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A TIMELINE OF AYODHY

Nicole Elfi & Michel Danino


Paper presented at a Conference on the Ramayana in Literature, Society and the Arts
organized by the C.P. Ramaswamy Aiyar Foundation on February 1 & 2, 2013, Chennai and
published in its Proceedings (CPR Publications, Chennai, 2014, pp. 80118).
Ayodhy, also known as Avadh, Audh or Oudh, and variously spelt Ajodhy, Ayojjh or
Ayudh, is a city in Faizabad district of Uttar Pradesh, India, situated on the bank of the
river SarayGharghara, modern Ghghr or Gogr (Bhattacharyya 1999: 80).
Ayodhy is one of Indias seven sacred cities, an ancient seat of learning and an
age-old pilgrimage destination. In Buddhist or Jain texts the site is referred to as Sketa,
sometimes Vinta, by which is meant, as in the Rmyaa, the capital of the country of
Kosala, one of the sixteen Mahjanapadas or proto-republics of the Ganges civilization.
In Buddhist, Jain, Epic and Puric literatures, Ayodhy is known as the great city of the
Ikvkus, a line of kings of the solar dynasty. The Buddha is said to have stayed there for
several years. According to Jain tradition, the 1
st
, 2
nd
, 4
th
, 5
th
and 14
th
Trthakaras were
born at Ayodhy into the Ikvku line.
So was Rma, considered the very incarnation of dharma and the heart of the
Rmyaa epic, which paints a glorious picture of Ayodhy. Much of what follows applies
to the spot traditionally associated by Hindus with his birthplace, or Rm Janmabhmi;
located within an area known as Rmkot (Rmas fort), it towers over the rest of the
city. Having seen at some point of time the construction of a mosque known as Babri
Masjid, this spot has been for centuries a bone of contention between Hindus and
Muslims (we will often refer to it as disputed site).
This paper, the first draft of a work in progress, attempts till the close of the 19
th

century to collate in chronological order what several disciplines archaeology,
epigraphy and history in particular have contributed to our knowledge of this ancient
city, allowing important stages and events to unfold before our eyes.
Religious literature is of little help in this effort, in view of the near-impossibility
of securely dating the texts. The Skanda-Pura, for instance, asserts that One who visits
Ayodhya the way enjoined sheds all ones sins and finds ones abode in the house of Hari
(Hari-mandira). ... For one who takes bath in the Svargadvra and visits the Rma temple
(Rmlaya) nothing remains to be done here and he has fulfilled his duty. (Skanda-Pura
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 2
II, Vaiava-Khaa (2), Badarikrama-Mhtmya (3) 1.24) The text also refers to
Rmjanmasthna once, janmasthna twice, and Janmabhmi twice. (Skanda-Purna II,
Vaiava-Khaa (2), Ayodhy-Mhtmya (8) 10.18, 19, 22, both references from Narain

1993: 12) But as these important references could have been composed at any time
between the Gupta and the early medieval eras, we cannot use them for our purpose.
As regards archaeology, surveys and excavations at Ayodhy have been carried
out on several occasions since the 19
th
century: Alexander Cunningham, first director-
general of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), conducted a survey of the region in
186263. A.K. Narain of Banaras Hindu University excavated Ayodhy by laying three
trenches at three different sites considerably away from the disputed temple-mosque in
1969 and 1970. Later, from 1975 to 1980, B.B. Lal, a former Director-General of the ASI,
laid 14 trenches including one at the disputed site as part of a large Central Government
project, Archaeology of the Rmayaa Sites. (Narain 1993: 48) Finally, from 12
th
March
to 7
th
August 2003, following the directions of the Allahabad High Court, Lucknow Bench,
90 trenches were excavated (Sharma 2011: 46).
The 2003 excavations brought to light nine distinct periods:
Period I: Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW), c. 1300300 BCE
Period II: Shunga period, 2
nd
1
st
century BCE
Period III: Kushan period, 1
st
3
rd
century CE
Period IV: Gupta period, 4
th
6
th
century CE
Period V: Post-Gupta to Rajput period, 7
th
10
th
century CE
Period VI: Early medieval period, 11
th
12
th
century CE
Period VII: Medieval-Sultanate period, 12
th
16
th
century CE
Period VIII: Mughal period
Period IX: Late and post-Mughal period
The senior archaeologist A.K. Sharma summarizes the stratigraphical aspect of the
findings thus:
At the site in question right from the virgin soil, beginning with the
circular Shiva Shrine [in Period V] up to the working floor of the disputed
structure [the Babri Masjid], only religious structural remains associated with
antiquities of religious nature have been found. The continuous nature of 10.80
metre thick deposit accounts for nine cultural periods beginning from N.B.P.
level of 6
th
Century B.C. to 15
th
Century A.D. and clearly indicates that the site
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 3
was never abandoned and was never used for habitational purpose. When one
temple fell into disuse either due to natural calamity or natural decay,
immediately new religious structure was raised. ... At the site there is no
stratigraphical gap or any hiatus. (Sharma 2011: 38, italics ours)
Notes: We have not used diacritical marks for contemporary names of places or persons.
We have left the usage of quoted authors unchanged as far as spelling, diacritical marks
and punctuation are concerned, but have sometimes silently corrected grammatical or
punctuation errors (especially in quotations from the 2003 judgements of the Allahabad
High Court). Events are usually entered under their dates, while general statements made
by various authors are normally entered under their dates of publication.

*
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 4

A plan of Ayodhya (from the 2010 judgement of the Allahabad High Court). The pink
rectangle represents the Babri Masjid Rm Janmabhmi complex.

A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 5

A plan of the Babri Masjid Rm Janmabhmi complex at Ayodhya, from the 2010
judgement of the Allahabad High Court, Lucknow Bench.

