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