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Scratch a ‘vivadit dhancha’, find a Mandir: A list of Hindu temples destroyed over centuries of Islamic rule where masjids and dargahs stand now

In Chapter Six, ‘Historians Versus History’, Ram Swarup mentioned that the details of the destruction of Hindu Temples found their place in the writings of both British and Muslim historians.

On May 16, the court-ordered survey of the disputed structure at Gyanvapi, Varanasi reported that they have found an ancient Shiva Lingam inside the premises. In the case of Gyanvapi, the evidence is visible to the naked eye that it was a temple earlier, and a mosque was constructed on it. There are many such Muslim constructions in the form of mazar, mosques, dargah, forts, eidgahs and others where it is evident that they were on temple sites and/or used temple materials in the construction.

However, there are many such constructions across the country where the evidence is not that obvious. In 1990, Historian Sita Ram Goel, along with other authors Arun Shourie, Harsh Narain, Jay Dubashi and Ram Swarup, published a two-volume book named ‘Hindu Temples: What Happened To Them’. In the book, Goel traced over 1,800 Muslim structures that were constructed over existing temples and/or using materials from destroyed temples. From Qutub Minar to Babri Masjid, Gyanvapi, Pinjor Gardens, and others found mentioned in the book.

The methodology used by the authors

The book is a collection of previously published articles in newspapers by the authors with additional chapters. In Chapter Six, ‘Historians Versus History’, Ram Swarup mentioned that the details of the destruction of Hindu Temples found their place in the writings of both British and Muslim historians. In the case of British Historians, they wrote about the cruelty and vandalism done by Mughal emperors to justify their presence in India. On the contrary, Muslim historians detailed how Temples were destructed to glorify Islam and their immediate patrons.

Many inscriptions available at the Islamic sites across the country invoke Allah and the Prophet quoting the Quran. These inscriptions provide details by whom, how and when these structures were constructed. The book states, “The inscriptions have been deciphered and connected to their historical context by learned Muslim epigraphists. They have been published by the Archaeological Survey of India in its Epigraphia Indica – Arabic and Persian Supplement, an annual which appeared first in 1907-08 as Epigraphia Indo-Moslemica.”

In an article published on February 5, 1989, by Arun Shourie, he talked about Maulana Hakim Sayid Abdul Hai, a well-known and influential figure. He wrote several books, among which one of the books had a 17-page chapter, ‘Hindustan ki Masjidein’ or ‘The Mosques of India’. In the chapter, Shourie said, short descriptions of mosques were written. Though for Hai, those were only descriptions, he provided a brief of how Hindu Temples were destructed to build Mosques.

For example, about Babri mosque, it read, “This mosque was constructed by Babar at Ayodhya, which Hindus call the birthplace of Ramchanderji. There is a famous story about his wife, Sita. It is said that Sita had a temple here in which she lived and cooked food for her husband. On that very site, Babar constructed this mosque in H. 963.” Here H 963 means Hirji Calendar year 963, which converts to the year 1555-1556 of the English Calendar.

State-wise list of the Islamic sites

There are over 1,800 sites mentioned in the book from different states. Reclaim Temples, an organization dedicated to the reclamation and restoration of Hindu temples, has done extensive work on the lists provided in the book by Sita Ram Goel. The PDFs of the state-wise list can be found here.

Andhra Pradesh

In Andhra Pradesh, the book by Sita Ram Goel and others mentions that the material collected after demolishing temples was used in constructing mosques, dargah, gateways and forts. 142 sites were recognized by the author from Andhra Pradesh alone, including Jami Masjid in Kadiri, Anantpur, Sher Khan Masjid in district Penukonda, Babayya Dargahin Penukonda, that was built by converting Ivara Temple, Idgah in Tadaptri, Datgiri Dargan in Gundlakunta, Datgir Swami Dargah built over Jangam temple in Janalapalle and others.

Notably, the Dargah of Mumin Chup in Aliyabad, Hyderabad, dates back to 1322, and it was built on a temple site. Similarly, Jami Masjid in Rajamundri was built in 1324 by converting Venugopalaswamin Temple. The destruction of temples continued in Andhra Pradesh for centuries. Gachinala Masjid, built-in 1729 was noted as the latest mosque in the state. It stands on a temple site.

Assam

In Assam, the book noted two temple sites that were converted into mosques that were Poa Mosque and Mazar of Sultan Ghiyasuddin Balban. Both Islamic structures stood on temple sites in Hajo, district Kamrup.

