The Varanasi Heritage Dossier/Varanasi/Kashi: Notable Dates in History

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Ancient Period, BCE 1000 – CE 1000. BCE / B.C.[edit]

  • 800 500: Existence of urban settlements in Raj Ghat as archaeologically evident.
  • 8th cent. : Birth of Parshvanatha, the 23rd Jaina Tirthankara.
  • 7th cent. : Hermitage of sage Kapila at Sivalaya/ Sivala Ghat
  • 6th 4th cent.: Annexation of Kashi to Koshala, Magadha and Kaushambi; the rule of Nanda
  • 599 527: Influence of Mahavira, the 24th Jain Tirthankara.
  • 528 : First sermon of the Buddha at Sarnath, “Turning the Wheel of Law”, Dhammacakraparavartana Sutta.
  • 535 485: Several visits and stay of the Buddha at Sarnath, and preached the following Suttas: Panca, Paccetana, Dopasa, Samaya, Katuvijaya, critique of Parayana’s Mettayanjah, and Dhammadinna.
  • 5th cent. :Sanskrit Grammarian Panini composed the Asthadhyayi.
  • 272 232 : Emperor Ashoka, an great Mauryan king ruled the country.
  • 240 : Emperor Ashoka paid a visit to the city.
  • 2nd cent.: The rule of Pushyamitra, king of Shunga dynasty.
  • ca 81: The rule of Kanishka over Varanasi.
  • ca 170: The rule of Kushana, later replaced by King Bharashiva of Naga dynasty who performed Ten horse sacrifice at Dashashvamedha Ghat.
  • 3rd cent.: Establishment of the Buddhist township of Ishipattana, later called Sarnath.
  • ca 275: The rule of the king Nava of Kaushambi over Kashi.
  • 4th cent. : Kashi and Koshala both fell the victim of Magadha under Candra Gupta Maurya I (ca 305 325) ; Samudragupta (c. 330 370) performed horse sacrifice at Dashashvamedha Ghat.
  • ca 405 : Fa Hein, the Chinese pilgrim, visited the city.
  • 455 467: The rule of Skandagupta Vikramaditya, who defeated the Hunas in 456.
  • 467 472: The rule of Purugupta, a brother of Skandagupta and follower of Buddhism.
  • 473 477: Kumaragupta II, son of Narasimhagupta, ruled the city.
  • 477 495: The rule of Buddhagupta, a Buddhist king.
  • 500 508 : Building of the Vishveshvara (Vishvanatha) temple (perhaps for the first time) in the reign of Vainya Gupta, the Saivite king.
  • 510 544: The rule of Bhanugupta, who defeated the invader Hunas in 530.
  • 6th cent : Opening of Virasaiva monastery, Jangamabadi Math as the headquarters.
  • 7th cent. : The rule of Harsha (ca 606 648)
  • ca 635 : Hsuan tsang, the Chinese pilgrim, visited the city, in the reign of Harsha.
  • 648 673: The rule of Adityasen, the king of Magadha
  • 725 752: The rule of Yashovarman of Kannauja.
  • 752 794: The rule of Dharmapala, a king of Pala dynasty of Bengal.
  • 8th cent.: Shankaracarya stayed in Kashi (first came in ca 716), composed the Brahmasutra Bhasya (7.1), and Sankaradigvijaya (6.81 84) and built
  • Tilabhandeshvara temple
  • mid to late 9th cent.: The rule of the Gurjara Pratiharas.
  • 950 1000: Dhanga, of Jejakabhukti, controlled Kashi.

Medieval Period, CE 1000 – 1750.[edit]

  • 1016 1137: Visit and stay of Ramanujacarya.
  • 1018: The invasion of Mahamud of Ghazni and defeat of Gurjara Pratiharas.
  • ca 1021 1025: Al Biruni, who came with Mahmud of Ghazni, visited the city and studied
  • Sanskrit.
  • 1033: Ahmad Nialtgin plundered the city and demolished many Hindu temples.
  • 1030 1041: The rule of Gangeyadeva Kalacuri
  • 1041 1072: Karnadeva, son of Gangeyadeva, ruled the City and built Karnameru temple.
