Ram Janmabhoomi (literally, "Rama's birthplace") is the name given to
the site that many Hindus believe to be the birthplace of Rama, the
7th avatar of the
Hindu deity Vishnu.
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Ramayana states that the location of Rama's birthplace is on the
banks of the
Sarayu river in the city of Ayodhya. A section of Hindus
claim that the exact site of Rama's birthplace is where the Babri
Masjid once stood in the present-day Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. According
to this theory, the Mughals demolished a
Hindu shrine that marked the
spot, and constructed a mosque in its place. People opposed to this
theory state that such claims arose only in the 18th century, and that
there is no evidence for the spot being the birthplace of Rama.
The political, historical and socio-religious debate over the history
and location of the Babri Mosque, and whether a previous temple was
demolished or modified to create it, is known as the
In 1992, the demolition of
Babri Masjid by
triggered widespread Hindu-Muslim violence. Since then, the
archaeological excavations have indicated the presence of a temple
beneath the mosque rubble.
Several other sites, including places in other parts of India,
Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nepal, have been proposed as birthplaces of
Babri Masjid site
1.1 Opposition to the claim
Ram Janmabhoomi temple
2 Other places
3 See also
6 Further reading
Babri Masjid site
Further information: Baqi Tashqandi
The Ramayana, a
Hindu epic whose earliest portions date back to 1st
millennium BCE, states that the capital of
Rama was Ayodhya. A
section of Hindus claim that the site of the now-demolished Babri
Ayodhya is the exact birthplace of Rama. The mosque is
believed to have been constructed during 1528-29 by a certain 'Mir
Baqi' (possibly Baqi Tashqandi), who was a commander of the Mughal
emperor Babur. However, the historical evidence for these beliefs
In 1611, an English traveller William Finch visited
recorded the "ruins of the Ranichand [Ramachand] castle and houses".
He made no mention of a mosque. In 1634, Thomas Herbert described a
"pretty old castle of Ranichand [Ramachand]" which he described as an
antique monument that was "especially memorable". However, by 1672,
the appearance of a mosque at the site can be inferred because Lal
Das's Awadh-Vilasa describes the location of birthplace without
mentioning a temple. In 1717, the Moghul Rajput noble Jai Singh II
purchased land surrounding the site and his documents show a
mosque. The Jesuit missionary Joseph Tiefenthaler, who visited the
site during 1766-1771, wrote that either
demolished the Ramkot fortress, including the house that was
considered as the birthplace of
Rama by Hindus. He further stated that
a mosque was constructed in its place, but the Hindus continued to
offer prayers at a mud platform that marked the birthplace of Rama.
In 1810, Francis Buchanan visited the site, and stated that the
structure destroyed was a temple dedicated to Rama, not a house. Many
subsequent sources state that the mosque was constructed after
demolishing a temple.
Police officer and writer
Kishore Kunal states that all the claimed
inscriptions on the Babri mosque were fake. They were affixed sometime
around 1813 (almost 285 years after the supposed construction of the
mosque in 1528 AD), and repeatedly replaced.
Before the 1940s, the
Babri Masjid was called Masjid-i-Janmasthan
("mosque of the birthplace"), including in the official documents such
as revenue records. Shykh Muhammad Azamat Ali Kakorawi Nami
(1811–1893) wrote: "the Babari mosque was built up in 923(?) A.H.
under the patronage of Sayyid Musa Ashiqan in the Janmasthan temple in
Faizabad-Avadh, which was a great place of (worship) and capital of
H.R. Neville, the editor of the Faizabad District Gazetteer (1870),
wrote that the Janmasthan temple "was destroyed by
Babur and replaced
by a mosque." He also wrote "The Janmasthan was in Ramkot and marked
the birthplace of Rama. In 1528 A.D.
Babur came to
Ayodhya and halted
here for a week. He destroyed the ancient temple and on its site built
a mosque, still known as Babur's mosque. The materials of the old
structure [i.e., the temple] were largely employed, and many of the
columns were in good preservation."