A general view of the 2003 excavations conducted at the disputed site (here, southern
area) by the ASI under the order of the Allahabad High Court, Lucknow Bench.
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 6
Timeline
1250300 BCE The ancient mound covers about a square kilometre (Dikshit 2003: 114),
with a cultural deposit of 10.80 m divided into nine periods, testifying to
a continuous occupation (Sharma 2011: 26).
Period I (2003 excavations): The human activity at the [Ram
JanmabhumiBabri Masjid] site dates back to circa thirteenth century
B.C. on the basis of the scientific dating method providing the only
archaeological evidence of such an early date of the occupation of the
site. (Sharma 2011: 48)
People using Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW), a pottery type
generally associated with the urbanization of the Ganges plains, were the
first occupants of the site in Ayodhy. Given the limited extent of the
excavations, no structural remains have come to light; among the recent
finds are terracotta figurines of female deities with archaic features,
beads of terracotta and glass, wheels and fragments of votive tanks, and
a round signet with a legend in Aokan Brhm.
2
nd
1
st
c. BCE Period II (2003 excavations): The Shunga period: Ayodhy is conquered
by the Shungas with the assistance of Indo-Greeks in 190 BCE. Finds
include terracotta mother goddess, human and animal figurines, beads,
hairpins, engravers, and a pottery collection including black slipped, red
and grey wares. A stone-and-brick structure marks the beginning of the
structural activity at the site (Sharma 2011: 46).
During excavation the remains of one primary and two secondary
shrines which formed part of the whole Hindu temple complex, were
found. ... By primary temple, I mean the main Deity to which the
structure is dedicated. Structurally some walls have been found even
in 1
st
2
nd
century B.C. thus the primary temple structure was at a lower
level whereas the secondary temple structure was at upper level. The
primary temple structure can be ascribed to 1
st
2
nd
century B.C. (the
Indian archaeologist and epigraphist R. Nagaswamys testimony of 2006,
recorded in Sharma 2010, Annexure III: 17273)
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 7
2
nd
-1
st
c. BCE Kaumb (modern Kosam, Allahabad
district, Uttar Pradesh): A terracotta
figure depicts Rvaa carrying away St;
she drops down her ornaments in the
hope that they will help in tracing her
(Lal 2008: 36).
1
st
c. CE A Tibetan text refers to the conquest of
Sketa by the Kushan king Kanishka.
1
st
3
rd
c. CE Period III (2003 excavations): The
Kushan period, with the creation of
large-size structures (Sharma 2011: 47).
In 1992 a team of archaeologists
including Y.D. Sharma, K.M. Srivastava
and S.P. Gupta found, at the eastern
periphery of the disputed site, the remains of at least three rammed
floors datable to three different phases, one going back to the Kushan
period, as well as two walls built of several courses of burnt bricks, and a
number of terracotta images of gods and goddesses of the same period
(Gupta 1995: 113).
From Period III to Period IX there were non-residential structural
activities of large dimension in the area. (Sharma 2011: 26)
131-159 CE The Nasik (Maharashtra) cave inscription of the 19
th
regnal year of the
Stavhana king Vsishhputra Puumvi eulogizes the kings father,
Gautamputra Stakarni, whom it compares to Nbhga, Nahua,
Janamejaya, Sagara, Yayti, Rma and Ambara in strength and
splendour (Sircar 1980: 325-326, quoted in Jain 2013: 69).
Mid 2
nd
c. CE Kaumb: An inscription on a stone slab records some pious act
performed by a ghapati [householder] along with his son in
connection with Bhagavat (God) Rma-Nryaa. The adjective Bhagavat
being in genitive singular, it is apparent that the intention was probably
to record the erection of a shrine of the god or installation of his image
or some emblem. (Shukla 1990: 207-12) According to the late
epigraphist Ajay Mitra Shastri, Although the date is lost irretrievably,
the palaeographic features, the mode of dating and the employment of
Prakrit clearly show that the inscription belongs to about the middle of
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 8
the second century AD. This record is of inestimable value despite its
highly damaged condition for the history of the Rma cult. (Shastri
1993: 36)
The Alexandrian astronomer, mathematician and geographer Ptolemy
makes a mention of Ayodhy in his Outline of Geography, under the name
of Sagda (Sketa).
3
rd
c. CE Nachara Khera (Haryana): A terracotta
figurine believed to have come from
here (currently in the Los Angeles
County Museum of Art, USA) portrays
Rma, whose name is inscribed in
Brhm characters of the 3
rd
century CE
(Lal 2008: 37).
Ngrjunako (Andhra Pradesh): A
stone panel depicts Bharatas meeting
with Rma at Chitraka (Banerjee 1986,
vol. II, pl. 77, reproduced in Lal 2008: 41).
3
rd
4
th
c. CE Bagh (Dhar District, Madhya Pradesh): A
copper-plate of Mahrja Bhulunda
registers the grant of five villages for
the performance of the rites called bali, charu and sattra of the god
Vishnu who had broken the pride of Bali, Naraka, Namuchi, the Kei
horse, the Kliya snake, Daavadana (the Ten-headed, Rvaa), Kasa,
Chra, Arish and Siupla, who as Varha (Boar incarnation)
retrieved the lost earth (Shastri 19921993: 36, with reference to
Ramesh & Tewari 1990). The mention of Rvaa, killed by the divinised
hero Rma, leads Ajay Mitra Shastri to conclude that by the third
quarter of the fourth century A.D., Rma had been completely identified
with Vishu. (Shastri 19921993: 23, 36, 39)
4
th
c. CE Nachara Khera (Haryana): Several inscribed terracotta panels
ascribable to the 4
th
c. CE depict scenes from the Rmyaa (two of them
reproduced in Lal 2008: 3839).
4
th
to 6
th
c. Period IV (2003 excavations): Finds of ... typical terracotta figurines
and a copper coin with the legend Sri Chandra (Gupta) and illustrative
potsherds. (Sharma 2011: 46)
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 9
423 CE Inscription of the Aulikara ruler Vivavarman, in Gangdhar (Jhalawar
District, Rajasthan), describes the king as a standard of comparison even
for Rma and Bhagratha (Sircar 1979: 29, quoted in Jain 2013: 69).
5
th
c. Nachana-Kuthara (Madhya Pradesh): A stone panel depicts Rvaa,
disguised as an ascetic, at Sts cottage in Pachavat (reproduced in Lal
2008: 38-39).
The Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Fa-Hien (Faxian) visited Ayodhya.
6
th
c. Varhamihira in Bhat Samhit (57.30) spells out the respective heights
(in agulas or digits) for various statues of gods; Rma is listed among the
tallest images, which confirms the importance of his cult by that time:
Both Sri Rma, son of Daaratha, and Bali, son of Virochana, should be
made 120 digits high. The heights of other images, superior, medium and
inferior ones, are less by 12 digits in succession, i.e. 108, 96 and 84 digits
in order. (Bhat 1982: 556)
c. 636 The Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Hsan-tsang (Xuanzang) visits A-yu-to,
identified with Ayodhy; he mentions the existence of over 100 Buddhist
monasteries and 3,000 monks, who were students of Mahyna and
Hnayna, and ten deva temples; according to him, the non-Buddhists
were few in number. (Law 1967: 77)
7
th
8
th
c. Ppantha temple (Pattadakala, Karnataka): A stone panel depicts the
construction of a bridge over the sea (reproduced in Lal 2008: 42).
7
th
10
th
c. The circular shrine. Period V (2003 excavations): This is the post-
Gupta to Rajput period, during which structures are mainly
constructed of burnt bricks. Among them was found a small circular
shrine (about 1.5 x 1.5 m), with a square inner chamber, an entrance
from the east and a provision for a prala or water chute in the north,
which is a distinct feature of contemporary temples already known
from the Ganga-Yamuna plain. (Sharma 2011: 32, 46-47)
The existence of a circular shrine with prala towards north proves the
existence of a Hindu temple. ... As this seems to be a secondary shrine
dedicated to Shiva in his liga form, the shrine is built to smaller
dimensions. Smaller dimensions of subsidiary shrines with just
minimum entrance space are seen in some temples ... [This shrine]
proves beyond doubt the existence of a Hindu temple under the surface
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 10
of the disputed structure. (R. Nagaswamys testimony of 2006, quoted in
Sharma 2010, Annexure III: 16667)