  • 1090 1100: The rule of Candradeva, foundation of Gahadavala dynasty and Varanasi as
  • their capital.
  • 1100 1114: The rule of Madanapala
  • 1114 54: The reign of Gahadavala King Govindacandra.
  • 1154 1170: The rule of Gahadavala king Vijayacandra, son of Govindacandra.
  • 1170 1194: The rule of Gahadavala king Jayacandra, who was killed by Shahabuddin
  • Ghori in 1194.
  • 1194: Qutb uddin Aibak (Ahmed Bin Muhammad) demolished the Vishveshvara and Avimukteshvara temples, and Vishnu temple – converted into Dhai Kangura Mosque.
  • 1197: The second invasion by Qutb uddin Aibak.
  • 1206 1210: The Sultanate rule of Qutb uddin Aibak, having Delhi as capital.
  • 1226: Banaras came under the control of Iltutamish (1210 1236).
  • ca 1230: Reconstruction of the Vishveshvara temple.
  • 1248: Invasion of Muhammad Ghori, Shahabuddin.
  • 13th cent.: Alauddin Khilzi (r 1296 1316) demolished one thousand temples.
  • 1294: Saint Jnaneshvara visited the city.
  • 1296: Construction of Padmeshvara temple by Svami Padmananda.
  • 1302: Construction of the temple of Manikarnikeshvara by noble man Vireshvara.
  • 1320: Visit of Jinaprabha Suri, a Jaina saint.
  • 1325 1351: Rule of Muhammad Shah Tughlaq
  • 1353: Brahmins protested against Firoz Shah Tughlaq for Zazia tax, but later they paid it.
  • 1374 5: Firoz shah Tughlaq (r 1351 1388) demolished many temples, including
  • destruction of Bakri Kunda temple and built nearby Fakharuddin Alawi Dargah.
  • 1299 1411: The life of Ramananda, who lived and taught at Pancaganga Ghat, and
  • founded a subdivision of Vaishnavism.
  • 1393 1518: The life of Raidasa/ Ravidasa, a cobbler saint, born in Sirakarahia, and was a disciple of Ramananda.
  • 1440 1518: The life of Kabir, a great social reformer, saint and poet, who preached Neo Vaishnavism.
  • 1436 1458: The rule of Mahmud Shah Tughlaq, who also destroyed many Hindu temple.
  • 1447 8: By the order of Mahmud Shah Tughlaq destruction of the grand temple of Padmeshvara, and Vishveshvara where late built Razia Bibi mosque.
  • 1460: Vacaspati Mishra composed the Tirthacintamani.
  • 1473: The Sikh Guru, Nanaka (1469 1539) visit and stay at Guruba, and later
  • religious discourses with Pandits of Banaras.
  • 1489 1517: The reign of Sikandar Lodi, a bigoted Muslim, who destroyed most of the temples of Banaras.
  • 1479 1531: Vallabhacarya, a great saint of Krishna devotion, was living here.
  • 1485 1533: Caitanya, a great saint of Krishna devotion, lived here.
  • 1494: Sikandar Lodi invaded the city anf plundered the Hindu temples.
  • 1529: Mughal king Babur invaded the city.
  • 1532: Mughal king Humayun paid visit
  • 1535: Afghan king Shershah Suri subjugated the city together with Chunar fort.
  • 1538: Humayun took shelter at Chaukhandi (Sarnath), after defeat by Shershah Suri.
  • 1540 1623: Madhusudana Sarasvati lived at Causatthi Ghat.
  • 1545 1550: Narayana Bhatta composed the Tristhalisetu.
  • 1555: Establishment of a mint by Ibrahim Shah Suri.
  • 1556: The Governor of Varanasi, Abdul Rahima Khanekhana, visited the city.
  • 1559: Zaman Shah, a military general of Akbar, conquered the city and rebelled against his master.
  • 1567: Emperor Abkar (1556 1605) defeated Jayacandra, king of Kashi, and partly
  • plundered the city and established a mint.
  • 1582 1623: Tulasi (1547 1623), the sage poet of Rama devotion, lived here and
  • composed his works, and died at the bank of the Ganga at Asi Ghat.
