Hindu Vivek Kendra


As we approach the 'Babri Mosque', located at the site popularly called 'Ram Janmabhoomi' we see a simple and modest structure with three domes, the central one bigger than the two side ones, It is surrounded by two high-rising walls, running parallel to each other with large open space in between.

I.2- On the high entrance of the domed structure are fixed two stone tablets, side by side, which bear two inscriptions in Persian informing us that this structure was built by one Mir Baqi on the orders os Babur.

I.3- There are 14 pillars of black stone fixed in this domed structural complex-two are located at the small entrance in the outer boundary wall on the east, while four are located in the main door opening into the central part of the domed building; four each are located in the two walls which separate the central domed area from the southern and northern domed areas.

I.4- The walls of the Babri Mosque are made of coars-grained whitish sandstone blocks, rectangular in shape, while the domes are made of thin and small burnt bricks, Both these structural items are plastered with thick chunam paste mixed with coarse sand.

I.5- The 14 pillars, on the other hand, have been carved out of dark schistose stone with fine silica grains.  The surface is now blackish with bright sheen, as if polished.

I.6- While the coarse sand and the bricks used in the mosque are generally of local origin, found nearly regions, the dark stone, called locally 'Kasauti' or 'touch stone', is found in far off places only, such as the Himalayan foothills or 'terai' in U.P. and Nepal.

I.7- It may be mentioned here that while apparently the mosque does not bear any decoration with figures of Gods and Godesses, the dark stone pillars have several of them, besides other sacred motifs.

I.8- It may also be mentioned that under a national archaeological project, called 'Archaeology of the Ramayana sites', a team of archaeologists headed by Prof. B.B.Lal, former Director General, Archaeological Survey of India, excavated this site from 1975 through 1980 on the immediate south and west of this monument.

We, are, therefore, faced here with a peculiar situation while the domed structure shows some architectural features which are peculiar to Muslim architecture, the pillars show features which are peculiar to Hindu architecture.

In order to understand this apparently odd situation, archaeologists undertook a detailed examination of the domed structure as well as the black stone pillars, They have then supplemented this study with the examination of the material remains which have been unearthed in the trenches laid in an area which is adjoining the southern boundary wall of the mosque.


II.1.  In the so-called 'Babri Mosque', built in the 16th centure (1528 A.D.-1530 A.D.), there are at least 14 stone pillars of a pre-existing structure.  The pillars support the super-structure of some vital parts of the mosque, such as the arches of the entrances.  These pillars are of dark schistose stone which is of the slate variety.  Locally it is called 'Kasauti' stone or 'touch stone' because, as the tradition goes, against this the purity of gold could be tested.  This stone is found in nature as rock formations in the lower Himalayas; in the Nepal Terai and the Terai of Uttar Pradesh.  Out of this stone, temple images alone were carved in the early times.  Many of them are still found in the temples of these very regions, and many others are housed in Museums such as Lucknow and Allahabad.  These images of the so-called Kasauti stone are dated from the 9th through the 12th century A.D.  In other words, till the 11th century no temple was ever built in the around Uttar Pradesh where this stone was used for pillars of any monument, religious or secular, and Hindu or Buddhist, or even Jain.  Muslims, of course, did not at all use it here.  It is significant to note that this stone is entirely different from the black basalt stone, generally used for one kind of Pala sculptures in eastern India, which is an igneous rock.

II.2- There are two more similar pillars of the black schistose stone.  These are found placed upside down by the side of the grave of one Muslim saint, Fazle Abbas alias Musa Ashikhan.  In the local tradition, he is generally blaimed for inciting the then authorities, headed by one Mir Baqi, to demolish the temple at Janmasthan and build a mosque there.  It has been mentioned by different authors, including Hans Bakker, the writer of the famous book entitled Ayodhya.

II.3- In addition, there is a door-jamb, resting against a wall in the courtyard of the modern Janmasthan temple built in the late 18th century,across a road that separated the 'Janmabhumi' from 'Janmasthan'.

II.4- There are also nearly half-a-dozen Vaishnav images located at various places in the cities of Ayodhya and Faizabad, besides a number of other images.

II.5- The pillars are carved at the base with a sacred water-pitcher,called purnaghata or kalash.  It has overhanging creepers with rich foliage, arranged in a highly stylised form.  From this, in one example, a devkanya is seen emerging and standing on a lotus flower.  In another example, at the place of the devkanya, there is a picture of hamsa with elaborate tail.  From this Kalash, sometimes a decorative lotus rises up on one of the octagonal facets of a pillar a female figure, standing in tribhanga mudra, is still visible, although it is found heavily mutilated by the iconoclasts.

II.6- These columns have sixteen facets, passing into a square at the bases.  On all the four corners of the base of a column we see load-carrying or bharavahaka Yakshas, sitting with hands down.  These are semi-divine beings in human form shown supporting the kumbhas or vessels out of which the shaft of the pillar is shown rising.

II.7- The door-jamb is of the same stone as of the columns, i.e., schistose.  It is 115 cms.  long and is decorated with scultured figures from top to bottom.  At the base, there is a small arch recess in which one can see a standing male figure.  The image is wearing a Karanda mukuta (or tiara) on the head, and a vanamala on the bare front body.  While the right hand is in vyakhyana mudra, the left hand is carrying a weapon, trishula.  Above the niche are the two vertical bands of decoration, the rightone shows the rising creeper motif, divided into two vertically runnign friezes.  The left one contains three figures of devkanyas or apsaras, i.e., nymphs off heavenly female beings, alternating on the top with gana i.e., demi-divine male in the dancing pose.  These are arranged one above the other, the uppermost figure is in fact of a salabhanjika i.e.a female(bymph) figure holding and bending the brach of a blossoming tree.  The other apsaras are also shown standing in simple niches.

