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Yes,There Was A Temple At The Ayodhya Site

The history of the excavations at Ayodhya proves beyond doubt that the Babri  Masjid was built after destroying a pre existing temple.The court verdicts have recognized the findings.Here is the c complete story:

In 1862-63, Alexander Cunningham, the founder of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), conducted a survey of Ayodhya. Cunnigham identified Ayodhya with Sha-chi mentioned in Fa-Hien’s writings, Visakha mentioned in Xuanzang’s writings and Saketa mentioned in Hindu-Buddhist legends. According to him, Gautama Buddha spent six years at this place. Although Ayodhya is mentioned in several ancient Hindu texts, Cunningham found no ancient structures in the city. According to him, the existing temples at Ayodhya were of relatively modern origin. Referring to legends, he wrote that the old city of Ayodhya must have been deserted after the death of Brihadbala “in the great war” around 1426 BCE. When King Vikramāditya of Ujjain visited the city around first century CE, he constructed new temples at the spots mentioned in Ramayana. Cunningham believed that by the time Xuanzang visited the city in 7th century, Vikramaditya’s temples had “already disappeared”; the city was a Buddhist centre, and had several Buddhist monuments. Cunningham’s main objective in surveying Ayodhya was to discover these Buddhist monuments.

In 1889-91, an ASI team led by Alois Anton Führer conducted another survey of Ayodhya. Führer did not find any ancient statues, sculptures or pillars that marked the sites of other ancient cities. He found “a low irregular mass of rubbish heaps”, from which material had been used for building the neighbouring Muslim city of Faizabad. The only ancient structures found by him were three earthen mounds to the south of the city: ManiparbatKuberparbat and Sugribparbat. Cunningham identified these mounds with the sites of the monasteries described in Xuanzang’s writings. Like Cunningham, Führer also mentioned the legend of the Ramayana-era city being destroyed after death of Brihadbala, and its rebuilding by Vikramaditya. He wrote that the existing Hindu and Jain temples in the city were modern, although they occupied the sites of the ancient temples that had been destroyed by Muslims. The five Digambara Jain temples had been built in 1781 CE to mark the birth places of five tirthankaras, who are said to have been born at Ayodhya. A Svetambara Jain temple dedicated to Ajitanatha was built in 1881. Based on local folk narratives, Führer wrote that Ayodhya had three Hindu temples at the time of Muslim conquest: Janmasthanam (where Rama was born), Svargadvaram (where Rama was cremated) and Treta-ke-Thakur (where Rama performed a sacrifice). According to Führer, Mir Khan built the Babri mosque at the place of Janmasthanam temple in 930 AH (1523 CE). He stated that many columns of the old temple had been utilized by the Muslims for the construction of Babri mosque: these pillars were of black stone, called kasauti by the natives. Führer also wrote that Aurangzeb had built now-ruined mosques at the sites of Svargadvaram and Treta-ke-Thakur temples. A fragmentary inscription of Jayachandra of Kannauj, dated to 1241 Samvat (1185 CE), and a record of a Vishnu temple’s construction were recovered from Aurangazeb’s Treta-ke-Thakur mosque, and kept in Faizabad museum.

The team of archaeologists of the ASI, led by former Director-General ASI (1968–1972), B.B. Lal in 1975–76, worked on a project titled “Archaeology of Ramayana Sites”, which excavated five Ramayana-related sites of Ayodhya, Bharadwaj Ashram, Nandigram, Chitrakoot and Shringaverapura. At Ayodhya, the team found rows of pillar-bases which must have belonged to a larger building than the Babri Mosque. In 2003 statement to the Allahabad High Court, Lal stated that after he submitted a seven-page preliminary report to the Archaeological Survey of India, mentioning the discovery of “pillar bases”, immediately south of the Babri mosque structure in Ayodhya. Subsequently, all technical facilities were withdrawn, and despite repeated requests, the project wasn’t revived for another 10–12 years, despite his repeated request. Thus the final report was never submitted, the preliminary report was only published in 1989, and in Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) volume on historicity of Ramayana and Mahabharat. Subsequently, in his 2008 book, Rama: His Historicity Mandir and Setu, he wrote, “Attached to the piers of the Babri Masjid, there were twelve stone pillars, which carried not only typical Hindu motifs and mouldings, but also figures of Hindu deities. It was self-evident that these pillars were not an integral part of the Masjid, but were foreign to it.”

B. B. Lal’s team also had K. K. Muhammed, who in his autobiography claimed that Hindu temple was found in excavation and said that left historians are misleading the Muslim communities by aligning with fundamentalists.