  • 1583 1591: Visit of Ralph Fitch, an English traveller.
  • 1584 85: Restoration and repairing of the Vishveshvara temple by Todaramala
  • (Raghunatha Pandita!), a famous minister of Akbar.
  • 1588 89: Construction of Chaukhandi Stupa at Sarnath by Gobardhana, as ordered by King Akbar.
  • 1589: Building Draupadi Kunda at Sivapur (NE part of city) by Govinda Dasa, with the permission of Akbar.
  • 16th cent.: Composition of Kashi Rahasya, and Kashi Kedara Mahatmya.
  • 1600: Construction of Mana Mandira Ghat and nearby temples by Raja Mana Singh of Jaipur (Rajasthan).
  • 1611: Bundi King, Surjana Singh built a palace and a Ghat; he died here in 1641.
  • 1620: Mitra Mishra composed Viramitrodaya.
  • 1623: Plague in the city; Tulasi and Masdhusudana Sarasvati died. Cakrapuskarini Kunda (Manikarnika) was built by Narayana Dasa, son of
  • Narenu Ravata (a minister of king Vasudeva).
  • 1627 1755: Saint Kina Rama, the founder of Aghora cult of Tantra and Saktism, lived and died in Banaras.
  • 1628: Renovation of Jnanavapi by Baija Baie, the Queen of Gwalior.
  • 1630: Renovation and reconstruction of Pishacamocana Kunda by Gopala Shahu.
  • 1632: Haidar Begh, by the order of Mughal Emperor Shahjahan (1628 1657),
  • demolished about100 temples, newly constructed or under construction.
  • 1642: Restoration and reconstruction of the temple of Veni Madhava by Jai Singh,
  • King of Jaipur; the temple was defaced and destroyed in 1194 by Aibak.
  • 1656 57: Mughal king Dara Shikoh translated the Upanishadas in Persian with the help of 150 Pandits of Varanasi.
  • 1658 59: City came under the rule of Emperor Aurangzeb (1658 1707), a bigoted Muslim, who demolished the temple of Krittivasheshvara and built a temple over the debris.
  • 1660: Visit of Francois Bernier, a French scholar and medical doctor.
  • 1664: The battle at Jnanavapi between the Dashanami Naga ascetics and the army of Aurangazeb.
  • 1665: December 12 13, visit of Jean Baptiste Tavernier, a French Jeweller and traveller.
  • 1666: Shivaji found refuge with the Brahmins of the city (near Pancaganga Ghat) on his flight from the imperial court of Aurangazeb.
  • 1669: Vishveshvara temple demolished and converted into mosque by the order of
  • Emperor Aurangazeb.
  • 1673: Veni/Vindu Madhava temple (at Pancaganga Ghat) demolished and converted into mosque by the order of Aurangazeb.
  • 1697: King Savai Jai Singh of Jaipur built a Hindu Observatory at Mana Mandira Ghat.
  • 1669: King Savai Jai Singh of Jaipur built a Rama temple at Pancaganga Ghat.
  • 17th cent.: Guru Tegh Bahadur, the 9th Guru of the Sikhs, visited the city; also Pandit Jagannatha composed the Ganga Lahari.
  • 1712: The rule of Jahandara Shah, son of Bahadur Shah I.
  • 1719: Emperor Muhammad Shah together with Ghazipur and Jaunpur given Varanasi to the Nawab of Avadh, Murtaja Khan, who became the first Nawab ruler.
  • 1725: Establishment of Kashi Raj (kingship) by Manasa Ram as an independent estate. Baji Rao Peshva I built Annapurna Temple.
  • 1734: End of the rule of Nawab of Avadh (1719 1734); the last in charge Nawab was Mir Rustam Ali, of whose honour the Ghat is named as Mir Ghat.
  • 1734: Sheikh Ali Hazim (1697 1766), a great Sufi saint, philosopher and Persian poet from Iran, visited the city and settled here.
  • 1739: Balwant Singh (1738 1770), son of Mansa Ram, received a certificate for kingship of Kashi from Muhammad Shah, the Emperor at Delhi.
