih Bahadur Shahi of 1816 AD, which contain 25 of the Chahal Nasaih ("Forty Advices") of Aurangzeb's granddaughter.)

Mirza Jan who claims in his Hadiqa-i Shahada to have gone through various old sources says in his own account also that Babur was involved in the damaging and conversion of the Ram temple in Ayodhya: "The past Sultans encouraged the propagation and glorification of Islam and crushed the forces of the unbelievers (kufar), the Hindus. Similarly, Faizabad and Awadh were also purged of this mean practice [of kufr]. This [Awadh] was a great worshipping centre and the capital of [the kingdom of] Rama's father. Where there was a large temple, a big mosque was constructed and where there was a small mandaf, there a small kanati masjid was constructed.

The temple of Janmasthan was the original birthplace (masqat) of Ram, adjacent to which is Sita Ki Rasoi, Sita being the name of his wife. Hence at that site, a lofty (sarbaland) mosque has been built by Babar Badshah under the guidance of Musa Ashikan ... That mosque is till date popularly known as Sita Ki Rasoi..."

Here Mirza Jan claims that Babar indeed wanted to built a mosque on the holy spot.

Anyway, between Aurangzeb and Vajid Ali Shah, Hindus again were in charge of the recaptured structure, that they had to face threads again. See the Hanumangarhi incident.

Thus, Ghazi Babur was responsible for desecrating and damaging the temple and turning it into a 'place of angels', even though it was an illegal mosque, to show his triumph over the Kafirs. The drugs-addicted (even after his Jihad against Sanga), alcohol-using and homosexual Babur was never an exemplary Muslim, but he certainly was a Ghazi. A title he clearly mentions in his autobiography. Just like all the Mughals, except Aurangzeb who was both. Now, a Ghazi is not a tourist to Hindu temples, he is an imitator of the first major Ghazi, Mahmud Ghaznavi. Psec 'eminent historians' cannot whitewash this identity and role Babur played in Ayodhya.

Aurangzeb thereafter was responsible for turning a recaptured, refunctioning temple into a mosque again.

The Vishnu Hari Rama temple, first built in the 12th century, was repeatedly desecrated and damaged, at least clearly by Qutbuddin/Shihabuddin (demolishion superstructure), Mir Baqi/Babur (conversion three-domed temple to a 'place of angels') and Aurangzeb (conversion again to a functioning mosque).

Hereafter Hindus retook the structure and had many disputes and threads to face. This is all well documented and known.
Excellent Ishwa. Makes clear the chronology and gives proper refs. Can we atleast now get a blog for you? 8)

So the sequence appears to be that Qutubuddin Aibek demolished the entrance/shikara and Babar had the remaining three domes(mandapas) converted to the masjid configuration and Aurangazeb insitituted mosque status to it.
Thank you, Ramana. The start of the blog is ok now. As I am still producing more posts than I thought.

I believe that Qutbuddin demolished perhaps the entrance, but for sure the amalaka/shikhara of the Vishnu Hari = Rama Mandira.

Babur didn't construct the three domes, that was repaired by Hindu masons in the Sultanate period. Babur could never have built a mosque from scratch or ruins, neither the three domes in less than 4,5 months (april 2 till august 18)!! He had also to fight Pathans and Hindus within this period before he could lay his destructive hands on the temple.

All he could have done was desecrating (breaking idols, killing cows etc.), damaging (removing paintings and ancient inscriptions) and repair it as a new symbol of the might of Islam.

The three domes belong to one of the classic type of Hindu domes: the non-bulbous stupa-like, semi-circular dome. In this case a Triratna Stupin or triple dome variant. With of course the standard Padmapatra on top with the integral Hindu spire.

There are two possibilities for the period of reparations:

1. It is possible that Jayacchandra Gahadavala's son Harishchandra had ordered for the reparation and three-domed structure. Despite the loss and death of Jayachandra and the destructions following this defeat, Qutbuddin couldn't control the Gahadavala kingdom completely. His power was not paramount.

Harishchandra was still in charge in 1197 of the former kingdom, with Kannauj, Jaunpur and Mirzapur, and which must have included Ayodhya too. Kannauj remained under a Hindu raja till Adakamalla, successor to Harishchandra. These successors to Jayachandra could retain their kingdom due to paying tribute. Till Iyaltimish defeated the independent powers (through his son Nasiruddin Mahmud)

From: Sculptures of Ganga-Yamuna Valley by M.M. Mukhyopadhyaya, p. 10-11.

Between Iyaltimish and Timur's raid is a turbulent subperiod, in which either Ayodhya may or may not have been harrassed. It was Balban who divided the former Kannauj kingdom in more parts to crush the many war-looking independant Hindu forces. But no Sultanate court writer mentions Ayodhya. I have not studied this period deeply w.r.t. Ayodhya.

2. The reparations were done shortly after 1398 when Timur crushed the Delhi Sultanate power. I believe that Ayodhya was definitely out of reach and scope of the weak Delhi Sultans in the period of 1398 to Lodi times shortly before Babur's raid.

