The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most famous Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, the case of alleged Shivling found in Gyanvapi Masjid of Uttar Pradesh is being given so much importance. Now, the big question that has arisen is that if the alleged Shivling found in Gyanvapi Masjid is real, then what is the Shivling that has been worshipped for the last two hundred and fifty years?
It has been destroyed and rebuilt several times in various Islamic invasions of India. It was demolished for the last time by Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal emperor and build a mosque on the site of the demolished temple.
Original Kashi Vishwanath Shivling
It is highly unlikely that it is the original, as the Kashi Vishwanath Temple was first destroyed in 1194 AD by Qutb Ud din Aibak. It is quite obvious that the current account, that Aurangzeb was unable to destroy the idol, because the idol jumped into a well, is artificial, illogical, and false. ‘
In fact, the temple was also destroyed by the Lodhi dynasty in the 15th century. Just as the Somnath idol could not survive its many destructions, neither could the Kashi Vishwanath temple.
Aurangzeb destroyed many temples according to his needs during his rule and built many. It is not that Aurangzeb only destroyed the temples. He had also set a great example of religious harmony by building ‘Bala Ji Mandir’ on the Mandakini bank of Chitrakoot 328 years ago in the year 1683.
The original Gyanvapi Kashi Vishwanath temple was destroyed by the army sent by Mohammed Ghori in 1194 AD when he defeated the Raja of Kannauj. In 1192 AD, Ghori had been crowned emperor in Delhi after defeating Prithviraj Chauhan.
The temple was rebuilt by a Gujarati merchant during the reign of the Sultan of Delhi (1211-1266AD). It was demolished again during the rule of Hussain Shah Sharqi (1447-1458) or Sikandar Lodhi (1489-1517).
The temple was later built by Raja Man Singh of Jaipur during the rule of Mughal Emperor Akbar, but was boycotted by some Hindus. Raja Todar Mal further renovated the temple with Akbar’s funding on its original site in 1585.
In AD 1669 C., the Gyanvapi Temple was again destroyed due to a firman issued by Emperor Aurangzeb and to ensure that it was not rebuilt, as it was on previous occasions, he built the current “Gyanvapi” Mosque in its place. to Syed Shahabuddin, violation of Islamic law as stated in the Hadith, which states that it is forbidden to build on encroached sites [such as religious sites of other religions].
The remains of the old temple were used for the construction of the mosque which can be seen in the foundation of the mosque, the columns and a chamber at the rear of the mosque visible as part of the temple.
In 1742, the Maratha ruler Malhar Rao Holkar made a plan to demolish the mosque and rebuild the temple again on the site. However, his plan did not materialize, in part due to the intervention of the Nawab of Awadh, who had been given control of the territory.
During the destruction of the Vishwanath Temple, the invaders are said to have been so brutal that they massacred the innocent priests and demolished the temple gracelessly. It is said that the chief priest in order to save the Linga (Lord Shiva) from being destroyed, jumped into the well together with the huge Shiva Linga. In the process, the priest may have died saving the Linga.
This well also provided water facilities for many temple priests who had resided on the temple premises. Still today you can see the remains of the temple, well and the foundations of the houses built for the priests.
After the time of Aurangzeb, the Maratha ruler Malhar Rao Holkar (1693-1766) wanted to demolish the mosque and rebuild the Vishweshwar temple on the site. Later in 1780, his daughter-in-law Ahilyabai Holkar built the present Kasi Viswanath Temple adjacent to the mosque. This temple is the one that is present today in the holy city of Kashi.