  • 1740 42: Death of Mansa Ram (1740); and construction of the fort at Gangapur.

The Modern & British Period, 1750 – 1947[edit]

  • 1750 52: The Fort at Ramanagar was made by Balwant Singh, who shifted the
  • headquarters from Gangapur to Ramanagar.
  • 1755: A new Vindu Madhav temple was built by a Maharashtrian king. Repairing and construction of Kardama Kupa, near Kardameshvara temple (village Kandawa) by queen Rani Bhavani of Natore (Bengal).
  • 1756: Repairing and construction of Gandharva Sagara, a water pool, at Bhimacandi by
  • queen Rani Bhavani of Natore (Bengal).
  • 1764: The East India Company gained control over the city.
  • 1766: Death of Sheikh Ali Hazim (1697 1766), the Persian poet and philosopher who settled in the city in 1734.
  • 1770: Balwant Singh died (21 August), and Chet Singh ascended to throne on 10 October.
  • 1773: Warren Hastings visited the city.
  • 1775: Cremation site at Manikarnika Ghat constructed. On 21 May Treaty of Faizabad, the sovereignty of Banaras ceded.
  • 1775 76: Ahilyabai, the Queen of Indore, made the present Vishveshvara/ Vishvanath temple.
  • 1781: On 16 August Chet Singh’s conflict with Warren Hastings’ army. On 19 August Hastings flew in female garments. Chet Singh escaped from prison. Later expulsion of Chet Singh by Warren Hastings and end of the autonomy of Banaras; since then Banaras never came under the kings of Ramanagar Fort.
  • 1781 82: Visit of William Hodges, an English artist.
  • 1784: Mirza Jahandar Bakht, son of the last Mughal king, Shah Alam, got refuse here and died at Sivala Ghat in 1788.
  • 1785: Queen Ahilyabai of Indore extended and constructed Dashashvamedha Ghat, and also renovated many temples of Varanasi, including Vishveshvara. Construction of a bridge over the Godaulia drrain at the street going to
  • Visheshvara temple by Dedhamala Ji, known as Dedhasi ka Pula.
  • 1787 95: Jonathan Duncan, as Resident of East India Company of the city.
  • 1791: Foundation of Sanskrit Pathshala (School) by Jonathan Duncan, later became university.
  • 1794: By the order of Babu Jagat Singh, a local zamindar, the Dharmarajika Stupa at Sarnath was demolished in search of bricks for making his neighbourhood in Varanasi city. Banaras came under the British administration on 27 October.
  • 1795: The king of Bhonshala state, Maharashtra, built Bhonshala Ghat.
  • 18th cent.: Construction of Durga temple by queen Rani Bhavani of Natore (Bengal).
  • 1803: Protest by city dwellers against catastrophic rise of prices of grains.
  • 1804: Visit of Lord Valentia, accompanied with Henry Salt, an artist.
  • 1807: Amritrao Vinayaka Peshva built Agnishvara Ghat, late called Raja Ghat.
  • 1809 10: The Hindu Muslim riot for land possession between Jnanavapi mosque and the temple and further religious conflict at Gai Ghat Muhalla.
  • 1810: Introduction of House Tax.
  • 1811: Death of Chet Singh at Gwaliar (10 April). Protest against Ghora gari (‘horse cart’) tax. Construction of Satyanarayana temple by Seth Radhakrishna Baga at
  • Bansphataka, near Adi Visheshvara temple.
  • 1814: King Jayanarayan Ghosal (of Bengal) built Gurudham temple, a Tantric symbol.
  • 1815: Renovation of Trilocana temple by Nathu Bala of Pune.
  • 1816: The Baptist Society opened its mission in the City.
  • 1817: Church of England built a church at Sigra and also at Godaulia.
  • 1816 17: King Jayanarayan Ghosal (of Bengal) opened the first English school, named after him as Jayanarayan School.
  • 1817: Construction of the present temple of Kala Bhairava by Baji Rao Peshva II.
  • 1818: Birth of Maharani Lakshmibai in Peshava Bhavan, in Assi area.
  • 1820: Construction of the building of Collectorate.
  • 1822: James Prinsep (1799 1840) made the first census and map of the city.