Some scholars say that the style of architecture of the three domes resembles that of the 14th century, thus of Tughluq one. But, since I have discovered that most Delhi Sultanate period claims of construction are based upon loose sand, and at least the masons were all Hindu, this clearly goes contrary to attributing it to a creation of Muslims. Whether the domes were rebuilt in the 13th or 14th century doesn't make any difference. It is in the indigenous style, in this case of the Gangetic, by indigenous masons.

The standard works have a standard consensus that every North Indian secular or religious structure standing and thus not destroyed during the Sultanate period, was a Muslim creation from scatch or one by major conversion. This is, as I have demonstrated many times, completely wrong.
Below is a summary of the ASI research results in their own words with my comments.

Archaeological Survey of India

Summary of Results, Pages No. 268-272 (PDF, pp. 20-25)

Period V (Post-Gupta Rajput level 7th to 10th century)

During the Post-Gupta-Rajput period (seventh to tenth century A.D.), too the site has witnessed structural activity mainly constructed of burnt bricks. However, among the exposed structures, there stands a circular brick shrine which speaks of its functional utility for the first time. To recapitulate quickly, exteriorly on plan, it is circular whereas internally squarish with an entrance from the east. Though the structure is damaged, the northern wall still retains a provision for pranala, i.e, waterchute which is distinct feature of contemporary temples already known from the Ganga-Yamuna plain. p. 21

COMMENT: This ancient shrine, built during the Gurjara Pratihara period must have been severely damaged by Mahmud Ghaznavi around 1016, when he had defeated Rajyapala Pratihara of Kanyakubja.

Period VI (Early Medieval-Rajput level 10th to 12th century)

1. Subsequently, during the early medieval period (eleventh-twelfth century A.D.) a huge structure, nearly 50 m in north-south orientation was constructed which seems to have been short lived, as only four of the fifty pillar bases exposed during the excavation belong to this level with a brick crush floor. p. 21-22

COMMENT: This was the older Rathor temple, during the reign of the Kanyakubja Rashtrakutas, which was demolished by a Ghaznavid, the best candidate is Salar Masud around 1035.

2. On the remains of the above structure was constructed a massive structure with at least three structural phases and three successive floors attached with it.

The architectural members of the earlier short lived massive structure with stencil cut foliage pattern and other decorative motifs were reused in the construction of the monumental structure having a huge pillared hall (or two halls) which is different from residential structures, providing sufficient evidence of a construction of public usage which remained under existence for a long time during the period VII.
p. 22

COMMENT: This is the old Vishnu Hari temple, which as per Vishnu Hari inscription was built by the local ruler Meghasuta during the reign of Govindrachandra Gahadavala (1114-1154).

The at least three structural phases and three successive floors point to at least two destructions and reconstructions in the next period. (Qutbuddin Aibak, Iyaltimish/Balban and Firuz Shah?)

Period VII (Medieval-Sultanate level 12th to 16th century)

… a construction of public usage which remained under existence for a long time during the period VII.

It was over the top of this construction during the early sixteenth century, the disputed structure was constructed directly resting over it.
p. 22

COMMENT: The first sentence has to do with the major parts of the structure of the Vishnu Hari temple which survived for the whole Sultanate period. The superstructure was demolished by Qutbuddin Aibak in 1194.

The second sentence has to do with the repairs and rebuilding of the roof with the triple stupa-like semi-circular dome of the newly repaired Vishnu Hari temple, possibly during Harishchandra Gahadavala and/or his successor Adakamalla. Both were in possession of the Gahadavala kingdom after Jayachandra while paying tribute. It is also possible that it was repaired (again?) after Timur's raid of Delhi, when many rulers became independent.

The first destruction, a major one, must have been occurred through Qutbuddin Aibak. The reconstruction was done by Harishchandra or Adakamalla. (2nd successive floor)

The second one was perhaps done by Iyaltimish or Balban. (3rd successive floor)

The third one was most likely in Tughluq time, perhaps through Firuz Shah, who was a iconoclast. (fourth successive floor)

After his death Timur destroyed Delhi. And Ayodhya became independant. (The glazed wares at the end of period VII point to a new influence, the Lodis)

Terracotta lamps from the various trenches and found in a group in the levels of Periods VII in trench G2 are associated with the structural phase.

In the last phase of the period VII glazed ware sherds make their appearance and continue in the succeeding levels of the next periods … .
p. 22-23

COMMENT: Perhaps the glazed wares are accessed from trade with areas controlled by the Lodi Pathans.

Period VIII (Mughal level 16th to 18th century)

There is sufficient proof of existence of a massive and monumental structure having a minimum dimension of 50 x 30 m in north-south and east-west directions respectively just below the disputed structure. p. 22

COMMENT: The structure below the disputed one points to the demolished huge Rashtrakuta and parts of the demolished massive Gahadavala temple built on top of that.

The disputed structure itself is the remnant of the repaired massive and monumental new Vishnu Hari temple with the triple dome. This structure was desecrated, damaged and converted into a structure worth the name of 'an alighted place of angels' (meaning a mosque), as the inscription of Mir Baqi puts it.

In the last phase of the period VII glazed ware sherds make their appearance and continue in the succeeding levels of the next periods where they are accompanied by glazed tiles which were probably used in the original construction of the disputed structure. p. 22

COMMENT: Possibly, the glazed tiles point to the appearance of Babur, Mir Baqi and Ashikan.

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