The circular shrine of Period V, seen from the east.
75253 Kku plate inscription (Tamil Nadu): One of the predecessors of
Nandivarman, namely Narasihavarman, is mentioned as having
surpassed the glory of the valour of Rma by (his) conquest of Laka.
Again (in verse 29), Nandivarman himself is stated to resemble Rma in
archery. (Lal 2008: 1)
9
th
c. Prmbanam temple (Indonesia): A stone panel depicts the subduing of
the sea by Rma (reproduced in Lal 2008: 47).
950 Sri Kalyana Varadaraja Perumal temple (Paruthiyur, Thanjavur
district, Tamil Nadu): one of the oldest icons of Rma in the form of an
early Chola bronze statue (Bakker 1986: I-65, quoted in Sharma 2010,
Annexure IV: 18).
950970 Jaina temple of Prvantha in Khajuraho: Two images of Rma are
depicted on the outer wall. The first one represents Rma holding the
bow and arrow; the other shows him with four arms, holding the arrow
... in his upper right and lower left hand, with his lower right hand
blessing Hanumat and his upper left hand embracing Sita. (Bakker 1986:
1-63, quoted in Sharma 2010, Annexure IV: 17).
11
th
c. In Cambodia, construction of the Angkor Wat temple with many stone
panels depicting scenes from the Mahbhrata and the Rmyaa.
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 11
1030-1080 The site was attacked by iconoclasts in the 11
th
century, once around
1030 CE and again around 1080 CE; the idols suffered and disappeared. No
icons have been left in the site except a mutilated sculpture called Divine
Couple. (R. Nagaswamys testimony of 2006, quoted in Sharma 2010,
Annexure III: 179)
1033 Slr Masds attack on Ayodhy. Sayyad Slr Masad was the son
of Slr Sh, one of the generals of Sultan Mahmd [of Ghazni] and of
Sitr Mualla, own sister of that conqueror. He was born in the year 1015
A.D., and passed his youth in the field, accompanying his father and his
uncle in the victorious campaigns which time after time laid waste the
northwest of India and made Mahmd its master, though not its
possessor. ... [Later] Sayyad Slr, inspired by martial and religious
fervour, begged to be allowed to carry the sword and Islm into the
interior of Hindustan. ...
After ten days march the invader [Sayyad Slr Masad] reached
Satrikh, which is said at that time to have been the most flourishing of
all towns and cities of India. It was moreover a sacred shrine of the
Hindus and abounded in good hunting grounds. This place has been
identified with Satrikh in the Bara Banki district, but its description
tallies better with Ajodhya, the old name of which is Vesakh. Here Slr
Masad fixed his head-quarters, sending out his lieutenants on every
side to proselytize and conquer the country. ...
The date of arrival in Bahraich
1
is fixed as the 17
th
of Shbn in the year
423 H. = 1033 A.D. In the neighbourhood of Bahraich there was a tank
with an image of the sun on its banks, a shrine sacred in the eyes of all
the unbelievers, and Masad, whenever he passed by it, was wont to say
that he would like to have the spot for a dwelling place, when he would,
if it pleased God, through the power of the spiritual sun, destroy the
worship of the material.
The Res [rjas] of the country who were at first daunted by the
presence of the young warrior gradually took heart and assembled in
force on the banks of the river Kosla. This was probably the Kaurila, in
the direction of which stream the Hindus would naturally retire before a

1
Bahraich is a city some 100 km northwest of Faizabad/Ayodhya.
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 12
foe advancing from Ajodhya. Masad defeated them there, time after
time, until the arrival of Sohar-Deo or Suhel-Deo in the unbelievers
camp turned the tide of battle in their favour. They now closed in on
Masads quarters at Bahraich, and on the 18
th
day of the month Rajjab-
ul-Murajjab in the year 424 H. = 1034 A.D., the Prince of Martyrs fell with
all his followers. (Gazetteer of the Province of Oudh, 1877: 11113)
109293 Chandradevas visit to Ayodhy. The Chandrvat plates of the
Ghaavla king Chandradeva, dated V.S. 1150 (A.D. 109293), inform us
that the king visited Ayodhy and performed various rites, including the
worship of god Vsudeva, i.e. Vishu. (Shastri 199293: 37)
1184 More epigraphic evidence. The German Indologist and expert on
Ayodhy, Hans T. Bakker, notes another inscription of the same period
has been noted: About 250 m to the south-east of the Svargadvara
mosque is [the] ruin of another masjid very similar to the former. The
two mosques stand symmetrically on both sides of the main bathing
ghats, which are collectively called Svargadvara. The eastern mosque,
built at the same time as the other one, replaces an old Visnu temple
built by the last Gahadavala king Jayacandra in AD 1184. An inscription
found in the ruins of the mosque testifies to the construction of this
Vaisnava temple. (Bakker 1986: 5254, quoted in Sharma 2010,
Annexure IV, p. 14)
This is a description of the above inscription by the nineteenth-century
the German archaeologist A. Fhrer: Inscription No. XLIV is written in
twenty incomplete lines on a white sandstone, broken off at either end,
and split in two parts in the middle. It is dated Savat 1241, or A.D. 1184,
in the time of Jayachchhandra of Kanauj, whose praises it records for
erecting a Vaishava temple, from whence this stone was originally
brought and appropriated by Aurangzb in building his masjid known as
Tret-k-Thkur. The original slab was discovered in the ruins of this
Masjid, and is now in the Faizbd Local Museum. (Fhrer 1889: 68)
(This inscription is now in the possession of the State Museum,
Lucknow.) Bakker explains that Tret-k-Thkur derives from the
Sanskrit Tretntha, i.e. Lord of the Tretyuga or Rma.
Bakker sums up: In conclusion we may say that there is evidence for the
existence of five Visnu temples in Ayodhya in the twelfth century: 1)
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 13
Harismrti (Guptahari) at the Gopratara ghat, 2) Visnuhari at the
Cakratirtha, 3) Candrahari on the west side of the Svargadvara ghats, 4)
Dharmahari on the east side of the Svargadvara ghats, 5) a Visnu temple
on the Janmabhumi. Three of these temples have been replaced by
mosques and one was swept away by the Sarayu. The fate of the fifth is
unknown but the site is occupied today by a new Guptahari/Cakrahari
temple. (Bakker, 1986: 52-54, quoted in Sharma 2010, Annexure IV, pp.
1516)
1194 Shahabuddins question. Ayodhya was under attack by the Afghans
throughout the 11
th
and 12
th
century and was finally taken in 1194 A.D.,
writes Muslim scholar and former MP Syed Shahabuddin; Assuming
that the local dynasty had constructed a temple on the site where Babri
Masjid stands, how did the Mandir survive the fanatical zeal of the
Afghans and the Turks for nearly 350 years? (Shahabuddin

1990)
An answer to this question arises in the course of a debate in the Indian
Express, where late Abhas Chatterjee, former Indian Civil Servant, scholar
and social worker, explains that History is replete with instances of
famous Hindu temples like those at Kashi, Mathura, Hardwar, Ayodhya,
and Delhi which were destroyed by Aurangzeb late in the seventeenth
century. How had these temples survived the earlier Muslim rulers?
The simple historical fact is that many Hindu shrines survived Muslim
rule for varying periods until they were eventually destroyed and some
escaped destruction till the end. (Chatterjee

1990, in Goel 1998: 193-95)
10
th
12
th
c. The late archaeologist S.P. Gupta records how in July 1992 a team of
archaeologists from ASI went to examine the 40 and odd art and
architectural fragments of an ancient Hindu temple which had been
found in an ancient pit by the officials of the Government of Uttar
Pradesh who were engaged in levelling the ground on the eastern and
the southern flanks of the Rmajanmabhmi. The team found that the
objects were datable to the period ranging from 10
th
through the 12
th

century AD, i.e., of the Late Pratiharas and Early Gahadvals. These
objects included a number of malakas, i.e. the cogged-wheel type
architectural element which crown the bhmi shikharas or spires of
subsidiary shrines, as well as the top of the spire of the main shikhara or
pyramidal structure built over the garbha-griha or sanctum sanctorum, in
which the image of the principal deity is kept and worshipped. ... [They]
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 14
also included fragments of various types of jla or mesh-like decorations
which adorned the spire, several types of cornices, pillar capitals,
mouldings as well as door-jambs with meandering floral patterns.
Images of chakrapurusha, Paraurma, Mtridev, Shiva and Prvat
provide further proof to their being members of a 10
th
-12
th
century
Hindu temple-complex. (Gupta 1995: 114)
11
th
12
th
c. Evidence for a Hindu temple. Periods VI & VII (2003 excavations): In
this early medieval period, a huge structure, nearly 50 m in north-south
orientation was constructed which seems to have been short-lived, as
only four of the fifty pillar bases exposed during the excavation belong
to this level with a brick crush floor. On the remains of the above
structure was constructed a massive structure with at least three
structural phases and three successive floors attached with it. The
architectural members of the earlier short-lived massive structure with
stencil-cut foliage pattern and other decorative motifs were reused in
the construction of the monumental structure having a huge pillared
hall (or two halls) which is different from residential structures,
providing sufficient evidence of a construction of public usage which
remained under existence for a long time during the period VII (...
twelfth to sixteen century A.D.). (Sharma 2011: 47)

