The Varanasi Heritage Dossier/Ganje-Shahida Mosque at Raj Ghat
Location[edit | edit source]
25º 19.463’ North and 83º 01.622’ East (Ganje-Shahida Mosque).
Exact location on a map[edit | edit source]
The old fort area, west of the Kashi Railway station.
Area[edit | edit source]
0.03ha (the mosque compound)
Historical/cultural/natural significance[edit | edit source]
During the period of Delhi Sultanate, the message of Islam spread by the messengers (pupils) and priests (maulvis). Such people were known for faith healing and kept them always ready to be sacrificed for the good cause to serve the humanity. They were called shahida (martyr). The City of Varanasi if full of such shahidas. Faith seekers and those who feel to have faith healing, invariably of caste, creed or religion visit these places. In such place around forty per cent visitors are from the Hindu community, of course most of them poor and low caste. The Ganje-Shahida mosque is one of such examples. As early as in later part of 19th century, it has already been proved that this mosque was developed at several stages with several alterations using columns, pillars and stone slabs of an ancient temple.
Description and History[edit | edit source]
Situated opposite Kashi Railway Station in the old fort restored in the second half of the 15th century, the Ganje-Shahida Mosque was built entirely from stone taken from temples, probably in the 13th century. In 1857 it was in a state of abandon, but has since been refurbished and returned to its religious function. Towards 1890, probes revealed the existence of a slab floor about 30cm below the present floor-level. In fact, there is a twin pair of mosques, the one more to the south having a higher ceiling and a minbar. It is impossible to tell which is older from an examination of what is now visible. The double hall is oblong with three galleries running parallel to the façade which faces east and is longer than the sides; the structure is of pillars, lintels and slabs. Two mehrab, one for each mosque, are cut into the qibla wall and are not of sandstone with the outer face much longer than high. The ruins subsisting in the 19th century have been poorly restored. The whole building is covered with a terrace reached from stairs added to the south side-wall and there is no dome. The entrance, the lavatories and the surrounding wall are recent additions. Closeby to the Ganje-Shahida Mosque, is a Mazar (tomb) of Sheikh Shah Dainas, who came here to teach the Islamic message of brotherhood in 18th century.
Present state of conservation[edit | edit source]
There is no such specific organisation to take care of preservation and conservation.
Specific measures being taken for conserving the specific property[edit | edit source]
No specific measures are taken to conserve and preserve the area.
Ownership[edit | edit source]
The area is administered and managed by the Sunni (Muslim) Wakhf (or Waquf) Board, a charitable trust, and represented by Mutawalli, a representative, who serves as Priest-cum-Administrator.