How Gyanvapi mosque was once constructed atop Vishveshwar temple in Varanasi.

nineteenth century English creator James Prinsep had illustrated the historical past of the Gyanvapi mosque and the outdated Vishveshwar temple. Prinsep’s e book “Benares Illustration” finds unexpected information at the foundation of lithography.

Tejshree Purandare in India Today.

OriginalAs the controversy over the Gyanvapi mosque-Shringar Gauri complicated continues within the courts, some new and outdated information have come to the fore. nineteenth century English creator James Prinsep, throughout his stint as illustrator and traveller, decoded the prevailing Gyanvapi mosque long ago in 1831 as he traveled around the duration and breadth of the town of Varanasi.

Prinsep, in his e book ‘Benares Illustrated, A Series of Drawings’, mentioned the structure of the outdated Vishveshwar temple, the prevailing Gyanvapi mosque and the way Mughals below Aurangzeb transformed the unique construction right into a capacious masjid to ascertain their non secular hegemony.

The methodology he used for this was once lithography.


James Prinsep used lithography ways to offer knowledge with proof. Since artwork and artifacts weren’t used at the moment, he used lithography to engrave each and every scene on paper.

To perceive lithography, India Today TV spoke to famend lithography professional Bobby Kohli. Kohli explains that lithography is a printing methodology this is broadly used all over the world. Most books, newspapers and magazines are made the use of lithography. It is speedy, environment friendly, affordable and slightly simple.

The first step in lithography is making a plate with the picture to be revealed. If the picture is in black and white, just one plate is wanted, because the plate can most effective be inked with black ink. Color photographs are produced the use of a four-color separation procedure, with 4 separate plates for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black) inks. When plates are revealed, the colours visually mix in combination, forming a colour symbol.

Kohli explains that even though there are lots of sorts of lithography, Prinsep used steel lithography in his e book. He explains that for steel lithography, steel plates are used. An encryption is made on steel, the remaining procedure is equal to in standard lithography.


Talking about Gyanvapi mosque in his e book, James Prinsep mentioned the view was once taken from the south-west nook of what was once then referred to as as Jumma Musjid or the important mosque of the town.

He illustrated that the dome and minaret surmounting the “Hindoo walls” have been the paintings of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, and the tombs have been of the similar date.

Prinsep wrote that Muslims (Mughals), of their zeal for the triumph of their very own faith, came upon a technique of changing the unique construction right into a capacious masjid, with out destroying above one part of its partitions — in order that no longer most effective the bottom plan, however all of the architectural elevation, would possibly nonetheless be traced out. A specimen of the order has been lithographed to turn the proportions of the other moldings.

In his paintings, Prinsep wrote about his findings: “Part of one of the Hindu domes also remains: it is not formed on the principle of the arch, but by the successive protrusion of the courses of stone, and by cutting off the angles laterally , so as to change the square into a polygot, and then gradually into a circle; the under edges of the courses are neatly worked up into rosettes and pannels, and present a not inelegant appearance.”




In his e book, Prinsep categorically identified that because of an influence battle between the Mughals below Aurangzeb and rulers of Kashi, the Hindu temples have been ordered to be destroyed. “The bigotry of Aurangzeb did not allow many vestiges of this more ancient style to remain. In 1660, for some trifling resistance to the imposition of a capitation tax, he took occasion to demolish the principal Shiwalas, and constructed Masjids or mosques with the same materials and upon the same foundations, leaving portions of the ancient walls exposed here and there, as evidences of the indignity to which the Hindu religion had been subjected.”

Historian and researcher Dinesh Kapoor says, “Mughal emperor Aurangazeb in 1669 destroyed the temple of Vishveshwar on which the mosque was built and still remain as it is. He further says that three domes are built over the two Shiva Mandaps and the central Mahadeo Shrine which existed in the center before.”


In his e book, James Prinsep defined the plan of Vishveshwar temple thru a map. In the plan, it may be observed that the Shivling is positioned within the sanctum. The temple had an access from all 4 aspects. The north-south linear axis had two small porches (Shiva Mandap) for the guests. In the longitudinal east-west axis have been the doorway halls surrounded through ‘dwarapalas’ (gatekeepers) within the centre. At the corners, 4 small cenotaphs for the deities Tarakeswara, Mankeshwar, Bhairon – the kinds of Shiva — his son Ganesha have been positioned. Thus, the plan was once in accordance with a three×3 grid with the presiding deity within the heart.