A few of the pillar bases brought to light during the 2003 excavations
(here in the northern area)
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 15
There is sufficient proof of existence of a massive and monumental
structure having a minimum dimension of 50 x 30 m in north-south and
east-west directions respectively just below the disputed structure. In
course of present excavations nearly 50 pillar bases with brickbat
foundation, below calcrete blocks topped by sandstone blocks were
found. The pillar bases exposed during the present excavation in
northern and southern areas also give an idea of the length of the
massive wall of the earlier construction with which they are associated
and which might have been originally around 60 m (of which the 50 m
length is available at present). The centre of the central chamber of the
disputed structure falls just over the central point of the length of the
massive wall of the preceding period which could not be excavated due
to presence of Ram Lala at the spot in the make-shift structure [i.e., the
makeshift temple erected after the demolition of the disputed structure].
This area is roughly 15 x 15 m on the raised platform. Towards east of
this central point a circular depression with projection on the west, cut
into the large sized brick pavement, signify the place where some
important object was placed. ... The area below the disputed site thus
remained a place for public use for a long time till the period VIII
(Mughal level) when the disputed structure was built which was
confined to a limited area ... (Sharma 2011: 47)
There has been continuous building activity in 11
th
century when a big
temple structure was erected which consisted of all the important parts
of temple architecture found in North India (R. Nagaswamys
testimony of 2006, quoted in Sharma 2010, Annexure III: 17071)
11
th
- 12
th
c. Epigraphic evidence. The Indian History and Culture Society arranged
a three-day (10
th
13
th
October 1992) all-India workshop and seminar on
Archaeology and History of Ayodhya, [which] was attended by 40
delegates [The scholars] added at least two more and most vital pieces
of archaeological evidence one, epigraphical and second,
architectural. The former ... is the letter si found engraved on the top
portion of the black stone pillar fixed on the outer left side of the main
entrance to the central domed-room. Palaeographically, it is in the
Nagari script of 11
th
-12
th
century AD. In Sanskrit it stands for Shr, the
Goddess Lakshmi. ... A year later, a similar black stone-pillar inscribed
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 16
with the same letter (si) in the same location of the pillar, the capital,
was found re-erected in a small triangular park [nearby].
The architectural evidence came to light in the form of a fragmentary
wall over which ran the outer boundary wall of the disputed structure. It
means that the Muslims used a part of the temple wall to build the
boundary wall of the mosque. (Gupta 1995: 11617)
Among the stone pieces with carvings found after demolition of the
disputed structure, on 6 December 1992, three had inscriptions in Nagari
script of the 11
th
-12
th
century: Two of these are fragmentary and datable
palaeographically to a period fifty years later than the third inscription.
These were found deeply and clearly cut and engraved on a pillar,
unfortunately found broken vertically in two parts (). These
fragmentary inscriptions bear the names of some Gods and some kings,
in genealogical sequence, and courtiers. (Gupta 1995: 118)
Mid12
th
c. Inscription on a stone slab. The third inscription, running in as
many as 20 lines, is found engraved on a 5ft. long, 2ft. broad and 2.5
inches thick slab of buff sandstone, apparently a very heavy tablet
Three-fourths of the first line is found obliterated anciently. The last line
is also not complete since it was anciently subjected to chipping off. A
portion of the central part is found battered, maybe some one tried to
deface it anciently. The patination is, however, uniform all over the
surface ... (Gupta 1995: 118-119)
According to Ajay Mitra Shastri, The inscription is composed in high-
flown Sanskrit verse, except for a very small portion in prose, and is
engraved in the chaste and classical Ngar script of the eleventh-twelfth
century A.D. It was evidently put up on the wall of the temple, the
construction of which is recorded in the text inscribed on it. (Shastri
199293: 37)
Another respected epigraphist, K.V. Ramesh, states: The inscription is
not in any way dated, but may be assigned, with confidence, to the
middle of the 12
th
century on palaeographical grounds as well as the
internal evidence provided by the inscriptional text in question. The
most important internal historical information we get from this
epigraph is the mention of Govindachandra, obviously of the Gahadavala
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 17
dynasty, who ruled over a fairly vast empire from 1114 to 1155 A.D.
(Ramesh 20022003: 98)

Inscription on a stone slab, ascribable to the middle of the 12
th
century
A few readings from this inscription make it clear that it was part of a
magnificent temple located at Ayodhy and dedicated to Rma (called
Viu-Hari but identifiable as the destroyer of Rvaa):
By him, who was meditating in his mind on the earliest means of
quickly jumping across the ocean of worldly attachments, was erected
this beautiful temple of Viu-Hari, [on a scale] never before done by the
preceding kings, compactly formed [i.e., built] with rows of large and
lofty stones which have been sculpted out. (Line 14-15, verse 21)
By him, who was of good conduct, and abhorred strife, while residing at
Ayodhy, which had towering abodes, intellectuals and temples, Sketa-
Maala
1
was endowed with thousands of wells, reservoirs, alms-houses,
tanks. (Line 17, verse 24)
Separating [the demon] Hirayakaipu from his skeleton, subduing [the
demon] Ba in battle, tearing asunder the arms of the [demon-] king
Bali, and performing many valorous deeds, having killed the evil ten-
headed [Danana, i.e. Rvana] ... (Line 18-19, verse 27)

1
Maala here refers to an administrative division of those times. Sketa-Maala probably refers to
such a division centred on Ayodhy.
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 18
And now, the fierce arms of the ruler annihilate even the fear caused by
the western [i.e., the Islamic invaders from the west]. (Line 19-20, verse
28) (Ramesh 20022003: 103).
c. 1500 Guru Nnaks visit to Ayodhya. According to Bh Mani Singhs Poth
Janam Skh of 1730, Guru Nnak visited Ayodhy and said to his Muslim
disciple Mardn: Mardn! This Ayodhy city belongs to ri
Rmachandra J. Therefore, let us have its darana. (Bh Mani Singh,
quoted in Narain 1993: 14) Again, according to Bh Bl Wl Janam Skh
composed in 1883, the Sikh Guru said: Bh Bl! This city belongs to
r Rmachandra J. Here r Rmachandra J took incarnation and
performed (human) deeds. Therefore, walk with caution. (Bh Bl Wl
Janam Skh, quoted in Narain 1993: 15) A third account is found in Bb
Sukhbs Rm Beds Guru Nnak Ban Praksha of 1829: Guru Nnak left
the place with Mardna and reached Ayodhy by which the Saray river
flows. After bathing in the Saray, he gazed at Rma for darana and
then left overjoyed and earning his merit. (Quoted in Narain 1993: 15)
This implies that a temple to Rma still existed early in the 16
th
century.
Early 16
th
c. Destruction of a temple of classic north Indian style. Period VIII
(2003 excavations): It was over the top of this construction [the temple
of Period VI] during the early sixteenth century A.D. that the disputed
structure [the Bbr mosque] was constructed directly resting over it.
(Sharma 2011: 47)
The Honble High Court, in order to get sufficient archaeological
evidence on the issue involved whether there was any temple/structure
which was demolished and mosque was constructed on the disputed
site, ... had given directions to the Archaeological Survey of India to
excavate where the Ground Penetration Radar [GPR] survey has
suggested evidence of anomalies which could be structure, pillars,
foundation walls, slab flooring etc. which could be confirmed by
excavation. Now, viewing in totality and taking into account the
archaeological evidence of a massive structure just below the disputed
structure and evidence of continuity in structural phases from the 10
th

