Varanasi – the name instantly conjures the image of narrow winding lanes, river ghats thronged by sadhus and sanyasis performing their daily ablutions and temples crowded by devout Hindus. But there is more to this holy city. The Holy Places in Varanasi comprises of not just temples but some mosques as well and of them one of the most important and beautiful ones is the Alamgir Mosque. It also has the distinction of being Varanasi’s largest river side structure.
History of the Alamgir Mosque, Varanasi
It is believed that at the spot where the Alamgir Mosque now stands there once stood a Vishnu Temple. Built by a Maratha chieftain Beni Madhav Rao Scindhia in the 17th century this was one of the city’s biggest temples extending from Panchganga Ghat to Ram Ghat. Unfortunately however within a few decades after it was built, it was destroyed by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and in its place came up the Alamgir Mosque. The mosque which was built in its stead is also no doubt a very impressive structure. It happens to be referred to by the name of Beni Madhav Ka Darera as well.
Description of the Alamgir Mosque, Varanasi
The Alamgir Mosque enjoys an enviable location. Flanked by the sacred River Ganges, it overlooks the Panchganga Ghat. The masjid manifests impressive architectural skills. It is a fine example of what can be achieved if Hindu and Mughal styles of architecture are beautifully blended. The Hindu effect is more noticeable in the lower portions of the mosque and the enclosure walls whereas in the rest of the mosque the Muslim effect is far more conspicuous.
When you are out on a sight seeing trip to visit the various Tourist Attractions in Varanasi, make sure that the Alamgir Mosque is included. It is undisputedly a fine edifice that makes a mark in the minds of all onlookers. The domes, the turrets, the pillars are all reflective of the remarkable dexterity of Indian craftsmen. One should not miss out an opportunity to witness this commanding structure in Uttar Pradesh, India.