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Gyanvapi Mosque

Gyanvapi Mosque is in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. It lies to the north of Dashawamedh Ghat, which is near Lalita Ghat along the holy Ganga River.
It is popularly called the “Jama Masjid” of Varanaasi. The mosque is under the administration of Anjuman Inthazamiya Masajid (AIM).


Mughal Emperor Auranzeb built Gyanvapi Mosque in 1664 CE. It is believed that he demolished the Hindu Vishweshwar temple, which stood at the site, to build the mosque.

The name of the mosque is derived from Gyanvapi, which is “the well of knowledge,” located between the mosque and the temple. Hindus believe that the well is located at the spot where the temple’s pious Shiva Linga icon was hidden before the temple was destroyed by the Emperor.

Historical reports say that the temple, which was demolished to build the mosque, was probably constructed during Akbar’s rule by Raja Man Singh.

Reports also say that Malhar Rao Holkar, the Maratha ruler, wanted to destroy the mosque and rebuilt Vishweshwar temple at the same site. He never did this. In 1780, Ahilyabai Holkar, his daughter-in-law, built the Kashi Vishwanath Temple just adjacent to Gyanvapi Mosque. The temple stands along with the mosque with pride today.

There had been a lot of controversies surrounding the mosque. Certain political parties wished to reclaim the site of the mosque. There was a danger of the parties “doing an Ayodhya.”  It means repeating the Babri Masjid demolition episode here too. However, looking at the swarm of tourists and devotees thronging the mosque daily, the controversy died.

Today, Gyanvapi Mosque is under the protection of Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991.


The entrance of Gyanvapi Mosque is a bit similar to the entrance of the Taj Mahal. The mosque has minarets as high as 71 meters. One of the minarets was destroyed in the 1948 floods of Varanasi.

The remnants of the demolished temple become visible in the rear part, columns, and foundation of the mosque.

It is believed that the Emperor used material from the demolished temple to build the mosque. Today, the mosque is one of the most respected and admired structures by people who visit the holy city of India. Although only Muslims are allowed inside the mosque, people from all religions can appreciate its imposing structure and beautiful design from the outside.

Best Time to Visit

Months from October to March are the best to visit Varanasi City. Summers are too hot to come to this city. Winters are cold too, but the festivities of this place provide tourists with rich warmth.

How to Reach

Varanasi is well connected to the rest of Uttar Pradesh and India through road, rail, and air. Gyanvapi Mosque is located just 5 km from the railway station of Varanasi. There is also a direct flight from Delhi to Varanasi. Bus and taxi services are also available from nearby cities.

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