Aurangzeb was the 6th and last great ruler of the Mughal Dynasty. Aurangzeb’s reign was the longest in the history of India. Aurangzeb was a religious bigot, very cunning, cruel and wicked towards Hindu. After killing his own brothers who were bit moderate compared to Aurangzeb and putting his father behind bars, barbaric Aurangzeb took full control of regime and continued his fanatic way of leading a life of a terrorist muslim by forcibly converting Hindus into Islam and killing those who wanted to follow Hinduism.
Many Hindu temples were demolished during the reign of Aurangzeb and Mosques were built in their place. Aurangzeb re-introduced and levied jizya on non-Muslims in 1679. His goal was to promote Islam and weaken the Hindu religion. Aurangzeb destroyed several Hindu temples or even converted them into Mosques.
Let us take a glimpse at some of the Hindu temples that were destroyed by Aurangzeb.
1. Somnath Temple:
Somnath Temple is believed to be the first among the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva which is located in Prabhas Patan near Veraval in Saurashtra on the western coast of Gujarat. Destroyed and reconstructed several times in the past, the present temple was reconstructed in the Chaulukya style of Hindu temple architecture and completed in May 1951.
It is said that many pre-Islamic Arabians came to this temple for pilgrimage as the god here represented their moon god. The temple is said to have been looted and destroyed as many as seventeen times. Mahmud of Ghazni first looted the temple and then came Afzal Khan, the commander of Alauddin Khilji and later Aurangzeb. Today, the temple has been restored.
2. The Krishna Janmabhoomi temple:
The Krishna Janmabhoomi temple, also simply called the Krishna Janmabhoomi, Krishna Janmasthan or Kesava Deo Temple, is located in the holy city of Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. The temple is said to have been built by the Hindu god Krishna’s grandson, Vajra. locals believe that the temple was made 5,000 years ago.
The Krishna Janmabhoomi temple was also destroyed by emperor Aurangzeb and Shahi Idgah mosque was built above the Keshava Deo Temple.
3. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple:
Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most prominent Hindu temples. The shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva and located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. Kashi is one of the most revered cities in India. It is believed to be one of the most ancient towns in India. If Kashi is at the heart of Hinduism, then Kashi Vishwanath Temple is the heartbeat of this goodly land.
This temple has been destroyed and re-constructed several times in history. A bad time came in 1669 CE when this temple was demolished by Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal emperor who then built the Gyanvapi Mosque on its site.
According to historians, Kasi Viswanath temple existed since many thousands of years. It is believed that when people received the news of Aurangazeb’s arrival to destroy the temple, the main priest of the temple jumped into the well and sacrificed their lives in order to protect the Jyothirlinga from invaders.
Later, it is believed that Shiva saved the priest from dying. The Linga is Swayambhu and it can’t be removed, so Shiva himself helped the priest in saving the Jyotirlinga.
4. Vishveshwur temple:
On the site of Vishveshwur temple, Gyanvapi mosque was built by Alamgir Aurangzeb. That temple was very tall and held as holy among Hindus. On this very site and with those very stones he constructed a lofty mosque, and its ancient stones were rearranged after being embedded in the walls of the mosque. It is one of the renowned mosques of Hindustan.
5. Govind Dev Temple:
In India, many rich and marvelous Hindu temples were destroyed and converted into mosques during Islamic rule. Another example of it is the Mosque at Mathura: “Alamgir built a mosque at Mathura. This mosque was built on site of the Govind Dev Temple which was very strong and beautiful as well as exquisite.”
6. Vijay Temple:
Bijamandal, which is popularly known as Vijayamandira Temple, is located in Vidisha, the headquarters of the Vidisha District. Constructed in the 11th century, this temple was destroyed in the year 1682. After its demolition, Aurangzeb, the Mughal emperor, constructed a mosque called Alamgiri Masjid, at the site. The material of the destroyed temple was used in the construction of this mosque.
7. Bhima Devi temple:
Bhima Devi temple is located in Pinjore, Haryana. This temple is said to have been destroyed repeatedly by the contemporary Muslim invaders with the last blow coming when Aurangzeb reigned. The adjoining Mughal Garden was possibly built using the rubble of the temple.