II.8- These columns or pillars can easily be dated on the basis of what we call the science of Art style, if we carefully look at the forms of various elements of the above mentioned decorations and also other decorations on them.  We will date them in the early 11th century.  Floral and geometrical motifs such as inter-secting garlands and creepers (the leaves and flowers), and diamonds and triangles, the globular form of the water pitchers with moulded mouths, the long hanging garlands, the female figure (body,eyes,nose,and face) and the architectural features, such as the form of the arch and the pilasters as well as thin transparent dhotis, conclusively prove that these pillars were definitely carved in the early 11th centure.  These forms belong to what we sometimes call in art-history 'Late Pratihar' or 'Gahadval' style.  We have several examples of similar forms occurring in temple decorations from different ancient temple-sites in northern India such as Jamsot.

Evidently, these black stone pillars or columns belong to an old Hindu temple, these could not belong to any other religion including Buddhism, since no Buddhist temple has been built anywhere in India during the 11th century in which Buddha or a Bodhisattva or Tara or some other God is not present.  


III.1- Besides the excavations conducted by Alexander Cunningham in the 19th century at some Buddhist places in Ayodhya, other than Janmabhoomi, Prof. A.K.Narain of the Banaras Hindu University excavated Ayodhya in 1969 by laying three trenches at three different places in the city, considerably away from Janmabhoomi.  From 1975 through 1980, Prof. B.B.Lal, Director General, Archaeological Survey of India, also laid trenches at 14 different places at Ayodhya, but including one at Janmabhoomi.  Some trenches were taken just behind the Babri Mosque in the west, and some by the south side of th mosque for detailed archaeological survey of India.  The scheme was a part of a large national project leunched by the Central Government, when Prof. Burul Hasan was the Minister of Education and Culture.  It was called 'Archaeology of the Ramayana Sites'.  These 17 trenches yielded the following select data which have direct bearing on the problem.

III.2- Firstly, the earliest habitational layer in these trenches, laid directly above the natural soil, yielded the most beautiful pottery of Indian material culture, called Northern Black Polished Ware(early period) with silvery and golden hues.  It is fired uniformally at a very high temperature, more than 1000 degree C, which produced not only unique polish, but also unique metallic sound.  It is a dated pottery and it belongs to the 7th century B.C.

III.3- Secondly, there has been almost continuous human habitation in the Janambhoomi-Masjid area from the 7th century B.C. upto the 3rd century A.D.  Then there occurred some break in the habitation in the Janmabhoomi area.

III.4- Thirdly, in the 11th century some people constructed a series of rectangular 'bases' or short pillar- like structures of burnt-bricks, each about 3ft. tall.  This was done by cutting the debris of the earlier periods.  These 'bases' were meant for the pillars of a super-structure.  These 'bases' have been found arranged in parallel rows.  It is significant to note that the directional alignment of the 'bases' is the same as that of the several pillars of black stone found in the mosque.

III.5- Fourthly, a well laid thick floor, made of pinkish white chundam or like and small kankars was found running over and across a 'base'.  It was found running even beyond the excavated area, towards the mosque.  It is conclusively proved by the floor material in the section of the trenches.  This is the original 'mosque floor' level.

III.6- Fifthly, below this topmost floor a thick deposit was found which has yielded Islamic Glazed Ware sherds of various types and colours including blue, red and green, which may be dated between the 13th and 15th centuries.  It includes a White Glazed Ware with blue paintings which was prevalent in Persia in the 15th century, i.e. much before the date of the mosque which was built in the 16th century.

III.7- Sixthly, there was a well-laid chunam and kankar floor below this layer, but it was found running against the 'bases'.

III.8- Seventhly, there was one more similarly laid floor below this floor, also running against the 'base'.

III.9- According to the science of 'Archaeological Stratigraphy', while the top-most floor belonged to the level and period of the mosque, the lower two floors belonged to the earlier pre-mosque structure.  The fact that instead of one, there are the remains of two floors of this pre-mosque structure is interesting since it shows that the floor of the structure was restored almost completely and at least once.

III.10- Eighthly, at least in one example the 'base' records the fact of destruction upon the foundation.  It is the evidence of a rectangular pit without its 'brick' base.  It must have been done anciently by laying a 'robber's trench' by some one interested in demolishing it and removing its bricks for constructing some other structure.


These kinds of art and archaeological evidences establish two things:

IV.1- one, the antiquity of the site of Ayodhya goes back at least to 700 B.C.

IV.2- Second, in the 11th century a large structure on pillars was erected at the site now popularly called 'Janmabhoomi'.  At this very place, now a 16th century mosque stands.  It has 14 black stone pillars, decorated with beautiful floral, faunal and human carving, largely mutilated.  The carvings on them show that they were carved in the early 11th century.  When compared with similar carvings on the pillars of structures of the 11th century elsewhere in U.P. we find that these are used in temples made of other stones, generally buffish sandstone.  It is, thus, clear that the black stone pillars at Janmabhoomi also belonged to a temple.  No secular structure in and around Uttar Pradesh used this stone for pillars.

IV.3- Further, most of the pillars of the 11th century temples were removed at a later date, in the early 16th century, although a few of them are still in their original placement, others are displaced.  Originally, there may have been 84 pillars and the area covered by them must have been around seven times more than that covered by the domed structure of the mosque.

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