Varanasi: ASI to start scientific survey of Gyanvapi mosque at 7 am on Monday

To conduct a scientific survey to determine if the Gyanvapi mosque located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple is built upon a temple, a team of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has arrived in Varanasi on Sunday.

Varanasi district magistrate S. Rajalingam said, “We have been intimated by the ASI that the survey will begin tomorrow.” 

Advocate of the Hindu side Madan Mohan Yadav said the ASI team has reached Varanasi and will start the survey of the Gyanvapi complex at around 7 am on Monday.

An advocate each of the petitioners will accompany the survey team, Yadav added.

On Friday, district judge A.K. Vishvesh directed the ASI to conduct a detailed scientific survey — including excavations, wherever necessary — to determine if the mosque in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh is built upon a temple. 

“The Director of ASI is also directed to conduct a detailed scientific investigation by using GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) survey, excavation, dating method and other modern techniques of the present structure to find out as to whether same has been constructed over a pre-existing structure of Hindu temple,” the order said.

It specifically directed the use of GPR technology for survey “just below the three domes of the building in question”, and to conduct an excavation there “if required”.

The mosque’s ‘wazukhana’, where a structure claimed by Hindu litigants to be a ‘Shivling’ exists, will not be part of the survey, following an earlier Supreme Court order protecting that spot in the complex.

The judge directed the ASI to submit a report to the court by August 4, along with videos and photographs of survey proceedings.

The court had on July 14 reserved its order after hearing both the Hindu and Muslim sides.

Hindu activists claim that a temple existed earlier at the site and was demolished in the 17th century on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.

The petition filed by the Hindu group, seeking the right to regular worship of sculptures of Hindu deities on the mosque’s outer wall, had sought court directions to the ASI to survey the complex. 


(With inputs from PTI)

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Updated: 24 Jul 2023, 02:07 AM IST

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