History of Alamgir Mosque
Alamgir Mosque was constructed in the 17th century. Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb is credited with the establishment of this mosque. It is important to note that the Alamgir was built over the ruins of a Hindu temple. More specifically, a Vishnu Temple was initially constructed at the site of Alamgir Mosque, in the 17th century. A Maratha chieftain namely, Beni Madhav Rao Scindhia is credited with the establishment of this temple. In the pages of history, this temple has been recorded as one of the city’s biggest temples extending from Panchganga Ghat to Ram Ghat. After Aurangzeb gained control over Banaras by annexing it, he commanded total destruction of all its Hindu temples. This Vishnu Temple was one such Hindu temple which was reduced to a pitiable state by Aurangzeb, within a few decades of its establishment. Post its destruction, the Vishnu Temple was succeeded by a mosque in the year 1669. This mosque was named the Alamagir Mosque. This mosque was named Alamagir after Aurangzeb’s own honorific title ‘Alamgir’. This was the title which he had adopted after becoming the emperor of the Mughal Empire.
Architectural Design of Alamgir Mosque
The Alamgir Mosque displays an excellent combination of Hindu and Mughal art and architecture. Alamgir Mosque has been built from the materials of the Hindu temple of Kirti Visheswar. This mosque has three rows of lofty stone pillars. In a row there are eight pillars. However, the pillars at the extreme corners are not single, but three-folded. The capitals are huge and enormous and have been built in the shape of a cross. The pillars of the temple have double bases, a false and a true. One of the pillars is on the lower end of the shaft. The other, the true base is made of a different stone. Both the pillars have been decorated with intricate carvings. The inner wall of the mosque is made of stone. If viewed from the back, various mason marks carved on them will be evident to the visitors. All these carvings and symbols testify the antiquity of the mosque. In place of an image, it is believed that the spout of a fountain was worshipped. This fountain rose up in the centre of a small tank, in the courtyard of the mosque. Even today there are people who worship with full reverence at the tank. According to the researches conducted on this mosque, it was concluded that the mosque must have been a huge one. This is because it not only occupied a considerable portion of the present courtyard, but also some extent of the ground on the either side. The lower part of the mosque still features a Hindu temple. The intricate designs and the speeded workmanship of the mosque boast of the skills of the ancient craftsmen. It is a place of great sanctity and is still visited by many pilgrims from different places.
It is important to note that non-muslims are not permitted inside the mosque. The mosque has a cordon of police to provide security. Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport or Varanasi Airport is well-connected to some of the major cities in India like Delhi and Mumbai via airlines. The Varanasi Railway Junction and the Kashi Railway Station are known to be the two major railheads in Varanasi. Roads in Varanasi are motorable by modes of transportation namely, buses, auto rickshaws and taxis. State-run buses connect Varanasi to major cities of Uttar Pradesh and the neighboring states. Cities close to Varanasi are also connected to it via private air-conditioned buses. National highways also connect Varanasi to other cities in Uttar Pradesh. Alamgir Mosque enjoys a prominent location above the Panchganga Ghat. This ghat is revered as a sacred bathing place in Varanasi. It has broad steps that go down to the Ganges.
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(Last Updated on : 10-09-2016)
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