Aurangzeb is a controversial figure in modern India, often remembered as a murderer of Hindus. During his rule, he tried to expand the Mughal Empire, conquering much of India through long bloody campaigns against non-Muslims. Not only Aurangzeb, many Mugal rulers forcibly converted Hindus to Islam and destroyed temples. Some reports claim that 60,000 temples were demolished under Muslim rule and some temples were destroyed and were converted into mosques.
Out of thousands of them, here is the list of 10 such popular temples converted into a Mosque.
1. Ram Janmabhoomi Temple-Babri Masjid
Many Hindus believe that the land on which the Babri Masjid was built in 1528 is the ‘Ram Janmabhoomi’ (birthplace of the Shri Rama). It was Mir Baqi, one of Mughal king Babur’s generals, who is said to have destroyed the pre-existing temple of Rama and built a mosque called Babri Masjid at the site.
This, however, was denied by the Muslims and several riots were witnessed. On December 6, 1992, the mosque was demolished by angry ‘kar sevaks’.
In 2019, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court had ruled that the 2.77-acre land claimed by both Hindus and Muslims would be handed over to a trust for the building of a temple.
2. The Kashi Vishwanath – Gyanvapi Mosque
Kashi Vishwanath temple is one of the holiest Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. The principal deity is known as Vishwanatha or Vishweshwara, which is another name for Shiva. ‘The temple town is claimed to be the oldest living city in the world, with 3500 years of documented history.
However, the original Jyotirlinga of Kashi Vishwanath was nowhere to be found. It is said that the old temple was demolished as a result of the Mughal attack. Historical records suggest that rulers like Akbar and Aurangzeb destroyed it many times. In 1669, they then built Gyanvapi Mosque in its place. Later in the 1780s, the present temple was erected a few feet from the mosque by Maratha queen Ahilya Bai Holkar.
3. The Krishna Janmabhoomi Temple – Shahi Idgah Mosque
The Krishna Janmabhoomi temple is located in the holy city of Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. The temple is said to have been built by Lord Krishna’s grandson, Vajra. Ancient Hindu texts say that Mathura is the birthplace of the god, and locals believe that the temple was made 5,000 years ago.
Again during the Mugal era, the temple was demolished several times during 1017 AD. After being repaired by Hindu Kings the temple was again destroyed by emperor Aurangzeb and the Shahi Idgah mosque was built above the Krishna Temple. It was a majestic temple and still can be seen from miles away. Now, inside the mosque, one can see broken and disfigured sculptures made up of temple ruins. There is a stone installed by ASI that says that this site was actually made by the ruins of the temple.
4. Rudra Mahalaya – Jami Masjid
This ruined temple of Rudra Mahalaya is located in the Patan district of Gujarat. Located in the town named Siddhpur, the place derives its name from the ruler of Gujarat, named Siddhraj Jaisinh, who built a magnificent Rudra Mahalaya temple in the 12th century AD.
The temple was destroyed by Allauddin Khilji and later Ahmed Shah I ruined this temple and restored some part of it into the conjoint mosque. Years later, the locals found a shrine and Shiva Linga. This led to the erection or completion of the temple. Then Siddharaj put up the images of many great kings in the temple, along with a representation of himself with an inscription saying that, even if the land was ruined, this temple will never be destroyed.
Again, Mughal king Alauddin Khilji sent a strong army and destroyed the temple complex. The temple was further demolished and the western part was converted into a Jami Masjid by Ahmed Shah I of the Muzaffarid dynasty.
5. Bhojshala – Kamal Maula Mosque
Bhojshala is an ancient temple of Mata Saraswati. The temple was built in 1034 AD by Raja Bhoj, the powerful Hindu King whose empire extended from Rajasthan to Odisha and from Madhya Pradesh to Maharashtra. This temple is situated in the Dhar district in Madhya Pradesh, which was the capital of Raja Bhoj.
The process of the Islamic invasion started 36 years before the attack when a Muslim fakir named Kamal Moulana entered Malwa in 1269 AD. He collected information about the Malwa region for 36 years and handed it over to Alauddin Khilj.
Bhojshala was first attacked by infamous and cruel Muslim invader Alauddin Khilji in 1305 AD. After the sacrifices of Hindu king Raja Mahakaldev and his soldiers in the battle, Khilji killed 1200 Hindus in Bhojshala as they refused to convert to Islam.
The Islam emperors tried to convert part of Saraswati Temple Bhojshala into a dargah. Today Muslims offer Namaz in this same Vijay Mandir. Later, Mehmudshah intruded on land outside Saraswati Temple and built ‘Kamal Moulana Makbara’ after 204 years of the death of Kamal Moulana.
