Explained: Why Gyanvapi Well Remains Sacred After Demolition of Vishweshwar Temple?

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Gyanvapi Well :The belief that the original lingam was hidden by the priests inside the Gyan Vapi well during Aurangzeb's raid, therefore Gyan Vapi well is considered more sacred than the new Kashi Vishwanath Temple by pilgrims.

New Delhi (ABC Live India):Gyanvapi Well : India for past few weeks is witnessing religious polarization on issue of lingum situated in Gyanvapi well located in is located between Gyanvapi Mosque and Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi.

It is on historical records that Mughal Ruler Aurangzeb in 1669 constructed Gyanvapi Mosque upon demolition of Vishweshwar temple devoted to the Hindu deity Shiva.

The ABC Research Team keeping close watch on Gyanvapi Mosque-Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi refers an article based upon Wikipedia,  Why Gyanvapi Well Remains Sacred After Demolition of Vishweshwar Temple for readers.

After demolition of Vishweshwar temple and emergence of Gyanvapi Mosque on the site in 1698, Bishan Singh, the ruler of Amber, had his agents survey the town and gather details about the various claims and controversies regarding the demolition of the temple; their maps ('tarah') made it a point to note that the Gyanvapi mosque lay at the site of a dismantled Vishweshwar temple.

As per book authored by Madhuri Desai titled “Banaras Reconstructed: Architecture and Sacred Space in a Hindu Holy City” Raja Bishan Singh also marked the temple-plinth separately and these maps also noted the edges of the rectangular mosque-precinct to be lined up with the residences of Brahmin priests. Desai (in her thesis) mistook these surveys to have been commissioned "in all likelihood" by the Maharaja of Jaipur.

The Amber court purchased significant land around the Gyanvapi precincts, including some from Muslim inhabitants, with an aim to rebuild the temple without demolishing the mosque. But these efforts did not succeed.

Around 1700, an "Adi-Vishweshwar Temple" was constructed at the initiative of Bishan Singh's successor Sawai Jai Singh II, about 150 yards anterior to the mosque.

The Marathas, in particular, became highly vocal about religious injustice at the hands of Aurangzeb and Nana Fadnavis proposed demolishing the mosque and reconstructing a Vishweshwar temple.

In 1742, Malhar Rao Holkar proposed a similar course of action and in spite of their consistent efforts, these plans did not materialize due to a multitude of interventions Nawabs of Lucknow who were their political rivals, local Brahmins who feared the wrath of the Mughal court, and British authorities who feared an outbreak of communal tensions.

The belief that the original lingam was hidden by the priests inside the Gyanvapi well during Aurangzeb's raid, therefore Gyanvapi well is considered more sacred than the new Kashi Vishwanath Temple by pilgrims.

Further a British traveller Reginal Heber supported that the plinth to be considered more sacred by the pilgrims, as late as 1824. The Gyanvapi well was also believed to contain the lingam and the water of the Gyanvapi brought by a subterraneous channel of the Ganges was treated as holier than the Ganges itself.

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