century onwards up to the construction of the disputed structure along
with the yield of stone and decorated bricks as well as mutilated
sculpture of divine couple and carved architectural members including
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 19
foliage patterns, amalaka [a fruit motif], kapotapali doorjamb with semi-
circular pilaster, broken octagonal shaft of black schist pillar, lotus
motif, circular shrine having parnala (waterchute) in the north, fifty
pillar bases in association of the huge structure, are indicative of
remains which are distinctive features found associated with the temples
of north India. (Sharma 2011: 48)
1528 The Bbr Masjid. An inscription in Persian on an inner wall of the
Bbr Masjid read: By order of King Bbar whose justice is an edifice
meeting the palace and the sky, this descending place of angels was built
by the fortune-favoured noble Mr Bq. The inscription was dated 935
A.H. or 1528 (Narain 1993: 22). Another inscription in Persian, also
within the Masjid, yields a similar content as far as the mosques
construction is concerned (Narain 1993: 20).
Annette S. Beveridge, translator of the Bbur-nma, comments on this
inscription: Presumably the order for building the mosque was given
during Babur's stay in Ad (Ajodhya) in 934 AH. at which time he would
be impressed by the dignity and sanctity of the ancient Hindu shrine it
(at least in part) displaced, and like the obedient follower of Muhammad
he was in intolerance of another Faith, would regard the substitution of
a temple by a mosque as dutiful and worthy. (Beveridge 1922: lxxviii)
But in the opinion of the expert in Moghul architecture and history R.
Nath, The mosque cannot have been built by Babar or Mir Baqi, because
in their brief stay in this area they had to wage a difficult struggle
against the Pathans, and had no time for building mosques. Rather, the
earlier Muslim rulers of the area could have demolished the temple and
replaced it with the mosque. Mir Baqi at most renovated it, and does not
claim more than that this happened under Babars reign (rather than
at Babars command, though this translation is disputed). (Nath 1991
summarized by Elst 1991: 11, see also Narain 1993: 59).
The Belgian Indologist and historian Koenraad Elst remarks: Whether
demolished by Shah Juran Ghori in 1194 or by Babar in 1528, the temple
became the victim of Islamic iconoclasm in either event. The site was
still taken from Hindus by Muslims, and the Hindu claim is still one for
restoration of what was once theirs. (Elst 2011: 30) He also admits the
possibility that the temple could have been demolished by a ruler in
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 20
between these two, or even by more than one of them (since Hindus
were tireless rebuilders if given a chance). (Elst 1991: 11)
Bbar at Ayodhy. Bbar reached the Ayodhy area on March 28, 1528,
and camped there for a short period. In all known texts of his diary,
there is a break of the narrative between April 2
nd
and September 18
th

1528. (Beveridge 1922: 603)
When Mir Baqi attacked the Ram Janmabhoomi temple complex in
1528, the Hindus offered resistance for seventeen days. Even when Mir
Baqi finally entered the temple, the priest Shyamanand and his family
tried to prevent him from approaching the sanctuary, but they were
killed. In the sanctuary, Mir Baqi to his surprise found no idols. (Shyam
1978, quoted by Elst 1990: 139)
Bbr Masjids architecture. The Mosque was built right over the
walls of the demolished earlier structure, i.e., temple after levelling
them. No independent foundations were laid for the mosque. In a hurry
to raise the mosque, self-same material, i.e., bricks and stones of the
demolished structure were used which is evident from the fragmentary
nature of bricks. No full bricks have been found in the walls of the
mosque. Secondly, the size and texture of the bricks (wherever length
and width are available separately) tally with the size of bricks used in
the demolished temple. Normally, structures of different periods have
bricks of different sizes and texture. (Sharma 2011: 39)
c. 1590 In a lesser-known work, Tulsi Doha atak, the celebrated poet Tulsds
records in a few verses the destruction in Samvat 1585 (i.e., 1528 CE) of a
temple at Ayodhy by Mr Bq and the construction of a mosque at the
same spot. In the following extract, the first translation of each verse is
by the Allahabad High Court (AHC) and the second by the scholar Dr.
Nityanand Misra (NM); Yavanas refers to barbarians, that is, in the
present case, Mohammedans.
[


85
AHC: Goswami Tulsidas Ji says that Yavans (barbarians/Mohammedans)
ridicule hymns, several Upnishads and treatises like Brahmans, Puranas,
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 21
Itihas (histories) etc. and also the Hindu society (orthodox religion)
having faith in them. They exploit the Hindu society in different ways.
NM: Tulsds says that the Yavanas, filled with rage, burnt many
Mantras or Sahits, Upaniads and even Brhmaas (parts of Vedas),
and Pura and Itihsa scriptures, after ridiculing them.
| 7

86
AHC: Goswami Tulsi Das says that forcible attempts are being made by
Muslims to expel the followers of Hinduism from their own native place
(country), forcibly divesting them of their Shikha (lock of hair on the
crown of head) and Yagyopaveet (sacrificial thread) and causing them
to deviate from their religion. Tulsi Das terms this time as a hard and
harrowing one.
NM: Tulsds says that in the hard and inappropriate age, [they, the
Yavanas] forcibly made the Hindus bereft of ikh (the hair tuft) and
Stra (the sacred thread) and made them wander [as homeless people],
after which they expelled them from their country (native place).
|7
87
AHC: Describing the barbaric attack of Babur, Goswami Ji says that he
indulged in gruesome genocide of the natives of that place (followers of
Hinduism), using sword (army).
NM: The barbaric Bbar came, with a sword in his hand, and killed
people after repeatedly calling out to them. Tulsds says that the time
was terrible.
0*
88
AHC: Goswami Tulsi Das Ji says that countless atrocities were committed
by foolish Yavans (Mohammedans) in Awadh (Ayodhya) in and around
the summer of Samvat 1585, that is, 1528 AD (Samvat 1585- 57=1528 AD).
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 22
NM: Tulsds says that in the Savat 1585 (1528 AD), sometime around
the summer season, the ignorant Yavanas caused disaster and sorrow in
Awadh (Ayodhy).

7 |7| 89
AHC: Describing the attack made by Yavans, that is, Mohammedans on
Sri Ramjanambhumi temple, Tulsi Das Ji says that after a number of
Hindus had been mercilessly killed, Sri Ram Janam Bhumi temple was
broken to make it a mosque. Looking at the ruthless killing of Hindus,
Tulsi Ji says that his heart felt aggrieved, that is, it began to weep, and on
account of incident it continues to writhe in pain.
NM: Destroying the temple at Rmajanmabhmi, they constructed a
mosque. At once (or with great readiness/alacrity) they killed many
Hindus. [On thinking of this,] Tulsds cried out - Alas!
~ | 7
( 90
AHC: Seeing the mosque constructed by Mir Baqi in Awadh, that is,
Ayodhya in the wake of demolition of Sri Ram Janam Bhumi temple
preceded by the grisly killing of followers of Hinduism having faith in
Rama and also seeing the bad plight of the temple of his favoured deity
Rama, the heart of Tulsi began to always cry tearfully for Raghuraj (the
most revered among the scions of the Raghu Dynasty). Being aggrieved
thereby, submitting himself to the will of Sri Rama, he shouted: O Ram !
Save ... Save...
NM: Mr Bq destroyed the temple in Awadh (Ayodhy) and the
Rmasamja (the idols Rma Pacyatana Rma, St, Bharata,
Lakmaa, atrughna, Hanumn). [On thinking of this,] Tulsds cries,
beating his chest, O the best of Raghus! Protect us, protect us!

