Varanasi court orders ASI survey of mosque adjacent to temple

#GS1 Indian History


News info:

  • A local court in Varanasi on Thursday directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a survey of the Gyanvapi Mosque, adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, to find out whether it was a “superimposition, alteration or addition or if there is structural overlapping of any kind, with any other religious structure”.
  • The court also said that all expenses for the archeological survey to be borne by the Uttar Pradesh government. The order was passed by the Court of Civil Judge Senior Division, Varanasi Civil Court.


The petitioner claimed that Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1669 pulled down a portion of the 2000-year-old Kashi Vishwanath temple to build the mosque in its place. The Gyanvyapi Mosque management committee had opposed the petition.

 Gyanvapi mosque

  • The Gyanvapi mosque is located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
  • It is a Jama Masjid located in the heart of Varanasi city. 
  • The foundation of the mosque was laid by the third Mughal emperor Akbar, and Akbar's grandson and Aurangzeb's father Shah Jahan started a madrasah called Imam-e-Sharifat at the site of the mosque.
  • The mosque is named after a well, the Gyan Vapi ("the well of knowledge"), which is located within the mosque precincts.

Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is an attached office in the Ministry of Culture. 

It was set up in 1861 with the primary object of surveying antiquarian remains in this country and their study. 

ASI’s function is to “explore, excavate, conserve, preserve and protect the monuments and sites of National & International Importance.”

Functions and Powers

Archaeological Survey of India is an attached office of the Department of Culture with headquarters in New Delhi. It has 24 regional Circles and 5 Regional Directorates.

Its main functions are:

  • preservation, conservation, and environmental development of centrally protected monuments and sites, including World Heritage Monuments and antiquities
  • maintenance of gardens & development of new gardens surrounding centrally protected monuments and sites
  • exploration and excavation of ancient sites
  • specialized study of inscription and various phases of Indian architecture
  • maintenance of Archaeological site Museums
  • Operation of the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act
  • Research and Training in different areas of Archaeology

ASI is the successor of The Asiatic Society of India. 

It was founded in its current form in 1861 by Sir Alexander Cunningham with the help of the then Viceroy Canning.

Source: The Hindu

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