DNA Exclusive: Unveiling Historical Evidence Of Ancient Temple Underneath Mathuras Shahi Idgah

New Delhi: The Allahabad High Court approved the conduct of a scientific survey on the Shahi Idgah complex at Mathura on Thursday and the Supreme Court upheld the decision Friday and refused to stay the HC’s order. Now the court commissioner will survey in the same manner in which it has been done at the Gyanvapi Temple in Varanasi. 

In Today’s DNA, Zee News Anchor Sourabh Raaj Jain unveiled historical evidences proving the presence of an ancient temple beneath the Shahi Idgah complex at Mathura with the 162-year-old survey report by the Archaeological Survey of India.

160 years ago, the Archaeological Survey of India verified that the Shahi Idgah Mosque in Mathura was constructed atop the remnants of an ancient temple. Throughout the British era (1832-1935), legal records from the District Court of Mathura to the Allahabad High Court consistently acknowledged Hindus as the landowners.

The core dispute revolves around 13.37 acres of land, with 10.9 acres allocated to Shri Krishna’s Janmsthan and 2.5 acres to the Shahi Idgah Mosque based on a 1968 agreement. However, this agreement is contentious. Hindus assert that the area where the Idgah Mosque stands originally housed a temple, demolished by Aurangzeb, with a mosque subsequently erected.

On January 27, 1670, the Muslim invader Aurangzeb issued a decree, documented in Persian and later translated into English in Masir-I-Alamgiri, a book commissioned by Aurangzeb. The decree mandated the demolition of the Keshav Dev temple in Mathura during the holy month of Ramzan, with the temple’s idols to be buried under the stairs of Begum Sahib Masjid in Agra. Additionally, Mathura was renamed Islamabad.

Historians note that following the temple’s demolition as per the decree, the construction of the Shahi Idgah Mosque took place in 1670, utilizing the remains of the razed temple.

In his book “Travels in the Mogul Empire 1656-1666,” Dr. Francois Bernier praises the once-beautiful temple that existed before its destruction. Bernier notes in his writings that there’s little of interest between Delhi and Agra, spanning 50 to 60 leagues (277 to 330 kilometers), except for Mathura, where an ancient and exquisite temple stood. Historians speculate that this temple is the Keshav Rai temple in Mathura, later demolished by Aurangzeb, who replaced it with the Shahi Idgah Mosque.

The Hindu perspective asserts that the Idgah Mosque occupies the spot where Devaki gave birth to Shri Krishna in Kansa’s prison, marking it as the birthplace of Shri Krishna. Consequently, the Hindu side seeks ownership rights over the entire 13.37 acres of land. A petition to this effect was filed in the Mathura Court on September 25, 2020, but it was rejected under the Places of Worship Act 1991. Subsequently, a review petition was filed on October 12, 2020. The Allahabad High Court has now mandated a survey of the Shahi Idgah Mosque in connection with this case.

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