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Home  | All Evidences | Archaeological

New Archaelogical Discoveries

On the 18th Of June 1992, when the ground near the Ramajanma Bhumi was being levelled, a most startling archaeological discovery was made at Ayodhya.

At a depth of about 12 feet from the ground level near the Ramajanma Bhumi temple, towards the south and beyond the fencing, a big hoard of beautifully carved buff sandstone pieces was located in a large pit, dug down below the old top level. A careful study by a group of eight eminent archaeologists and historians found that all these objects are architectural members of a Hindu temple- complex of the 11th century A.D.

The group comprised Dr. Y.D. Sharma, former Deputy Director General, Archaeo logical Survey of India, Dr. K.M. Srivastava, former Director, Archaeological Survey of India, Dr. S.P. Gupta, former Director, Allahabad Museum, Prof. K.P. Nautiyal, Vice-Chancellor, Avadh University and former Head of the Ancient History and Archaeology Department, Garhwal University, Prof. B.R. Grover, former Director, Indian Council of Historical Research, Shri Devendra Swarup Agrawal and Dr. Sardindu Mukherji of the Delhi University, and Dr. (Mrs.) Sudha Malaya of Bhopal.

The Temple:

The experts who visited the site on behalf of the academic organization, "The Historians' Forum", on the 2nd and 3rd of July 1992, are unanimously of the view that the temple, to which these fragments belong, is of the developed NAGARA style of ancient temple architecture which was current in northern India during the later part of the early medieval period i.e. the period after 900 A.D. and before 1200 A.D. The temples of this style are characterized by a distinctly imposing Shikhara, which is a tall and tapering spire over the Garbha-griha or sanctum sanctorum, which houses the main deity.

The Shikhara Amalaka:

The developed Shikhara is like a mountain with several tiers of subsidiary Shikharas, rising one above the other and projecting partially from the main Shikhara. The Shikharas are crowned with a very distin- ctive circular piece of stone, called amalaka, which is shaped like a cogged wheel, with bead-like mouldings along the periphery. It is so very typical of the tepmles of northern India that no one in the world who knows even a little about the Hindu temples can cast any doubt about its position in the temple structure. There are two examples of half-amalakas, in the present hoard of objects, evidently used on the top of the subsidiary Shikhra, called Shikharas of Karnas, i.e. fringe spires.

The Shikhara Jala:

The second most significant find is the curvilinear part of the Jala mouldings present on the Shikharas. It is beautifully decorated with scrolls. It also belongs exclusively to the north Indian temples of the period after 900 A D. since the technique of its carving involves the method of scoop- ing out of the areas around the floral elements so that the art-motifs are framed with surface absolutely plain. It is called 'Stencil' technique.

The Capital:

The third most noteworthy sculptured piece of stone in this collection is a rectangular capital of a piller with beautiful mouldings in the form of highly stylised lotus petals arranged as narrow parallel strips carved in low relief around the capital.

The Cornice:

The fourth example of stone sculptures belongs to the most characteristic member of the Nagara style of temples -it is called Chhadya, and in Hindi Chhajja, sun-shade, where the straight wall over the high plinth meets the base of the Shikhara. It is carved and shaped like rectangular Mangalore tiles to serve not only as a sun-shade but also allow the rain water to run off quickly and protect the structure. It is a corner-stone of the cornice.

Floral frieze:

There is one frieze of continuous leaf- moulding which decorates one of the top lines of the plinth of the temple.

Door-Jamb:

There is one example of a door-jamb or dvara- shakha of the main entrance of the temple. It is decorated with a meandering floral design, carved in 'Stencil' style.

Images of Vishnu's Incarnations:

There is also a fragment of a stele embellished with the most significant sculptures of a number of Vaishnavite gods, viz. a Chakrapurusha, i.e. a youthful male figure standing gracefully at an angle (tribhanga) and holding vertically in the palm of the right hand the character-istic wheel or Chakra of Vishnu.

Another image is that of Parshurama, sitting cross- legged and holding a battle-axe in the left hand. Below him is the image of Balarama, the elder brother of Krishna, with a canopy of serpent-hoods and having a wine-cup in his hand. Still below him is the image of a mother godess (matri-devi), the bestower of all good luck.

As per the iconographic stipulation, there should have been an image of Dashrathi Rama, i.e., the son of Dasharatha, above the image of Parshurama, in order to complete the trio of three Ramas in the full set of ten incarnations of Vishnu. Evidently, the temple to which this stele belongs has necessarily to be a Vaishnabite one.

Shiva-Parvati:

Besides the above, there are several other images. One is of Shiva-Parvati, also called Uma- Maheshvara. It was found from a shallow mound called Nala, located some 200 meters away from the site of the above hoard of art and architectural pieces. Though Shiva's head is now lost, his hand holding a Trishula or trident is fully intact. Similarly, although Parvati's face is not extant, her hand from behind Shiva's neck is found resting on his right shoulder in an embracing position. Stylistically, it is also datable to the 11th century.

Terracotta Figurines:

Art objects of burnt clay belonging to the earlier periods, such as the Kushana (1st-3rd century) have also been found. These images belong to various Hindu gods and godesses.

Explorations:

From 4th July through 18th July 1992, Prof. B.R. Grover camped at Ayodhya, during the period when the ground acquired by the UP Government was being levelled up. It is during this operation that he came across towards the east and south of the Ramajanma Bhumi, large floor-areas, in the pre- Islamic levels, which were carefully paved with burnt bricks. These places were then systematically exposed and photographed in situ for permanent
record.

He located some brick-walls as well. He noticed similar flooring and also brick-walls at the so-called Janmasthan area, across the modern road, built by the British after cutting the Rama Kot mound. The floor covered with burnt-bricks spreads over thousands of square metres now largely encircled by the newly constructed Rama Divar. During that period Prof. Grover had released as many as three reports of his findings to the press which prompted the Historians' Forum to send two eminent field-archaeologists to examine the reported discoveries.