  • 1824: Construction of Shreyansanatha Jain temple at Sarnath.
  • 1824 25: Visit of Bishop Reginald Heber of Calcutta; and Lt. Colonel C. R. Forrest and Capt. Robert Elliot.
  • 1827: The noted Persian poet Mirza Ghalib, visit and stay in the Ghugharali Gali.
  • 1828: Queen Baija Baie of Gwaliar built Jnanavapi Kupa.
  • 1830: Openings of grain market and godowns at Visheshvarganj. Visit of Capt. Robert Elliot.
  • 1832: Visit of Emma Roberts.
  • 1835: Enthronement of Ishvari Nayayan Singh as king of Kashi, who died in 1899.
  • 1839: Vishveshvara temple was gilded by Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Kashmir.
  • 1841: Samarajeshvara Siva (Nepalese) temple at Lalita Ghat was built.
  • 1843: Foundation of Ranavira Sanskrit School.
  • 1845: Foundation of Marwari Hindu Hospital.
  • 1850 85: Life of the founder of the modern Hindi, Bhartendu Harishachandra.
  • 1851: “Kali Andhi” (Black Storm) in the city.
  • 1852: Gauraiya Shahi protest under the leadership of Bhauji and Visheshvar Jani, to stop breaking City gates for making roads; however the 12 gates (phatakas) demolished.
  • 1853: The main building of Sanskrit University built in Gothic style.
  • 1855: Wajid Ali Shah visited the city.
  • 1857: The Mutiny.
  • 1860: Devasting fire in ‘Purani Chauk’.
  • 1862: Opening of rail link between Mughalsarai and Varanasi.
  • 1866: Establishment and organisation of Municipal Board.
  • 1867: Toll tax introduced. Visit of Louis Rousselet, a Frenchman.
  • 1868: Visit of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, a great Bengali saint.
  • 1869: On 22 October, Svami Dayananda Sarasvati, the founder of Arya Samaj, visited the city and took part in religious dialogue in Raja Madhava Singh’s garden at Durgakund on 17 November.
  • 1871: Visit of Edward Lear, an English artist traveller.
  • 1872: The first official census of the city.
  • 1875 76: Foundation of the Town Hall.
  • 1877: Prince of Wales, Edward VII, visited the city.
  • 1882: The Nagiri Pracarini Sabha established.
  • 1883: Establishment of the District Board.
  • 1885: Establishment of the Congress Committee. Foundation of Theosophical Society of India.
  • 1887: Opening of rail cum road bridge on the Ganga river, called Duffrin Bridge
  • 1950 this is named as Malviya Bridge.
  • 1888: Foundation of the Church Missionary Society.
  • 1889: Prabhu Narayan Singh became king, who died in 1931.
  • 1891: On 8 April, demolition of the Rama temple in Bhadaini to built Water Pump, which resulted to Ramahalla protest movement. On 15 April the demolished temple was reconstructed within overnight by the city dwellers.
  • 1892: Opening of Water Works at Bhadaini.
  • 1895: Visit of Mark Twain, a philosopher from the U.S.A.
  • 1897 98: The Hindu College (Central Hindu School) founded by Mrs. Anne Besent. Bishop Johnson built churches at Sigra and Godaulia.
  • 1902: Svami Jnanananda established the Bharat Dharma Maha Mandala
  • 1903: Brahmana Guru Carana Shukla of Kanpur built the Rama temple in the Sankatmocana temple.
  • 1905: Foundation of Svadhyaya Mahavidyalaya.
  • 1906: King George V, Prince of Wales, visited the city.
  • 1909: Foundation bill for the Banaras Hindu University passed.
  • 1910: Construction of Svami Bhaskarananda Samadhi at Ananda Bag, at Durgakunda. Establishment of Hindi Sahitya Sammelana.
  • 1912: The first Archaeological Site Museum in India was opened at Sarnath.
  • 1914: Visit of Count Hermann Keyserling, the noted German thinker.
  • 1915: King Rameshvar Singh (Bihar) built Darbhanga Ghat, and Nilakantha temple.
  • 1916: Foundation of the Banaras Hindu University by Lord Hardinge, the Viceroy of India.