91
AHC: Tulsi Das Ji says that the mosque was constructed by the wicked
Mir Baqi after demolishing Sri Ram Janam Bhumi temple, situated in the
middle of Awadh, that is, Ayodhya.
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 23
NM: Tulsds says that in the midst of Awadh (Ayodhy), where the
Rmajanmabhmi temple was resplendent, there the wicked and vile
Mr Bq constructed a mosque.
7

92
AHC: Tulsi Das Ji says that the Quran as well as Ajaan call is heard from
the holy place of Sri Ram Janam Bhumi, where discourses from Shrutis,
Vedas, Puranas, Upnishads etc. used to be always heard and which used
to be constantly reverberated with sweet sound of bells. (Verses 85 to 92
of the Tulasi Doha Shataka; AHC Jugement RJB-GM vol. IV, 525. OPW 16 p.
783-84, Jagadguru Ramanandacharya Swami Rambhadracharya affidavit
15.7.2003; http://elegalix.allahabadhighcourt.in/elegalix/ayodhyafiles/honsaj-vol-
4.pdf )
NM: Tulsds says that where there was constant ringing of the bells and
the narrations (upakhna, from Saskta upkhyna) of the Rmyaa,
Veda and Pura, the ignorant (ajna) Yavana read (literally, did) the
Quran and the Azaan (ajna). (Yamaka figure of speech in the repetition
of ajna.)
(See Nityananda Misras post dt. 26.09.2012 on Bharatiya Vidvat Parishad
egroup: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/bvparishat/X9xQiS5HhUs)
1598 Persian scholar at Akbars court, Abu al-Fazl, mentions Ayodhy in his
n-i Akbar: Ayodhy, commonly called Awadh. The distance of forty
kos to the east, and twenty to the north is regarded as sacred ground. On
the ninth of the light half of the month of Chaitra a great religious
festival is held.

[Rma] was accordingly born during the Tret Yuga on
the ninth of the light half of the month of Chaitra (March-April) in the
city of Ayodhy, of Kausaly wife of Rj Daaratha. ... Awadh [Ayodhy]
is one of the largest cities of India ... and it is esteemed one of the holiest
places of antiquity. It was the residence of Rmachandra who in the
Tret age combined in his own person both the spiritual supremacy and
kingly office. (Abu l-Fadl 1598: II.334, 316-37, III.182, quoted by Narain
1993: 17)
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 24
c. 160405 Rma and St on Akbars coin. A coin minted in gold and another one
minted in silver, issued by Akbar, portray Rma and St along with their
names. (Lal 2008: 6)

1608-11 A British travellers testimony. William Finch visited Ayodhy: To
Oude [Ajodhya] a citie of ancient note, and seate of a Potan king, now
much ruined; the castle built foure hundred yeeres agoe. Heere are also
the ruines of Ranichand[s] [Rmachandra] castle and houses, which the
Indians acknowledge for the great God, saying that he tooke flesh upon
him to see the tamasha of the world. In these ruines remayne certain
Bramenes, who record the names of all such Indians as wash themselves
in the river running thereby; which custome, they say, hath continued
foure lackes o yeeres ... Hither resort many from all parts of India ...
(Foster 1921: 176) Foster notes that Finchs mention of a castle is a
reference to the mound known as the Rmkot or fort of Rma.
The historian Harsh Narain observes that Finch found neither Muslims
nor the mosque but only Pand-s in the Ramkot ... Hence, it appears the
Bbar mosque must then be lying deserted and in ruins and the Hindus,
though in possession thereof, could not have rebuilt the temple till
then. (Narain 1993: x, 40)
1675 Sant Lladsa, in Avadhavilsa Mahkvya, describes the Rma
Janmabhmi/Janmasthna which, according to him, secures heaven for
whoever pays a visit to it. (Lladsa

1675: 11-375, 268 quoted in Narain
1993: 13)
1695-96 Sujn Ri Bhar, Aurangzebs chief secretary, author of the
Khulatu t-Tawrkh, refers to Ayodhy thus: As this city was the
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 25
residence of king Rmchand, it is held to be one of the holiest places.
(Quoted in Narain 1993: 41) Harsh Narain comments: Sujn Ri
Bhar ... mentions the replacement of the Keshava Rai temple at
Mathura on the orders of lamgr Aurangzb but is silent about the
similar incident at Ayodhya, although he does deal with Ayodhya and
calls it the birth-place of Rma. It appears that Aurangzb had not
tampered with the Ayodhya shrine till then. ... It appears that the Rma
temple fell a victim soon after to the forces of temple destruction let
loose by Aurangzb. (Narain 1993: 40, x)
1707 Statement of Aurangzebs granddaughter. From afa- Chihal Nai-
i Bahdurshh (the Bahdurshh Book of Forty Sermons), a Persian text
written by the daughter of Bahdurshh Shh- lam, Aurangzebs son,
and cited by two Muslim medieval writers. The 25
th
sermon reads:
Keeping the triumph of Islam in view, devout Muslim rulers should
keep all idolaters in subjection to Islam, brook no laxity in realization of
Jizyah [a tax imposed on infidels], grant no exemption to Hindu Rja-s
from dancing attendance on d days and from waiting on foot outside
mosques till the end of prayer (namz) and discourse (khubah), and keep
in constant use for Friday and congregational prayer the mosques built
up to strengthen Islam after demolishing the temples of the idolatrous
Hindus situated at Mathura, Banaras and Awadh, etc., which the
wretched infidels have, according to their faith, adjudged to be the
birthplace of Kanhaiy in one case, St Raso [Sts kitchen] in another,
and Hanumns abode in a third and claim that after conquest of Lanka
Rmchandra established him there. And, as has been stressed, idol-
worship must not continue publicly, nor must the sound of bell reach
Muslim ears. (quoted in Narain 1993: 23-26)
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 26
1717 In Jaipur (Kapad-Dwar
collection of the City
Palace Museum), a map
of Janmasthn, painted
on white cotton fabric
(Narain 1993: 18, 41, 91).
Harsh Narain remarks,
[This] shows that, in,
1717, the superstructure
comprised of three
ikhara-s (temple-spires)
had no domes but only
corbelled ceilings
originally, in all
probability, and that the
domes and their finials
belong to the 18
th