West Bengal

102 sites were recognized in West Bengal where the mosques, dargahs, muslim structures, and forts were built on demolished Temple sites or material collected after destroying temples was used. These structures include Ghazi Ismail Mazar in Lokpura, which was built over Venugopala temple, Makhdum Shah Dargah in Birbhum Siyan (1221), where temple materials were used, Sayyid Shah Shahid Mahmud Bahmani Dargah in Suata was built using Buddhist temple material, Alaud-Din Alaul Haqq Masjid built-in 1342 in Bania Pukur used temple material and others.

A Muslim city was built in Gaur using the ruins of Lakshma Navati, a Hindu capital destroyed by Muslims towards the end of the twelfth century AD. Multiple Muslim structures including Chhoti Sona Masjid, Tantipara Masjid, Lattan Masjid, Makhadum Akhi Siraj Chishti Dargah, Chamkatti Masjid, Chandipur Darwaza and other structures were built over two centuries at the city using temple material.

Bihar

In Bihar, 77 sites were recognized where Mosques, Muslim structures, Forts, etc. were made on Temple sites and/or using material collected from destructed Temple sites. In Bhagalpur, the Dargah of Hazrat Shahbaz was built in 1502 on a Temple site. Similarly, in Champanagar, several Mazars were constructed on the ruins of Jain Temples. The Muslim Graveyard in Amoljhori, district Monghyr stands on a Vishnu Temple site. In Gaya, Shahi MAsjid in Nadirganj was built in 1617 on a Temple site.

In the Nalanda district, Biharsharif, the Muslim capital, was built after destroying Udandapura, a famous Buddhist Vihara. Majority of the Muslim structures built on the site used Temple material, including the Dargah of Makhdumul Mulk Sharifuddin of 1380, Bada Dargah, Chhota Dargah, and others.

In Patna, Dargah of Shah Jumman Madariyya was built on a temple site. Dargah of Shah Mur Mansur, Dargah of Shah Arzani, Dargah of Pir Damariya and others were built on Buddhist Viharas.

Delhi

A total of 72 sites were recognized in the book in Delhi. The Islamic invaders destroyed Indrapat and Dhillika along with their suburbs to build seven cities. Temple materials were used in many monuments, mosques, mazars, and other structures, including Qutab Minar, Quwwatul Islam Masjid (1198), Maqbara of Shamsud-Din Iltutmish, Jahaz Mahal, Alal Darwaza, Alal Minar, Madrasa and Maqbara of Alaud-Din Khalji, Madhi Masjid and more.

Diu

One site that is Jami Masjid, constructed in 1404, was recognized by the book. It was built on a Temple site.

Gujarat

In Gujarat, 170 sites were recognized in the book. Temples at Asaval, Patan and Chandravati were destroyed, and the material was used to build Ahmadabad, a Muslim city. Some of the monuments that used Temple material in Ahmadabad were Palace and Citadel of Bhadra, Jami Masjid of Ahmad Shah, Haibit Khan ki Masjid, Rani Rupmati Ki Masjid and more.

In district Dholka, Masjid and Mazar of Bahlol Khan Ghazi and Mazar of Barkat Shahid were built of Temple sites. Similarly, in Sarkhej, the Dargah of Shaikh Ahmad Khattu Ganj Baksh was built in 1445 using Temple material. In 1321, Jami Masjid was built using materials after demolition of Hindu and Jain temple sites in Bharuch.

In Bhavnagar, Mazar of Pir Hamir Khan in Botad was built at a Temple site. In 1473, Masjid was built in Dwarka at a Temple site. In Bhuj, Jami Masjid and Gumbad of Baba Guru were built on Temple sites. Jains were expelled from Rander and the temples were converted into mosques. Some of the examples include Jami Masjic, Nit Nauri Masjid, Mian Ki Masjid, Kharwa Masjid and others. In Somnath Patan, Bazar Masjid, Chandni Masjid and Qazi Ki Masjid were built on Temple sites.

Haryana

A total of 77 sites were recognized in Haryana by historians. In Pinjor, Ambala, Temple materials were used to build the Garden of Fidai Khan. Fidai Khan Garden, which was later renovated by a Sikh Emporer and popular by the name Yadavindra Gardens or Pinjor Gardens, was built using Temple materials. In Faridabad, Jami Masjid was built in 1605 at a Temple site. In Nuh, a Mosque was built in 1392 using Temple materials.