  • 1917: The first political speech of Mahatma Gandhi in the Banaras Hindu University. Gandhi also visited the city in 1920, 1921, 1929 and. 1936.
  • 1918: Construction of first cinema theatre at Bansphatak by Baijnath Das Shahpuri,
  • named Madan Theatre. First aeroplane was seen in the city.
  • 1920: Foundation of Kashi Vidyapith by Mahatma Gandhi.
  • 1921: Prince of Wales visited the city.
  • 1928: Electrification introduced All India Conference of Brahmins under the presidentship of Rameshvar Singh, the Brahmin king of Darbhanga. Simon Commission visited the city; citezens’ protest against their meeting.
  • 1930: Purushottam Das Khattri built the Rama Mandira near Annapurna temple. Mahatma Gandhi launched “Civil Disobedience” movement in the city. Hindu Muslim riot.
  • 1931: Subhash Chandra Bose, the great patriot and leader of independence movement, visited the city, and established the Nava Bharata Sabha; he again visited the city in 1940.
  • 1934: Earthquake on 15th January at 14.30hr.
  • 1935: Viceroy Lord Irwin visited the city.
  • 1936: Shivprasad Gupt built the Bharat Mata Mandira (“Mother India Temple”), and
  • on 26 October Mahatma Gandhi inaugurated it. A great number of casualties due to plague.
  • 1941: Establishment of the Dharma Sangha by Svami Hariharananda “Karpatri” Ji.
  • 1942: ‘Quit India’ movement.
  • 1944: ‘Koti Maharudra Yajna’ performed by Karpatri Ji, near Asi Ghat at Nagwa.
  • 1947: On 15 August, India became an independent country.

Post Independence Period, since 1947[edit]

  • 1947: On 15th August India became independent from the British rule.
  • 1948: Flood disaster in the city.
  • 1949: On 15th October, Kashi Raj merged to the Indian Republic; also Varanasi
  • District was formed and the Varanasi City became the district headquarters.
  • 1950: On 26th January India declared as sovereign independent state, “Republic”.
  • 1951: The first “Master Plan of Banaras” (1951 61) prepared, but never implemented.
  • 1958: Conversion of the Sanskrit College into a University. On 16th February, the New Vishvanatha temple (with Narvadeshvara Linga) built
  • at Mir Ghat by Svami Hariharananda “Karpatri Ji”.
  • 1961: Seven corpse incidence (Sata Lasha Kanda): seven pilgrims from South India were killed during boating by giving poison. The Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW), making railway engines, opened.
  • 1966: Construction of Tulasi Manas temple by Krishna Lal Sureka..
  • 1967: Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies opened at Sarnath, which in 1988 declared as Deemed University.
  • 1969: On 27th January the Mrigadayavana Mahavihara Society established at Sarnath.
  • 1976: The Thai Temple at Sarnath opened.
  • 1978: Flood disaster in the city.
  • 1981: The 5th World Sanskrit Conference: 21 – 26 October, held.
  • 1982: The Cleaning Ganga Campaign (Swatch Ganga), a NGO established
  • 1986: Central Ganga Authority (CGA) was formed and the Ganga cleaning programme started.
  • 1990: On 30th December, Kala Cakra Tantra Abhisheka at Sarnath by the 14th Dalai
  • Lama Tenzing Gyatso.
  • 1991: Dharmacakra Indo Japanese Society’s temple opened at Sarnath.
  • 1992: The Udai Pratap P.G. College declared an autonomous institution; Hindu Astronomical Observatory opened in the compound of Sampurnananda Sanskrit University.
  • 1996: The fourth “Master Plan of Varanasi” (1991 2011) prepared and submitted.
  • 1999: Vajra Vidya Samsthan at Sarnath opened on 29 October.
  • 2000: Consecration ceremony of Parshvanath temple, Bhelupura on 17 November. Death of HH.Dr. Vibhuti Narayan Singh, the last king of Banaras, on 25 December.
  • 2001: On 10 July , the Forth “Master Plan of Varanasi” (1991 2011) prepared in 1996, approved by the State Government of Uttar Pradesh.