century. (Narain 1993:
41)
1735 A document carrying the
seal of the Qazi of
Fyzabad mentioned that a serious riot had taken place between Hindus
and Muslims over the Masjid built by the emperor of Delhi, during the
times of Burhan-ul-Mulk Saadat Ali Khan, the first Nawab of Oudh (1707-
1736) over the possession of this mosque (quoted in Vishva Hindu
Parishad 1991: 26).
1751 Maratha documents show that one of the main objectives of Maratha
operations and policy in North India was the liberation of the sacred
cities of Ayodhya, Varanasi and Prayag. In the year 1751 Maratha armies
led by Malhar rao Holkar, at the invitation of Safdarjang, the second
Nawab of Oudh, defeated the Pathan forces in Doab. Immediately after
his victory, Malhar rao Holkar requested Safdarjang to handover
Ayodhya, Kashi and Prayag to the Peshwa. (Srivastava 1954, quoted in
Vishva Hindu Parishad 1991: 26)
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 27
1756-57 When in 1756 the third Nawab Shujauddaula invited Maratha help
against impending Afghan invasion, the Maratha agent of the Court of
Oudh demanded the transfer of these three holy places including
Ayodhya Ultimately in July 1757, Shujauddaula agreed to transfer the
holy cities of Ayodhya and Kashi to the Maratha leader Raghoba. But the
transfer could not be implemented as Maratha armies got entangled in
the conquest of the Punjab ... (Vishva Hindu Parishad 1991: 26-27).
1759-60 Persian author Chhatraman (i) Ds Kyastha Rizdah, in Chihr
Gulshan, observed: Oudh is an ancient city. It is the birth-place of Rj
Rmachandra, who was one of the ten Avatra-s, that is, a perfect
manifestation of God. Sit was married to him. (Quoted in Narain 1993:
18)
1766-71 The Austrian Jesuit Joseph Tieffenthaler travelled to India in the 1740s
and stayed on till his death, adding to his missionary activities a detailed
geographical study of the country, stayed in Awadh in 1766-71. A few
extracts from his Descriptio Indiae, chapter The Province of Oude:
Avad called Adjudea by well-read Hindus is a city of the
remotest antiquity.
Today, this city is not much populated;
There was here a temple constructed on the rivers higher
bank; but Aurengzebe, always mindful of spreading the sect
of Mahomet and abhorring the Gentiles, got it demolished
and replaced by a mosque fronted by two obelisks in order to
abolish the very memory of the Hindu superstition. Another
mosque built by the Moors [Muslims] is adjacent to this one
on the eastern side.
One particularly famous place is the one called Sitha
Rassoi [kitchen], that is to say, the table of Sitha, wife of Ram.
This place adjoins the city on the southern side and is
situated on a hillock.
Emperor Aurengzebe had the fortress called Ramkot
demolished; at the same place he constructed a Mahometan
temple with three domes. Others say that it was constructed
by Babor [Bbar]. Fourteen pillars of black stone can be seen in it,
One of the Hindu-temple pillars
in the disputed structure
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 28
pointing to the location of the former fortress. Twelve of those pillars
now carry the inner arcades of the Mosque; two (of the twelve) are
located at the door of the cloister. The other two [pillars] are part of the
tomb of a certain Moor [Muslim]. People say that those pillars, or rather
those fragments of pillars, which are artistically crafted, were brought
from the island of Lanca [Lanka] or Selendip [Serendip] (called Ceylan by
Europeans) by Hanumann, King of the Monkeys.
On the left is seen a square bin raised 5 inches above ground and coated
with lime about 5 aulnes long and at most 4 aulnes wide [i.e. about 6 x
4.5 metres]. The Hindus name it Bedi, that is to say, the Crib.
1
The reason
is that here was once a house where Beschan [Vishnu] was born,
appearing under the person of Ram, and where his three brothers are
also said to have been born. Afterwards Aurengzebe, or, according to
others, Babor, got this place razed in order to deprive the Gentiles of the
opportunity to practise their superstitions; nevertheless they continue to
offer a superstitious cult at both places namely, at the house where Ram
was born by doing three circumambulations while prostrated on the
ground. Both places are encircled by a crenulated low wall. One enters
the front hall through an arched low door.
Not far from there is a place where people dig out black rice grains
turned into small stones, which they say were hidden underground since
the time of Ram.
On the 24
th
of the month of Tschet (Chet), a big congregation of people
celebrate here the birth of Ram, so famed in the whole of India. ...
(Tieffenthaler, 1786: 252-54, emphasis added)
19
th
c. Poet of Avadh Jaswant Kavi, is said to have composed 70 poems on the
wars between Mr Bq and the Hindus over the possession of the
Janmabhmi (quoted in Narain 1993: 13).
1838 The British Surveyor Montgomery Martin notes, The bigot by whom
the temples were destroyed, is said to have erected mosques on the
situations of the most remarkable temples; but the mosque at Ayodhya ...

1
This seems to be a reference to the platform known as Rma chabtra or Rma platform, which used to
be in the courtyard of the disputed site till the demolition of the Bbr structure.
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 29
is ascertained by an inscription on its walls ... to have been built by
Babur ... (Montgomery 1838: II.335-36, quoted in Narain 1993: 7)
1855 Second major confrontation at the disputed site in Moghul times.
Jihd led by Mawlawiyy Amir-ud-din, alias Amr Al Amehaw, under the
last Nawab Wjid Al Shhs regime for the recapture of Hanumngah
(a few hundred metres from the Bbr mosque) from the Hindus.
A Muslim chronicler, drawing from numerous sources, made this
statement on the outcome of the confrontation: Ultimately, on Zilqadda
1271 AH [July 1855], for the tenth or twelfth time, nearly two or three
hundred Muslims gathered at Babri Masjid which is situated inside the
Sita ki Rasoi [Sts kitchen]. ... In short, the turbulence [of 1855] reached
such a stage that apart from the mitigated mosque at Hanuman Garhi,
the Hindus built a temple in the courtyard of Babri Masjid where Sita ki
Rasoi was situated. (Rmpur 1919: II.570-575, quoted in Vishva Hindu
Parishad 1991: 17)
The Gazetteer of Oudh adds important details on the confrontation and its
outcome: In 1855, when a great rupture took place between the Hindus
and Muhammadans, the former occupied the Hanomn Garhi in force,
while the Musalmans took possession of the Janamasthn. The
Muhammadans on that occasion actually charged up the steps of the
Hanomn Garhi, but were driven back with considerable loss. The
Hindus then followed up this success, and at the third attempt, took the
Janamasthn, at the gate of which seventy-five Muhammadans are
buried in the Martyrs grave (Ganj-i-Shahdn.) Eleven Hindus were
killed. Several of the Kings regiments were looking on all the time, but
their orders were not to interfere. It is said that up to that time the
Hindus and Muhammadans alike used to worship in the mosque-temple.
Since British rule a railing has been put up to prevent disputes, within
which, in the mosque the Muhammadans pray; while outside the fence
the Hindus have raised a platform on which they make their offerings.
(The Gazetteer of Oudh 1877: 7, entry by P. Carnegy)
1856 Extract from Mirz Jn, eyewitness as well as participant in the above
jihd: From old records and the tradition it is gathered ... that, after the
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 30
triumph of Slr Masd Ghz,
1
wherever in the territory of heaven-like
Hindustan they found magnificent Hindu temples, the Muslim rulers of
the past constructed mosques, monasteries, and inns, greatly spread
Muammadanism by appointing muadhdhin-s [callers], teachers, care-
takers, devastated the paraphernalia of idolatry and bell-ringing, gave
grace and glamour to Islam, and vanquished the army of infidels. And
this to such an extent that all over Hindustan no trace of infidelity was
left besides Islam and no practice of idol-worship survived besides
worship of God. And the few Hindus who remained safe from the hands
of the Muslims became the slaves of Islam In short, even as the Muslim
rulers cleared up Mathura, Banaras, etc. from the dust and dross of
infidelity, they cleared up Fyzabad and Avadh also from the filth of false
belief, inasmuch as it is a great place of worship and was the capital of
Rmas father. Here they broke the temples and left no stone-hearted
idol intact. Where there was a big temple, there they got a big mosque
constructed, and where there was a small pavilion, there they erected a
plain camp mosque/enclosure. Accordingly, what a majestic mosque
Bbar Shh has got constructed in 923 A.H. [1526 CE] under the
patronage of Sayyid Ms shiqn! It is still known far and wide as
the St k Raso mosque. (Mirz Jn

1856: 4-5, quoted in Narain 1993: 36-
37)
1856 Awadh was annexed by the British, bringing an end to the Nawabi
rule.
1858 Scottish Surgeon General Edward Balfour, arrived in India in 1838 with
a lifelong interest in climate change and environmental problem. He
noted that Ayodhy had three mosques on the sites of three Hindu
shrines: the Janmasthan on the site where Rama was born; the
Swargadwar Mandir, where his remains were buried; the Treta ka
Thakur, famed as the scene of one of his great sacrifices. (Balfour 1858:
56, quoted in Vishva Hindu Parishad 1990: 20)

