Babri Masjid

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The Babri Masjid (بابری مسجد) was a historic Mughal-era mosque in Ayodhya, India. Located in Faizabad district, it was one of the largest mosques in the Uttar Pradesh state. According to the mosque's inscriptions, it was built in 1528–29 CE (935 Hj.) by Mir Baqi, on orders of the Mughal emperor Babur (after whom it is named).

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Overview

The inscriptions on the Babri Masjid premises found in the 20th century state that the mosque was built in 935 Hj (1528–29 CE) by Mir Baqi in accordance with the wishes of Babur. It is one of the historical mosques in India.

Historical Accounts

circa 1528 CE

Hodges' Account
Hodges visited the ancient city of Ayodhya, then known as "Oudh", at the end of 1783. This view shows the Lakshmana Ghat on the banks of the Ghaghara river. The mosque at the top of the hill is the Babri Masjid, constructed by Babur, the first Mughal king of India, who ruled between 1526 and 1530. The mosque was infamously destroyed by militant Hindus on 6 December 1992."

Plan of the Mosque

circa 1528 CE

The basic plan of the Babri Masjid is reminiscent of the Tughlaq, Lodi and Sharqi architectural traditions. It consists of a western liwan (prayer chamber) divided into aisles and a central nave. All the three are single-bayed, fronted with arched openings and covered with domes. The nave is comparatively larger than the flanking aisles. To the east is a small courtyard which at some later stage was further enlarged with the placement of an outer screen and a gateway.

Architecture

circa 1528 CE

Features
The architectural features of the mosque were a complete a replica of the other mosques in the Delhi Sultanate. Babri masjid was an important mosque of a distinct style, preserved mainly in architecture, developed after the Delhi Sultanate was established. These architectural features could be distinctly seen in the Babari Mosque in the Southern suburb of the walled city of Gaur, and the Jamali Kamili Mosque built by Sher Shah Suri.

circa 1528 CE

Acoustics
"A whisper from the Babri Masjid Mihrab could be heard clearly at the other end, 200 feet [60 m] away and through the length and breadth of the central court" according to Graham Pickford, architect to Lord William Bentinck (1828–33). The mosque's acoustics were mentioned by him in his book Historic Structures of Oudhe where he says "for a 16th-century building the deployment and projection of voice from the pulpit is considerably advanced, the unique deployment of sound in this structure will astonish the visitor".

Archaeological Surveys

circa 1528 CE

2003 Report of ASI
The mosque was located on a hill known as Ramkot ("Rama's stronghold"). According to Hindus, Baqi destroyed a pre-existing temple of Rama at the site. The existence of the temple itself is a matter of controversy. In 2003 CE, a report by the Archaeological Survey of India suggested that there appears to have existed an old structure at the site. But the report does not specify if the structure in nature was a Hindu temple.

Demolition

circa 1528 CE

On 6 December 1992, a large group of Hindu activists belonging to the Vishva Hindu Parishad and allied organisations demolished the mosque, triggering riots all over India, killing around 2,000 people, most of them Muslim. The site has since become a magnet for pilgrims. According to The Economist, "Among its souvenir stalls, those doing the briskest trade are the ones playing videos on a loop of Hindu fundamentalists demolishing the mosque."

See Also

References

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