January 27, 2024

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55 Hindu deity sculptures found inside Gyanvapi complex: ASI survey report on mosque | Lucknow News

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A total of 55 stone sculptures were found in the Gyanvapi mosque complex during the survey conducted by the Archaeological Survey of India, including 15 “Shiva linga”, three sculptures of “Vishnu”, three of “Ganesha”, two of “Nandi”, two of “Krishna”, and and five of “Hanuman”, the ASI report states.

The ASI, tasked by the Varanasi district court to ascertain whether the mosque was “constructed over a pre-existing structure of a Hindu temple”, has concluded that a temple “appears to have been destroyed in the 17th century, during the reign of Aurangzeb and part of it… modified and reused in the existing structure”. The ASI report — it’s in four volumes — was made public Thursday after copies of it were handed over to Hindu and Muslim litigants by the court.

As per Volume 3, one “Makara” stone sculpture, one “Dwarpala”, one “Apasmara Purusha”, one “Votive shrine”, 14 “fragments”, and seven “miscellaneous” stone sculptures were also found during the ASI survey.

A total of 259 “stone objects” were found, including the 55 stone sculptures, 21 household materials, five “inscribed slabs” and 176 “architectural members”. A total of 27 terracotta objects, 23 terracotta figurines (two of gods and goddesses, 18 human figurines and three animal figurines) were also found and studied during the survey, states the report.

A total of 113 metal objects, and 93 coins — including 40 of the East India Company, 21 Victoria Queen coins and three Shah Alam Badshah-II coins — were found and studied during the survey. All objects recovered during the survey were later handed over to the Varanasi district administration, which has stored them. The report states one of the sculptures of Krishna is made of sandstone and belongs to the late medieval period. It was found in the eastern side of cellar S2, and its dimensions are: height 15 cm, width 8 cm, and thickness 5 cm.

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Its description reads: “The extant part depicts a headless male deity. Both the hands are broken, but the right hand appears to be raised. The left hand appears to go over the body. The right leg is extant above the knee. The left leg is broken at the hip. Based on the posture and iconographic features, it appears to be an image of Lord Krishna. He is depicted wearing necklace, yajnopavita and dhoti.” It is in “good” condition.

Another sculpture listed in the report of Hanuman, made of marble. Its date/period is written as “modern”, and was located in the northwest side. Its measuresments are: height 21.5 cm, width 16 cm, and thickness 5 cm. Its description reads: “The extant part depicts the bottom half of a sculpture of Hanuman. The left leg bent at the knee is placed on a rock. The right leg is firmly planted on the ground.” Its in “good” condition.

A “shiva linga” listed in the report is made of sandstone, its date/period is modern, and location was the “western chamber”. Its description says: “A broken piece of a cylindrical stone object with convex top, most probably a shiva linga. It is broken at the base and some chipping marks can be seen on the top and side.” Its height is 6.5 cm, and diameter 3.5 cm. The condition is “good”.

Another sculpture of “Vishnu” is made of sandstone, and its date/period is written as early medieval. Its description reads: “Broken part of a back slab (parikara) of a Brahminical image. The extant part exhibits the image of four-handed crowned and bejeweled Vishnu seated in ardhyaparyankasana posture. The upper right hand holds the gada, the lower hand is broken at the palm. The upper hand has a chakra and lower left hand has shankha. Flying vidhyadhara couple is seen on the top and a standing attendant figure to the extreme left. His right hand is raised above the head. Right leg is bent at the knee and upraised.” The dimensions are: height 27 cm, width 17 cm, and thickness 15 cm; and its condition is “good”.

On a sculpture of Ganesha, it states: “The extant part depicts the crowned head of Ganesha. The trunk is turned to the right. The eyes are visible. Part of the left trunk is also extant.” Its condition is “good”. This was found in the western side of cellar S2 and is listed as a “late medieval”. Made of marble, its dimensions are: height 12 cm, width 8 cm, and thickness 5 cm.

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