1669: Aurangzeb orders demolition of numerous Kashi Mandirs as an act of ‘religious piety’

Aurangzeb orders the temple’s demolition. In its place, a mosque known as Alamgiri Mosque is constructed in 1678. The temple’s plinth is largely preserved to serve as the mosque’s courtyard, while the southern wall is transformed into the qibla wall. Other buildings in the precinct are left untouched. Over time, the current name is adopted, deriving from an adjoining sacred well (pond) – Gyanvapi (“Well of Knowledge”).

Aurangzeb’s court scribe Saqi Musta’ad Khan records the following in his book ‘Massir e Alamgiri’: “His Majesty […] issued orders to the governors of all the provinces to demolish the schools and temples of the infidels […], according to the Emperor’s command, his officers had demolished the temple of Viswanath at Kashi.”

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