Mosques in Bawal and Jami Masjid in Farrukhnagar, district Gurugram, were built on Temple sites. In Kaithal, Dargah of Shaikh Salahud-Din Abul Muhammad of Balkh was built in 1246 using Temple materials. Madrasa on the Tila in Kurukshetra and Kali Masjid in Jhajjar were built on Temple sites. Hisar was built by Firuz Shah Tughlaq using Temple materials brought from Agroha. The city of Agroha was built by Maharaja Agrasen, a descendant of Bhagwan Ram’s son Kush. Maharaja Agrasen was born in the 35th generation after Bhagwan Ram. The city was destroyed by Muhammad Ghauri in 1192.

Himachal Pradesh

One site was recognized in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, in the book. The Jahangiri Gate was built using Temple materials.

Karnataka

A total of 192 sites were recognized in Karnataka. Dargah of Muhiud-Din Chisti of Ajodhan in Dodda Ballapur, Bangalore, was built using Temple materials. Dargah of Makhdum Shah Wali in Kudachi and Mazar of Shaikh Muhammad Sirajud-Din Pirdadi were built on Temple sites. Masjid and Idgah in the ruins of Vijayanagar, Hampi, were built using Temple materials.

A Muslim Capital was built by transforming the ancient Hindu city of Bidar. Sola Khamba Masjid, Jami Masjid, Mukhtar Khan ki Masjid, and other structures were built on Temple sites or used Temple materials.

Kalyani was the capital of Later Chalukyas. The temples in the city were either demolished or converted into Mosques. Jami Masjid, Masjid in Mahalla Shahpur and others stand on Temple sites. Bijapur used to be an ancient Hindu city. It was transformed into a Muslim capital. Jami Masjid, Karimud-Din Ki Masjid, Chota Masjid, etc were built on Temple sites and/or used temple materials. In Tonnur, Mysore, Sayyid Salar Masud’s Mazar was built using Temple materials.

Kerala

In Kerala, two sites were recognized. Jami Masjid in Kollam and Fort built by Tipu Sultan in Palghat used Temple materials.

Lakshadweep

Two sites were recognized in Lakshadweep. Muhiud-Din-Palli Masjid in Kalpeni and Prot-Palli Masjid in Kavarati were built on Temple sites. Notably, Lakshadweep is now a 100% dominating Muslim region.

Madhya Pradesh

The book mentioned 151 sites in Madhya Pradesh. Jami Masjid, built by Qudsia Begum in Bhopal, was built where once Sabhamandala Temple stood. Dargah of Ghazi Mian in Damoh was previously a Temple site. Dhar used to be the Capital of Raja Bhoja Paramara. It was converted into a Muslim Capital. Kamal Maula Masjid, Lat Masjid, Mazar of Adbullah Shah Changal etc used Temple materials and/or built on Temple sites.

Mandu was an ancient Hindu city. It was also converted into a Muslim capital. Jami Masjid, Dilawar Khan Ki Masjid, Choti Jami Masjid etc. were built on Temple sites and/or used Temple materials. Chanderi, a Muslim city was built using materials from Budhi Chanderi. Moti Masjid, Jami Masjid and other structures used Temple materials. In Gwalior, Dargah of Muhammad Ghaus, Jami Masjid, and Masjid near Ganesh gate were built on Temple sites.

Maharashtra

143 sites were recognized in the book from Maharashtra. Among those, Amba Jogi fort in Ahmadnagar used Temple materials. Idgah in Gogh, which was built in 1395, stands on a Temple site. Akot’s Jami Masjid was built in 1667 on a Temple site. Astan Masjid in Karanj was built in 1659 on a Temple site. Aurangzeb’s Jami Masjid in Ritpur was built on Temple site. Dargah of Hazrat Burhanud-Din Gharib Chishti was built on a Temple site in Khuldabad in 1339.

Mazar of Maina Hajjam was built by converting Mahalakshmi Temple in Mumbai. Jami Masjid in Mumbai was built on a Temple site. Namazgah near the Talav in Paranda was built by converting Manakevara Temple. In Latur, Minapuri Mata temple was converted into Dargah of Mabsu Sahib, Somevara Temple was converted into Dargah of Sayyid Qadiri, and Ramachandra Temple was converted into Qadimi Masjid of Paunar.

Odisha

12 sites were recognized in Odisha. Jami Masjid in mahalla Sunhat in Baleshwar was built on the Shri Chandi Temple site. Shahi Masjid and the masjids of Odia Bazar in Cuttack along with the masjid in Kendrapara were built on Temple sites.

