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The Minarets [Benares].

The Minarets [Benares].

Photographer: Bromochary, Brajo Gopal

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1869

Shelfmark: Photo 984/(6)

Item number: 9846

Genre: Photograph

View of the entrance to the Smaller Aurangzeb Mosque from the 'Views of Benares, from the River Side' taken by by Brajo Gopal Bromochary in 1869. This is a view of Aurangzebs mosque in 1869 with the towering minarets which were subsquently shortened. The caption states, "It is said, that the foundations of the mosque are as deep as the building is high. More than a century and a half has elapsed since the structure was reared and not a single stone seems to have been loosened. It is regarded as one of the chief sights of the city...Reckoning from the floor of the Mosque the height of the Minarets is 163 feet. There is a staircase in each tower from the summit of which a complete view of Benares and its suburbs is gained."

The mosque at Panchaganga ghat was built by Aurangzeb (r.1658-1707), the ruler of the Mughal Empire. The mosque is on the site of an earlier Vishnu temple known as Bindu Madhav, this is probably why the mosque is known locally as Madho Rai Ki Masjid. Parts from the temple were used in the construction of the mosque. The minarets (seen in this view), were restored by James Prinsep in the 19th century and further shortened before they were finally pulled down by the government due to their instability.

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