Sunday, July 15, 2007

Aurangzeb -- As he was according to Mughal Records -- Part XI-- Demolition of Jagannatha temple Orissa and Bindu Madhav Banaras

Orders for the demolition of Jagannath Temple, Orissa
Siyah Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i-Mualla
Julus 24, Jamadi T. 23 / 1st June 1681

The emperor ordered Asad Khan that in accordance with the (existing) orders to write to Amir-Ul-Umara, the Subedar of Bengal, to demolish the temple (butkhana) of Jagannath in Orissa.

Note: The sacred Jagannath temple at Puri in Orissa is situated in Shankha Kshetra. Puri is a well known centre of pilgrimage in Eastern India on the sea shore of Bay of Bengal. It is said that there was a Buddhist shrine here in ancient times. After the great revival of Hinduism, it became an important Vaishhnavite centre and images of Krishna, Balram and Subhadra were installed in the temple.

It is difficult to say who built this magnificient temple, but we certainly know that it was restored in the 9th C by Yayati Kesari and it was renovated by King Chand Gangadeva in the 12th C, and a few decades later Anang Bhim Deva of the same dynasty (Ganga Vamsha) restored the shrine completely. The structure which stands today is the same, though it suffered damage from time ti time at the hands of Musalman invaders, such as by Sultan Firuz Tughlaq in 1360 A.D. The temple was partly demolished but the local people continued to visit the temple for worship soon after the original temple was restored.

The temple records information that one of the queens of Raja Man Singh of Amber when he was the governor of Bengal and Orissa during Akbar's time added a mandap in this temple in the 16th C. A Maratha sardar of the Bhonsle family restored the Bhog mandap later. The temple was visited by eminent Vaishnava saints -- Ramanuja in 1122 and 1137 and Chaitanya in the 15th C.

Demolition of Bindu Madhav temple at Banaras
Siyah Akhbarat-i-Darbar-i-Mualla
Julus 26,
Ramzan 20 / 13 September 1682

Complying with the orders, Rafi-ul-Amin, the Diwan of Banaras has sent the report that the temple of Nand Madho (Bindu Madhav) has been demolished and after this affair, awaits whatever orders are given regarding constructing a mosque there. The emperor ordered that a mosque be built there.

Note: Temple of Bindu- Madhava -- "The most important Vishnu temple in Varanasi since the 5th C A.D. finds mention, along with Adi Keshava, in the Matsya Purana, as one of the five most important tirthas in Varanasi. It was demolished during every inconoclastic storm and was every time rebuilt". The deity was reconsecrated in a grand temple built by Raja Man Singh of Amber in the 16th C. The temple was demolished and a mosque was constructed here, as the Akhbar of R. Yr. 26, Ramzan 20 / 13 September 1682, displayed here records.

The present temple was built by the Raja of Aundh (Satara, Maharashtra) in the 19th C. The temple is highly respected among the South Indians; Bindu-Madhava is respected as Vishnu-Kanchi of South India. A large number of devotees visit the temple, especially in the month of March.

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