Punjab

The book recognized 14 sites in Punjab. Mazar of Baba Haji Rattan was built by converting a Temple in Bathinda. Badshahi Sarai of Sultanpur, Jalandhar, was built on Buddhist Vihara. Dar and Masjid of Ali Sarmast in Ludhiana was built on a Temple site. Masjid in the Fort in Bahadurgarh, Patiala, was built on a Temple site.

Rajasthan

There were 170 sites of Rajasthan mentioned in the book. Ajmer used to be a Hindu capital that was converted into a Muslim city. Adhai-Din-Ka-Jhonpra was built in 1199, Dargah of Muinud-Din Chisti was built in 1236, and other mosques etc. were built on Temple sites and/or used Temple materials. Bhartari mazar in Tijara was built by converting a Temple. Nohara Masjid in Bayana was built by converting Usha Temple. In Masjid of Bhitari-Bahari Mahalla, materials from Vishnu Temple were used.

Kamyakesvara Temple was converted into Chaurasi Khamba Masjid in Kaman. Parvantha Temple’s materials were used in Topkhana Masjid in Jalor, which was built in 1323. Materials from Hindu, Buddhist and Jain Temples were used in Shergarh, the fort of Sher Shah Suri. Dargah of Pir Zahirud Din in Loharpura was built on Temple site. In 1625, Masjid in Salawtan was built on a Temple site. Mazar of Pir Zahirud-Din and Dargah of Baba Badr in Nagaur was built on temple sites.

Tamil Nadu

There were 175 sites mentioned from Tamil Nadu in the book. Mazar of Shah Ahmad in Acharwak, Chingleput, was built on a Temple site. Dargah of Malik Bin Dinar in Kovalam was built on a Temple site. Hill of Pancha Padyamalai was renamed Maula Pahad. The central hall of an ancient Cave Temple was turned into a masjid. In Coimbatore, Tipu Sultan used Temple materials to repair Annamalai Fort. Masjid of Tipu Sultan was also built on a Temple site.

In Tiruchirapalli, the Dargah of Natthar Shah Wali was built by converting a Shiva Temple. The Lingam of the Temple was used as a lamp-post.

Uttar Pradesh

In Uttar Pradesh, the book mentioned 299 sites that were built using temple materials and/or on temple sites. Kalan Masjid of Agra was built using Temple materials. In the fort of Akbar, the Riverside part was built on Jain Temple sites. Maqbara of Akbar stands on a Temple site. Fort of Akbar in Allahabad was built on Temple sites. Mazar of Mian Maqbul and Husain Khan Shahid was built on Temple sites. Masjid in Patthar Mahalla was built by converting Lakshmi Narayan Temple.

In Ayodhya, Babri Masjid was built on Ram Janmbhoomi Temple site. The disputed structure has now been demolished, and Bhavya Ram Mandir is being constructed at the site. Swargadvara Temple and Treta Ka Thakur Temple were demolished, and mosques were built at those places by Aurangzeb.

Mazar of Shah Juran Ghuri was built at a Temple site. Mazars of Sir Paighambar and Ayub Paighambar were built at a Buddhist Temple site that had footmarks of Buddha. Imambara in Gorakhpur was built on a Temple Site. Similarly, Karbala in Pava was built on the ruins of a Buddhist Stupa.

Tilewali Masjid was built on a Temple site in Lucknow. Jama Masjid in Meerut stands on the ruins of a Buddhist Vihara. Dargah in Nauchandi was Nauchandi Devi Temple. In Varanasi, Masjid at Gyanvapi was built on the Temple site using Vishweshara Temple material. A survey was ordered by the court at the disputed structure recently, and the team that did the survey has reportedly found a Shiva Lingam. The site was sealed by the court after the discovery.

Just a ‘tip of the iceberg’

Goel wrote in his book that the list mentioned by him was incomplete. It was just a brief summary. The list had mosques and dargahs where evidence existed of the temple site and/or temple materials being used. He wrote, “We have tried our best to be exact in respect of locations, names and dates of the monuments mentioned. Even so, some mistakes and confusion may have remained. It is not unoften that different sources provide different dates and names for the same monument. Many Muslim saints are known by several names, which creates confusion in identifying their mazars or dargahs. Some districts have been renamed or newly, created and a place which was earlier under one district may have been included in another. This is only a brief summary.”

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Anurag
Anurag
B.Sc. Multimedia, a journalist by profession.

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