A Proposal for Hindu Worship Permissions at Gyanvapi

A Proposal for Hindu Worship Permissions at Gyanvapi


Within the secular India that takes pride in its culture, there is a mosque with a Sanskritized name “Gyanvapi” means “well of knowledge”. Despite its long established antiquity, the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, has gained notoriety due to a disagreement over its current religious status. A complicated discussion intertwining politics, religion, and history revolves around the Gyanvapi Mosque. It has generated debate over Hindu’s rights to worship on its property because it is thought by some to have once been a Hindu temple devoted to Lord Shiva. Some Hindus are driven to recover the site by the historical narrative, which claims it was built during the Mughal rule over the demolished Vishwanath Temple. The argument goes beyond disagreements over historical monuments and touches on matters of legal rights, historical interpretation, and religious concord. It calls into question India’s secular framework and raises issues of coexistence, religious tolerance, and the preservation of the country’s rich diversity of identity. 

Historical claims and legal battles

The historical timeline of events at the holy place is at the center of the controversy between the Gyanvapi Mosque and the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The premises were formerly home to a Vishweshwara temple devoted to Shiva. Built in the sixteenth century during Akbar’s reign, it was later demolished by a succession of kings. In 1669, Aurangzeb destroyed the temple and built the Gyanvapi Mosque in its stead. The present Vishwanath temple was constructed in 1780 by Maratha ruler Ahilya Bai Holkar next to the mosque.

A 1991 petition asking for the right to worship within the mosque complex, a 2019 petition contesting the mosque’s construction, and a 2021 Supreme Court review of The Places of Worship Act are some examples of recent legal proceedings. Five Hindu women filed a petition in August 2021 demanding the right to regularly worship and the preservation of the statues housed within the Gyanvapi building.

The controversy claims mosque building followed the destruction of a Hindu temple and is connected to activities by specific political groups. The controversy has been more heated after recent discoveries of a Shivling-like structure on the mosque grounds. The legal concerns are to the preservation of religious character as of August 15, 1947, mandated by The Places of Worship Act, 1991, and the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958. Arguments in opposition continue, highlighting the necessity of making decisions about the main concerns.

 Ongoing status

The Allahabad High Court has refused the Gyanvapi Mosque committee’s request for a temporary injunction to stop Hindu prayers in the southern cellar, or Vyas Tehkhana, in a recent court judgment. The committee’s refusal to challenge the prior order designating the District Magistrate as a receiver was cited by the court in its denial of relief, even though it instructed the state government to maintain law and order. The committee is allowed to revise its appeal until February 6, 2024. This decision comes after the District Magistrate of Varanasi promptly carried out the order of District Judge allowing Hindu worship in the cellar. Furthermore, the committee’s appeal for an urgent hearing was denied by the Supreme Court. The Anjuman Mosque Committee, which is in charge of the Gyanvapi mosque, disagreed with the court’s decision and expressed concerns about its timing, highlighting the day that the departing District Judge would be leaving her position. Senior Attorney SFA Naqvi requested a stay on the Puja ceremonies and questioned the District Magistrate’s hasty execution. However, the court allowed the appeal to be amended until February 6 in light of the committee’s refusal to contest the previous order.

Voice of Hindu Community

The Hindu community is divided on the issue; some strongly believe that historical injustice has occurred, while others support the site’s restoration as a hallowed Hindu place of worship. This point of view often calls for a re-evaluation of the Gyanvapi Mosque’s current status by highlighting the cultural and religious rights associated with it. However, there are Hindu community members who advocate for a more inclusive approach. In order to find common ground that respects the site’s diverse cultural and historical heritage, they highlight the significance of promoting communication and understanding amongst religious communities.

 Perspectives among the Muslim Community

A similar range of ideas can be seen in the Muslim community’s opinions over the Gyanvapi Mosque controversy. Some community members support peaceful coexistence and interfaith cooperation, while others highlight the historical background behind the mosque’s construction. Many Muslims say they would be open to having a positive conversation with the Hindu community in order to discuss issues and come to mutually agreeable conclusions. The varied viewpoints within the Muslim community are explored in this section, emphasizing the possibilities for cooperative solutions that respect the rights and feelings of all parties concerned.

Hindu’s Right to Worship at Gyanvapi

The historical background and the inherent right to religious freedom are the main reasons for granting Hindus the ability to worship at Gyanvapi. The historical assertions that the location was formerly a Hindu temple honouring Lord Shiva and called the Vishwanath Temple established the groundwork for the Hindu community’s aspiration to recover the area for worship. Recognizing and addressing perceived historical injustices depend on acknowledging this historical background. Furthermore, permitting Hindus to worship at Gyanvapi is consistent with the larger idea of religious liberty that is a part of India’s constitution. Encouraging a society that embraces diversity, inclusion, and the ability to exercise one’s religion without interference requires respecting Hindu’s religious rights to worship their faith at this historically significant location. Developing an atmosphere that honours the feelings and convictions of all participating populations requires striking a balance between historical sensitivity and modern rights.


The debate surrounding the Gyanvapi Mosque reflects the complex relationship between history, religion, and legal nuances in India. The debate reveals that Hindus’ claim to the freedom to worship at Gyanvapi is supported by constitutional religious liberty principles as well as historical claims. The diverse viewpoints held by members of the Hindu community, which range from promoting inclusivity to calling for restoration, demonstrate how complicated the situation is. Comparably, the Muslim community exhibits a range of opinions, from highlighting historical background to encouraging interfaith interaction. Striking a balance between historical sensitivity and modern rights emerges as the key to settling this problem. Respecting the rights and feelings of all parties concerned requires that harmony be fostered while taking into account the differences in viewpoints held by the two communities. This can only be achieved by encouraging an open and honest discourse.

Written by Disha Sable, 

Law student at RTMNU’s Babasaheb Ambedkar College of Law, Nagpur


  1. https://www.livelaw.in/high-court/allahabad-high-court/allahabad-high-court-gyanvapi-mosque-vyas-tehkhana-row-district-judge-puja-retirement-day-dm-enforced-order-7-hours-248321
  2. https://thewire.in/communalism/the-kashi-vishwanath-gyanvapi-equation-a-parable-for-people-power-politics
  3. https://www.scobserver.in/journal/350-years-of-the-gyanvapi-dispute-a-timeline/
  4. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/controversy-gyanvapi-mosque-all-you-need-to-know-1949692-2022-05-15

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