Accordingly, archaeological findings of burnt bases of pillars made of brick, a few metres from the mosque, indicated that a large temple stood in alignment with the Babri Mosque since the 11th century. In a trench at a distance of four metres south of the mosque, parallel rows of pillar-foundations made of brick-bats and stones were found.

In July 1992, eight eminent archaeologists (among them former ASI directors, Dr. Y.D. Sharma and Dr. K.M. Srivastava) went to the Ramkot hill to evaluate and examine the findings. These findings included religious sculptures and a statue of Vishnu. They said that the inner boundary of the disputed structure rests, at least on one side, on an earlier existing structure, which “may have belonged to an earlier temple”. (Indian Express, 4 July 1992.) The objects examined by them also included terracotta Hindu images of the Kushan period (100-300 AD) and carved buff sandstone objects that showed images of Vaishnav deities and of Shiva-Parvati. They concluded that these fragments belonged to a temple of the Nagara style (900-1200 AD).

Prof. S.P. Gupta commented on the discoveries:

“The team found that the objects were datable to the period ranging from the 10th through the 12th century AD, i.e., the period of the late Pratiharas and early Gahadvals. (….) These objects included a number of amakalas, i.e., the cogged-wheel type architectural element which crown the bhumi shikharas or spires of subsidiary shrines, as well as the top of the spire or the main shikhara … This is a characteristic feature of all north Indian temples of the early medieval period (…) There was other evidence — of cornices, pillar capitals, mouldings, door jambs with floral patterns and others — leaving little doubt regarding the existence of a 10th-12th century temple complex at the site of Ayodhya.”

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) excavated the Ram Janambhoomi/Babri Mosque site at the direction of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court Uttar Pradesh in 2003. The archaeologists also reported evidence of a large structure pre-existed the Babri Masjid. A team of 131 labourers, including 52 Muslims was engaged in the excavations. On 11 June 2003 the ASI issued an interim report that only listed the findings of the period between 22 May and 6 June 2003. In August 2003 the ASI handed a 574-page report to the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court.

The ASI, who examined the site, issued a report of the findings of the period between 22 May and 6 June 2003. This report stated:Among the structures listed in the report are several brick walls ‘in east-west orientation’, several ‘in north-south orientation’, ‘decorated coloured floor’, several ‘pillar bases’, and a ‘1.64-metre high decorated black stone pillar (broken) with figurines on four corners’ as well as inscription of holy verses on stone in Arabic language” 

Earlier reports by the ASI, based on earlier findings, also mention among other things a staircase and two black basalt columns ‘bearing fine decorative carvings with two crosslegged figures in bas-relief on a bloomed lotus with a peacock whose feathers are raised upwards’.

The excavations gave ample traces that there was a mammoth pre-existing structure beneath the three-domed Babri structure.

Ancient perimeters from East to West and North to South have been found beneath the Babri structure. Beautiful stone pieces bearing carved Hindu ornamentations like lotus, Kaustubh jewel, alligator facade, etc., were used in these walls. These decorated architectural pieces were anchored with precision at varied places in the walls. A tiny portion of a stone slab is sticking out at a place below 20 feet in one of the pits. The rest of the slab lies covered in the wall. The projecting portion bears a five-letter Devanagari inscription that turns out to be a Hindu name claimed by VHP but is disputed and thus still unproven whether it is a Hindu name or not. The items found below 20 feet should be at least 1,500 years old. According to archaeologists about a foot of loam layer gathers on topsoil every hundred years. Primary clay was not found even up to a depth of 30 feet. It provides a clue to the existence of some structure at that place over the last 2,500 years.

More than 30 pillar bases have been found at equal spans. The pillar-bases are in two rows and the rows are parallel. The pillar-base rows are in North-South direction. A wall is superimposed upon another wall. At least three layers of the floor are visible. An octagonal holy fireplace (Yagna Kund) was found. These facts prove the enormity of the pre-existing structure. Surkhii has been used as a construction material in our country for over 2,000 years and, in the constructions at the Janma Bhumi, Surkhii has been extensively used. Molded bricks of round and other shapes and sizes were neither in vogue during the Middle Ages nor are they in use today. It was in vogue only 2,000 years ago. Many ornate pieces of touchstone (Kasauti stone) pillars have been found in the excavation. Terracotta religious figures, serpent, elephant, horse-rider, saints, etc., have been found.
The Supreme Court order recognised the deity Ram Lalla’s title rights to the disputed 2.77-acre Ayodhya land.In its judgment, the Supreme Court referred to an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) report to observe that the Babri Masjid, which stood on the disputed site until its demolition in 1992, was not built on vacant land and that there was evidence of a temple-like structure having existed on the land before the mosque was built.

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