The Varanasi Heritage Dossier/Jnanavapi Mosque

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Detailed description of each heritage Site - Adi Vishvanatha, Vishvanatha, Vishalakshi Kshetra


Jnanavapi Mosque

Location[edit]

25º 18.657’N and 83º 00.598’E

Exact location on a map[edit]

Jnanavapi

Area[edit]

0.07ha

Historical/cultural/natural significance[edit]

The Jnanavapi (Gyanavapi), or as called Aurangzeb Masjid is 30m north of the present Vishvanatha (Golden) temple. This can be approached either from the Dashashvamedha area following the Vishvanatha Lane or from Bansphatak on the Godaulia-Chauk Road. After demolishing the third site of Vishvanatha temple in 1669, Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb ordered its conversion into a mosque, while leaving the portion of the rear as a warning and memory. The mosque is on a high raised platform with two tall octagonal minarets on the both sides. On every Friday a considerable number of Muslims assemble here to offer prayer (namaz).

6.Authenticity (as according to article 24 to 34 of operational guidelines): The rear portion of the mosque clearly reveals the ruined part of the ancient temple even today. Its most interesting feature is a row and series of Hindu columns with beautiful architectural carving in the front elevation. This reminds the visitor of the grandeur, large dimensions and of fantastic craftsmanship of the original Hindu temple. The high pillars, moreover, on its northern face, have been transferred from the same spacious temple. James Prinsep (1831) has reconstructed the plan of the Hindu temple and by superimposing the ground dimension of the present mosque, explained the 9-chambers octagonal structure of the temple. Some Muslim scholars opine that this was originally a ruined Buddhist monastery and declared it as the centre of the Din-e-Ilahi, a religious idea of universality inspired by the Mughal Emperor Akbar (1556-1605). It was used as a prayer ground by the later emperors.

=== Description === (as under columns 5 and 6) 8.History and development As No. 5 above.

Present state of conservation[edit]

There is no such specific organisation to take care of preservation and conservation.

Specific measures being taken for conserving the specific property[edit]

No specific measures are taken to conserve and preserve the area.

Ownership[edit]

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.