Before 1997, Hindus were allowed to take darshan but were not allowed to perform puja. CM Digvijaya Singh issued a draconian order allowing Muslims to offer Namaz in Bhojshala every Friday and barred Hindus even from entering Bhojshala. However, Hindus are now allowed only one day on Vasanta Panchami to enter and perform puja in Bhojshala.
6. Adinath Temple – Adina Mosque
Adinath Temple is located in Pandua, West Bengal. Now known as Adina mosque, it was built by Sikandar Shah in 1358- 90 AD over a lavish ancient Hindu temple which is now said to be one of India’s biggest mosques. History says that the mosque was originally a Hindu temple of Lord Shiva which was demolished and rebuilt into a mosque. The Adina Mosque has many distinct remains of Hindu deities on the gateways and the walls of the mosque. Also, the interiors of the mosque had Hindu carvings and designs. It is one of the finest architectural structures built in Bengal.
One stone slab displays Ganesh while another displays the Nataraj statue of Lord Shiva. Inside the mosque, the stonework is equally clear that the original building was a temple. The name “Adina” of the Adina mosque is also believed to come from the word “Adinath” depicting Lord Shiva.
7. Bhadrakali Temple – Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid, which was constructed in 1424 CE by Ahmed Shah I, is originally a Hindu temple of Goddess Kali. Ahmad Shah I of the Muzaffarid dynasty captured Karnavati in 1411. Located in Ahmedabad, the city’s original names were Bhadra, Karnavati, Rajnagar, and Asaval of different ages. The name Bhadra was named after the Goddess, whose temple was built by the Rajput Parmar kings of Malwa (Rajasthan), who ruled this area between the 9th and 14th centuries.
The temple which is now a mosque is built with a large hall for mass prayers. There are 100 odd surviving pillars in between which have no purpose. Most of the pillars are carved in a typical Hindu temple style and they are carved with stories from the Puranas, Vedas, and Itihasas like Ramayana and Mahabharata. Mosques have large halls or open places where many can offer namaz at a time.
8. Vijay Temple – Bijamandal Mosque
Bijamandal Mosque is located in Vidisha, a city in the state of Madhya Pradesh, around 60km from the capital city of Bhopal. Vidisha is famous for its Masjid and its engaging history. In India, many marvelous Hindu temples were destroyed and converted into mosques during the Islamic era. The Bijamandal Mosque Mosque is another example of a Hindu temple that was looted, demolished, destroyed, and later converted into mosques using the materials from the demolished temples.
The mosque was constructed using the materials of a demolished Hindu temple, dedicated to Goddess Charchika, which was built by the former Paramar Kings.
One of the pillars at the site bears an inscription that suggests that the original temple was dedicated to the presiding deity Vijaya, the goddess, and granter of victory, and was built by King Naravarman of Malwa.
Aurangzeb looted and demolished the temple in 1658-1707 AD. He buried all the precious idols at the northern side of the temple and transformed it into a mosque. Now this place is used as a central prayer hall and mosque for celebrations and large gatherings, especially during Eid.
9. Somnath Temple – Temple Restored
Located on the western coast of Gujarat, Somnath Temple is believed to be the first among the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. It is an important pilgrimage spot in Gujarat. Destroyed and reconstructed several times in the past, the current temple was reconstructed in the Chaulukya style of Hindu temple architecture and completed in May 1951.
In AD 1026, entire temple priests were massacred and the temple valuables were looted during the attack initiated by Mahmud of Ghazni. Then came Afzal Khan, the commander of Alauddin Khilji and later Aurangzeb. It is said that the temple was looted and destroyed as many as seventeen times. The great Temple was ruined again and again until Vallabhai Patel decided to rebuild it.
10. Several Hindu & Jain Temples near Qutub Minar – Qawwat al-Islam Mosque
It is believed that Qutub Minar in Delhi was actually Dhruv Sthambh that existed even before the times of King Vikramaditya and had Arabic scripts installed by Qutb-ud-din Aibak between 1191 – 1210 AD, followed by his successors Iltutmish, Alauddin, etc till 1315 AD. If we look at Qutub Minar from the top angle, it shows a lotus of 24 petals. Lotus is definitely not an Islamic symbol, but it is an age-old Vedic symbol, and the creator Brahma is said to have been born from a lotus that emerged from Lord Vishnu’s navel.
The first mosque near the tower is Qubbat al-Islam or Quwwat al_Islam, Qutubud-Din Aibak, which was constructed after demolishing the Hindu temple built by Prithvi Raj Chauhan.