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Aurangzeb's mosque, Benares (U.P.) seen from the river.

Aurangzeb's mosque, Benares (U.P.) seen from the river.

Artist: Smith, Robert (1787-1873)

Medium: Watercolour

Date: 1814

Shelfmark: WD2089

Item number: 2089

Length: 21

Width: 31

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Painting

Water-colour painting of Aurangzeb's mosque at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh seen across the River Ganges by Robert Smith (1787-1873) in 1814-15. Inscribed on the mount in pencil is: ' Benares.'

The Great Mosque of Aurangzeb or Jnana Vapi Mosque was built in the late 17th century. It has two colossal minarets towering over 70 metres (232 feet) above the River Ganges. It was built on the site of one of the most sacred temples at Varanasi by the Emperor Aurangzeb (1658-1707). Its simple white domes loom over the Gyan Vapi (Wisdom Well), which is situated immediately north and housed in an open-arcaded hall built in 1828. It is said Shiva cooled his lingam on this spot after the construction of the original Vishwanatha temple, the principal sanctuary dedicated to him in the city.

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