Fresh Excavations Huge Brick Walls:

On the 22nd and 23rd of July Dr. K.M. Srivastava and Dr. S.P. Gupta went to Ayodhya and scraped the section facing east and also dug at least two feet still deeper in a small area along this section. They discovered a huge burnt-brick wall of more than a dozen courses running along the section and beyond it. Below this, after a little break, the remains of another brick- wall have been found. At two different pre-Islamic levels, there are the remains of brick-laid floors.

Mass Destruction:

There are clear cut marks of massive destruction of the huge wall mentioned above since brick- debris and large pits have been located here. Further, there are two hard rammed floors of Chunam and Kankar, laid one above the other with a significant break in between but over the level of the brick- wall.

There is therefore, enough new archaeological material which conclusively proves what Prof. B.B. Lal, the previous excavator of this site, has been repeatedly saying that here at the Ramajanma Bhumi there was an impressive structure of the 11th-12th century built on pillers standing on a series of parallel burnt-brick bases which was destroyed in the early 16th century, in all likelihood the bases carried on them the same temple- pillers which are fixed in the 'mosque'.

These new archaeological findings also confirm the views expressed earlier in 1990 by Dr. S.P. Gupta that the 16 black stone pillers and one piece of door- jamb with carvings of gods and godesses existing in the so- called 'Babri Mosque structure' and also the adjoining areas, belong to a 11th century Hindu temple, possibly Vaishnavite.

Muslim Testimony:

The new discovery further confirms the claims of all early Muslim authors, like the grand- daughter of Aurangzeb whose writing was cited in Sahifa- i- Chihal, Nasaih Bahadur Shahi, Mirza Jan, the author of Hidiqa-i- Shahada and a large number of other 18th, 19th, and even 20th century scholars like Shri Abdul Hai, have repeatedly mentioned that anciently here, at this very site, called 'Janmasthan', there was an imposing Hindu temple which was destroyed by the Muslims and a mosque was built over its debris.

Mir Baqi's Claim:

Indirectly though, the newly acquired archaeological evidence also equally confirms the statement made by Mir Baqi in his inscriptions, still found fixed in the structure of the 'mosque', that at this very place he built a structure for the angels to descend, specifically at the command and permiss- ion of Babar.

The Hindu Testimony:

And finally, it lends full support to a long standing Hindu tradition of the Valmiki's Ramayana, the Vishnu and other Puranas and a host of other works of the Sikhs, Jainas and Buddhists as well as the Sanskrit classics like Kalidasa's Raghuvamsham, according to which for thousands of years this ancient settlement with Rama Kota was occupied and reoccupied following desertions and destructions, the story of which has, however, been recollected in two important monographs, one is entitled Ayodhya by Hans Bakker and the other is Ram Janmabhoomi vs. Babri Masjid by Koenraad Elst published in English in recent years.

Historical Background Of The Controversy

Babar Stayed at Ayodhya:

The so-called 'Babri Mosque' was built in 1528 A.D. The Babarnama, Babar's diary of everyday events and autobiography, mentions that on March 28 in the year 1528 Babar came to Ayodhya, called 'Oudh' in those days, and camped on the river-side of a tributary of the Saryu, flowing near the township. Here he stayed for a few days, till April 2nd, 1528, after defeat ing the then Afghan ruler of this place who had rebelled against him. He may have stayed longer, but no one knows exactly how long since the original pages of his hand-written diary pertaining to the period between April 2nd and Sept. 18 of 1528, were lost in a storm that overtook Babar's tents in 1529.

After Aurangzeb:

The successors of Babar continued to rule over this place till the early 18th century. After Aurangzeb's death (1707 AD), the territories of Awadh were marked by lawlessness. During the reign of the Mughal Emperor Md. Shah and the tenure of the governorship of Burhan-un-Mulk Saadat Ali Khan, a serious riot took place between the Hindus and the Muslims (1735 AD), the former claiming their right over Ramajanma Bhumi. This is the earliest judicial reference available in this regard so far.

What the Europeans Saw and Wrote?

In 1767 itself, a Jesuit missionary, Joseph Tieffenthaler, who stayed at Ayodhya for a number of days and left behind his account written in Latin, found that in spite of the Mughal Kings' efforts to prevent them, the Hindus had re- occupied the courtyard, raised a 'Rama Chabutara' thereon and worshiped there by circumambulating it three times and finally prostrating before it. On the Rama Navami day they congregated here in lakhs. Significantly, they continued to worship under the domed structure as well. More details are available in the accounts of Montgomery Martin, Edward Thorn- ton, P. Carnegy and others.

Serious Riots:

In 1855 once again a big clash took place in which scores of men were killed; such riots and killings never subsided: There are several historical, judicial and revenue records to prove their occurrences.

During the British Raj:

After the establishment of the British rule in Avadh in 1856, the battle for Janmabhumi was primarily fought in the courts of Law. How- ever, in 1934 a very serious riot took place in which the domes were destroyed to a very large extent. After this, it is common knowledge that the authorities repaired the structure and closed it down for some time. However, it was opened in favour of the Hindus, step by step, after 1949 under various judicial orders.

New Evidence:

In continuation of its earlier efforts, the Historians' Forum feels happy to place in the hands of the public and the government this new uncontrovertible archaeological evidence which proves that there did exist at this very site a magnificient temple, from at least the 11th century, which was destroyed to build a mosque- like structure over the debris of the temple in the 16th century. There is every possibility that there existed at this site one or more temples of still greater antiquity, some of which were built with burnt-bricks in which images of gods and goddesses made of terracotta were installed.



 
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