1
It is noteworthy that Mirz Jn refers here to the first Islamic campaign deep into the Ganges plain, over
800 years earlier, which reveals a long-term sense of history, at least as far as his notion of the Islamic
mission in India was concerned. However, his reference to Slr Masds triumph needs to be qualified, as
the evidence is that Slr Masd was defeated and killed in the course of his campaign in Ayodhys region
(see entry 1033 above). Mirz Jns mention of the complete elimination of idolatry from Hindustan is, of
course, way off the mark.
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 31
30 Nov. 1858 Petition against the Hindus continued worship in the Janmasthn
mosque. Muammad Aghar, khab and muadhhin of the Bbr Masjid,
filed an application to initiate judicial proceedings against the
Bairgyn-i Janmasthn, calling the mosque masjid-i Janmasthn, and
the courtyard near the arch and the pulpit within the boundary of the
mosque, maqm Janmasthn k. The Bairg-s [devotees] had raised a
platform in the courtyard which the applicant wanted dismantled. He
mentions that the Janmasthn area had been lying unkempt/in disorder
(parshn) for hundreds of years and that the Hindus carried on worship
there. (Narain 1993: 27)
c. 1860 The Muslim scholar Mirz Rajab Al Beg Surr notes that a glorious
sky-high mosque was built up during king Bbars regime on the spot
where St k Raso tomb (?) is situated, in Awadh. During this Bbar
[dispensation] the Hindus had no guts to be a match for the Muslims.
There [on the Hanumngahi] Aurangzb constructed a mosque. ... The
Bairg-s [devotees] effaced the mosque and erected a temple in its place.
Then they intruded into the Masjid-i Bbar where the St ki Raso was
situated. The author ... laments that times have so changed that now
the mosque was demolished for construction of a temple (on the
Hanumngahi). (Surr 1860: 121-122, quoted in Narain 1993: 30)
1861 A map by Hadbast of village Kot Ram Chandra, appended to the
Settlement Report, shows only Janmasthan, without the symbol of a
mosque on the plot. This practice continues during later Settlements
(1893, 1939 and 1989). (Vishva Hindu Parishad 1990: 24)
1871 A. Cunningham in his Ancient Geography of India records: The present
city of Ajudhya, which is confined to the north-east corner of the old
site, is just two miles in length by about three quarters of a mile in
breadth; but not one half of this extent is occupied by buildings, and the
whole place wears a look of decay. There are no high mounds of ruins,
covered with broken statues and sculptured pillars, such as mark the
sites of other ancient cities, but only a low irregular mass of rubbish
heaps, from which all the bricks have been excavated for the houses of
the neighbouring city of Faizbd. This Muhammadan city, which is two
miles and a half in length by one mile in breadth, is built chiefly of
materials extracted from the ruins of Ajudhya. The two cities together
occupy an area of nearly six square miles, or just about one-half of the
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 32
probable size of the ancient capital of Rma. (Cunningham 1924: 465
66)
1877 Gazetteer of the Province of Oudh
Ajodhya, its eponymous city, was the capital of that happy kingdom in
which all that the Hindu race reveres or desires was realized as it can
never be realized again, and the seat of the glorious dynasty which
began with the sun and culminated after sixty generations of blameless
rulers in the incarnate deity and perfect man, Rma. Whether criticism
will finally enroll the hero among the highest creations of pure
imagination, or accord him a semi-historical personality and a doubtful
date, it is barren to speculate: history is more nearly concerned with the
influence which the story of his life still has on the moral and religious
beliefs of a great people, and the enthusiasm which makes his birth-
place the most highly venerated of the sacred places to which its
pilgrims crowd. (Gazetteer of the Province of Oudh, 1877: xxxi, entry by
W.C. Benett)
It is locally affirmed that at the Muhammadan conquest there were
three important Hindu shrines, with but few devotees attached, at
Ajodhya, which was then little other than a wilderness. These were the
Janamasthn, the Swargaddwr mandir also known as Rm Darbr,
Treta-ke-Thkur. On the first of these the Emperor Bbar built the
mosque, which still bears his name, A.D. 1528. On the second, Aurangzeb
did the same, A.D. 1658 to 1707; and on the third, that sovereign or his
predecessors built a mosque, according to the well-known Muhammadan
principle of enforcing their religion on all those whom they conquered.
The Janamasthn marks the place where Rm Chandar was born. The
Swargaddwr is the gate through which he passed into paradise, possibly
the spot where his body was burned. The Treta-ke-Thkur was famous as
the place where Rma performed a great sacrifice, and which he
commemorated by setting up there images of himself and Sta. ... If
Ajodhya was then little other than a wilderness, it must at least have
possessed a fine temple in the Janamasthn; for many of its columns are
still in existence and in good preservation, having been used by the
Musalmans in the construction of the Bbari mosque. These are of strong
close-grained, dark-colored or black stone, called by the natives kasauti
(literally, touch-stone slate,) and carved with different devices. To my
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 33
thinking, these more strongly resemble Buddhist pillars than those I
have seen at Benares and elsewhere. They are from seven to eight feet
long, square at the base, centre and capital, and round or octagonal
intermediately. ... The two other old mosques to which allusion has been
made (known by the common people by the name of Naurang Shah, by
whom they mean Aurangzeb) are now mere picturesque ruins.
(Gazetteer of the Province of Oudh, 1877: 6-7, entry by P. Carnegy)
1878 The Muslim scholar Haji Muammad Hasan records: Sayyid Ms
shiqn built a mosque after levelling down Rjah Rmachandras
palace and Sts kitchen by order of ahru d-Dn Bbar, king of Dihl, in
923 A.H. [1526 CE], and king Muiyy-u d-Dn Aurangzb lamgr built
another mosque at the same place. (Hasan 1878: 38-39, quoted in Narain
1993: 29) Both these mosques had developed cracks at various places
because of the ageing character. (Hasan 1878: 38-39, quoted in

Vishva
Hindu Parishad 1990: 16)
Mid 19
th
c. Maulvi Abdul Karim, then imam of the Bbr Masjid, in his Forgotten
Events of Ayodhy, credits Bbar with the demolition of the temple and
the construction of the mosque: In this Kot [of Raja Ram Chander Ji],
there were a few burjs [towery big halls]. Towards the side of the western
burj, there was the house of birthplace and the kitchen of the above
mentioned Raja. And now, they call it Janmasthn and Raso-i St J.
Having demolished these structures, king Bbar got a majestic mosque
constructed. (Vishva Hindu Parishad 1990: 16; for the complicated
publishing history of this work, first published in Persan in 1885, then in
several Urdu editions in the 20
th
century, see Narain 1993: 3031)
1886 In a judgement on a petition by Mahant Raghubir Das to obtain
permission to build a temple on the spot just outside the Bbr Masjid
where the Hindus had been worshipping for centuries, Col. J.E.A.
Chamier, District Judge, Fyzabad, after visiting the site for personal
inspection, observed: It is most unfortunate that a masjid should have
been built on land specially held sacred by the Hindus, but as that event
occurred 356 years ago it is too late now to remedy the grievance.
(Chamier 1886, quoted in Narain 1993: 10)
1887 Map of Faizabad municipality showing the fortified Ramkot complex.
The map is reproduced in Appendix 6 to the 2010 judgement of Justice
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 34
Sudhir Agarwal, vol. 21, with the following caption: A Historical Sketch
of Tahsil Fyzabad, Zillah Fyzabad, by P. Carnegy (published in 1887). The
map shows Hanumangarhi within Ram Kot. (Hanumangarhi, or
Hanumans abode, a few hundred metres away from the Bbr Masjid,
also saw a mosque erected on the site of a temple, with a history of
alternating possession by Hindus and Muslims.)

A detail of Carnegys 1887 map.
1889 In a report published by the Archaeological Survey of India, the
archaeologist and epigraphist A. Fhrer begins thus a note on Ayodhy:
Bbars Masjid at Ayodhy was built in A.H. 930, or A.D. 1523, by Mr
Khn, on the very spot where the old temple Janmsthnam of
Rmachandra was standing. Fhrer goes on to list three inscriptions
found in the Masjid, one in Arabic and two in Persian (the same as in the
entry 1528 above), which together state the same facts. Fhrer also
notes, The old temple of Rmachandra at Janmsthnam must have
been a very fine one, for many of its columns have been used by the
Musalmns in the construction of Bbars masjid. (Fhrer 1889: 67)
***
A Timeline of Ayodhy / p. 35
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***