Lithography professional Bobby Kohli informed India Today TV that the pictures in Prinsep’s e book are all made through lithography. “These litho arts are completely proper. It turns out to had been made within the nineteenth century. The nature of the artwork presentations that those are those made within the nineteenth century. The symbol that depicts outdated temple of Vishveshwar is made through the steel lithography. It has minute main points of the outdated stone within the disturbed construction,” he mentioned.

Notably, there are two traces within the scheme which demarcates the prevailing career of the temple through the mosque. If one appears at the moment mosque constructed through demolishing part of the temple in terms of this plan, it may be observed that the 3 domes are constructed on most sensible of the 2 Shiva mandapas and the central Mahadeva shrine, which was once there.

“The map is made by using metal lithography where metal plate was used with greasy litho crayon or a greasy black ink to make it,” Kohli mentioned.


Historian Dinesh Kapoor says that James Prinsep had written that there are lots of such evidences at the wall of the development that are associated with Hindu tradition.

The Kashi Vishwanath temple was once rebuilt in 1776 through Ahilyabai Holkar – the Maratha queen of Malwa. Historian Dinesh Kapoor mentioned Nandi’s image is from the similar temple.

Prinsep in his e book wrote, “The darkly shaded phase presentations the determine and basis of the important dewul: the fainter, the ones of the outer dewulee. The entire will have to have shaped, when entire, a picturesque staff of 9 spires round a central pyramid. The heights diminishing from the middle against the corners within the proportions of 16, 8, and 6 as observed through the bottom plan.”

Dinesh Kapoor mentioned, “The dotted line in the semi upper part of the map shows the present day occupation made by the Masjid on the temple.”

Studying concerning the elevation of Hindu temples, Prinsep wrote, “… Architecture like each and every different department of arts a number of the Hindus is an hereditary career. The head masons or rajmistries hired within the building of temples and edifices of a great description have typically of their place quite a few plans and elevations. These plans in conjunction with numerous designs for moldings, scrolls, let’s paintings provide subject material for all trendy structures of the natural or Hindu style however many developers have ventured to engraft the Muslim taste upon the letter and your skill-fully mixed the combination has a just right impact, widespread examples of it have happen within the following sketches; The provide temple is alternatively necessarily Hindu.”

After inspecting the picture, Dinesh Kapoor mentioned, “The elevation of a Hindu temple drawn here fairly depicts the then Vishveshwara Temple.” He highlights the truth that, “Princep in his Litho art has also sketched a Nandi in extreme right of the temple which resembles the present Nandi. The history says that the extreme right of the temple was destructed by the Muslims and the extreme right where Nandi is worshiped was left as it is.”


Among different Shivalas and temples destroyed through Aurangzeb, one such was once Madhoray Mosque. Prinsep illustrates, “The Madhoray Musjid (Mosque) was once erected through Aurangzeb at the web page and with the fabrics of the temple of Bindh Madho or Vishnu”.

The temple of Bindh Madho or Vishnu as described through Tavernier, was once positioned at the floor from Punchgunga to Ram Ghat, together with inside of its partitions the temples of Ram and Mungula Gouree, and a large number of homes of the priesthood.

Prinsep wrote that the mosque and minarets across the Madhoray mosque constructed as a technique of perpetuating the insult maximum offensive to their behavior and emotions, through wearing his minarets to this kind of peak as to disregard the privateness in their homes, the higher flats and terraced roofs of that are all the time tenanted through the women folk of the circle of relatives. The mosque has little architectural good looks to boast about, however the minars had been deservedly admired for his or her simplicity and boldness of execution.

Prinsep additionally quoted two of the vacationers and illustrators of the Tavernier and Heber technology, who traveled to Varanasi at other occasions and when compared their findings. “Amongst others of less note, the descriptions of Tavernier and Heber will long continue to he read with interest;— the former, as a lively picture of Benares in 1608, before the prostration of its temples by Aurungzebe, and while there yet remained some vestiges of the splendor of its idolatries; the latter, as introducing the reader, in the amiable prelate’s agreeable and instructive manner, to Benares, as it appeared to him on his visit in 1825,” Prinsep mentioned.

Read additionally: Gyanvapi Mosque Row- A Look at Legal Journey of Case. (from News18)

Read additionally: Fragmented Deity, Temple Debris & Hindu Motifs Find Mention in Sacked Gyanvapi Surveyor’s Report. (from News18)


Courtesy: India Today, Aajtak and News18.

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