An image has gone viral on social media of a religious structure with the characteristics of a temple with a dome on its top. The image is shared with captions implying that a temple was wrongly converted into a mosque.
The image of the religious structure has gone viral on social media amid the ongoing controversy surrounding the Gyanvapi Mosque. The petitioners in the case have asked the court in Varanasi to allow Hindu worshipers to offer prayers in the mosque based on the claim that the mosque houses a shivling. The next hearing in the case would be on July 4.
The image shows a religious structure with carved ornaments on its exterior walls. The carvings are similar to other carvings seen in Hindu temples. At the top of the structure is a dome which is one of the dominant features of mosques.
The tweet’s viral caption implies that an ancient Hindu temple in Chittor was converted into a mosque by the Mughals. SUREDRA POONIA, member of the BJP, shared the image with a legend: “मुग़लों और बाक़ी बाक़ी Invasseurs का Architecture इतना बेजोड़ और विचित्र क़ि क़ि उन्होंने भी बनाया उसके उसके उसके उसके उसके उसके में हमेशा मंदिर ही रखा.”
[English Translation: The architecture of the Mughals and the rest of the Invaders was so unique and strange that whatever they built, they always built it on top of a temple in its basement.]
Another user wrote: “Incredibly beautiful walls…with an ugly dome! This is an ancient Hindu temple in Chittor converted into a mosque by the Mughals…Will any historian bring this to light??? ?#GyanvapiMosque #TajMahalControversy.”
It is widely shared on Facebook and Twitter with a similar claim.
Logical Indian’s fact-checking team verified the claim and found it to be false. The structure is a Jain temple.
We did a reverse image search on the image and came across the following results on Alamy, a stock photography website. The image bears the caption: “Ruins of the old temple. Rattan Singh Palace. Chittorgarh fort. India “
We also found this image on Alamy with the caption “Old Hindu temple with a domed roof and intricate carvings on the outer walls, Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, India, Asia”.
With this information in mind, we did a keyword search and came across the following image. The image is uploaded to Wikimedia Commons indicating the name of the temple as “Shringar Chori (Shringar Chauri)”.
This prompted us to do another keyword search as a result of which we came across this blog post. The blog post contained information about the structure as well as several images of the structure from multiple angles. The blog describes the structure as a temple housing a dome supported by a four-pillar structure with a small altar in the middle. Note that the structure is a Jain temple. The structure is described as having two entrances over which the pavilions are built, in front of which are two artistic pillars.
We also encountered the viral mage on a website, Thinking Particle. According to the information provided in the report, it is the Shringar Chauri temple built inside the Chittorgarh fort which was built by Velaka in 1448 AD.
On the Rajasthan government website, Sringar Chauri is mentioned as one of the “Hindu and Jain related temples built inside the fort”.
We also came across the images of the structure on the website of the Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts (IGNCA) located in Delhi. The images show the panel located near Sringar Chauri. The sign reads: “Sringar Chauri The inscription on the pillar near the western gate of the temple mentions that Velaka, the son of Kola, the treasurer of Maharana Kumbha, built this temple and dedicated it to Santinatha in 1449 and that it was consecrated by Jina Sagara Suri.The temple, which was later covered by the massive wall built by Banbir, is now kept open.
According to this article posted on Amar Ujala on May 26, 2020, Kumbha of Mewar also known as Maharana Kumbha was the king of Mewar from the year 1433 to 1468. He is also known in history for building forts and of temples. The Kirti Stambha, which is also located in the Chittor fort, was built during his reign as a monument to Jainism.
On the IGNCA website, additional details of Sringar Chauri are available. On page 106 of the Inventory of Monuments and Sites of National Importance, the following details were mentioned. The document mentions that the structure is a Jain temple which is not used for religious purposes.
This report also mentions “Archaeological Survey of India: Report of a Tour in the Panjab and Rajputana in 1883-84, Vol. XXII” which was written by author A. Cunningham. On page 105 of this book it is mentioned the following: “Halfway between the storehouse and the bastion is a carved stone temple now called the Sringar-Chauri containing a canopied masonry dais and is said to have been built by the Jain treasurer of Rana Kumbha”.
The viral tweets claim that the structure depicted in the image is a temple which was converted into a mosque by the Mughal invaders.
However, according to visual evidence and reports from IGNCA and ASI, the structure depicted in the image has a long history. The structure is a Jain temple which was built by Velaka, the son of Kola, the treasurer of Maharana Kumbha.
There is no mention of the transformation of Sringar Chauri into a mosque. As a result, we have determined that the structure is not a Hindu temple that was converted into a mosque by Mughal invaders, as claimed on social media. Therefore, the viral claim is false.
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