Opposition to the claim
A section of historians, such as R. S. Sharma, state that such claims
Babri Masjid site being the birthplace of
Rama sprang up only after
the 18th century. Sharma states that
Ayodhya emerged as a place of
Hindu pilgrimage only in medieval times, since ancient texts do not
mention it as a pilgrim centre. For example, chapter 85 of the Vishnu
Smriti lists 52 places of pilgrimage, which do not include
Ayodhya. Sharma also notes that Tulsidas, who wrote the
Ramcharitmanas in 1574 at Ayodhya, does not mention it as a place of
pilgrimage. Rambhadracharya, on the other hand, has quoted a work
Tulsidas known as Dohā Śataka and is recorded in Allahbad High
Court's verdict which clearly states the demolition of a temple, and
building of a mosque.
Many critics also claim that the present-day
Ayodhya was originally a
Buddhist site, based on its identification with
Saketa described in
Buddhist texts. According to historian Romila Thapar, ignoring the
Hindu mythological accounts, the first historic mention of the city
dates back to the 7th century, when the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang
described it as a Buddhist site.
Ram Janmabhoomi temple
Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas
In 1853, a group of armed
Hindu ascetics belonging to the Nirmohi
Akhara occupied the
Babri Masjid site, and claimed ownership of the
structure. Subsequently, the civil administration stepped in, and
in 1855, divided the mosque premises into two parts: one for Hindus,
and the other for Muslims.
In 1883, the Hindus launched an effort to construct a temple on the
platform. When the administration denied them the permission to do
this, they took the matter to court. In 1885, the
Hindu Sub Judge
Pandit Hari Kishan Singh dismissed the lawsuit. Subsequently, the
higher courts also dismissed the lawsuit in 1886, in favour of status
quo. In December 1949, some Hindus placed idols of
the mosque, and claimed that they had miraculously appeared there. As
Hindu devotees started visiting the place, the Government
declared the mosque a disputed area and locked its gates.
Subsequently, multiple lawsuits from Hindus, asking for permission to
convert the site into a place of worship.
In the 1980s, the Vishwa
Hindu Parishad (VHP) and other Hindu
nationalist groups and political parties launched a campaign to
Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir ("
Rama birthplace temple") at the
Rajiv Gandhi government allowed Hindus to access the site
for prayers. On 6 December 1992,
Hindu nationalists demolished the
mosque, resulting in communal riots leading to over 2,000 deaths.
In 2003, the
Archaeological Survey of India
Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) conducted
excavations of the site on court orders. The ASI report indicated
the presence of a 10th-century temple under the mosque. Muslim
groups and the historians supporting them disputed these findings, and
dismissed them as politically motivated. The Allahabad High
Court, however, upheld the ASI's findings. In 2010, Court ruled
that the 2.77 acres (1.12 ha) of
Ayodhya land be divided into 3
parts, with 1/3 going to the Ram Lalla or Infant Lord
Hindu Maha Sabha for the construction of the Ram temple, 1/3
going to the Islamic
Sunni Waqf Board
Sunni Waqf Board and the remaining 1/3 going to a
Hindu religious denomination Nirmohi Akhara. The excavations by
Archaeological Survey of India
Archaeological Survey of India were heavily used as evidence by
the court that the predating structure was a massive
In 2009, the
Bharatiya Janata Party
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) released its election
manifesto, repeating its promise to construct a temple to
Rama at the
Those who believe that
Rama was a historic figure, place his birth
before 1000 BCE. However, the archaeological excavations at Ayodhya
have not revealed any settlement before that date. Consequently, a
number of other places have been suggested as the birthplace of
In November 1990, the newly appointed Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar
made an attempt to resolve the
Ayodhya dispute amicably. Towards this
objective, he asked
Hindu and Muslim groups to exchange evidence on
their claims over Ayodhya. The panel representing the Muslim
Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) was included R. S.
Sharma, D. N. Jha,
M. Athar Ali and Suraj Bhan. The evidence presented
by them included scholarly articles discussing alternative theories
about the birthplace of Rama. These sources mentioned 8 different
possible birthplaces, including a site other than
Babri Masjid in
Nepal and Afghanistan. One source claimed that
Rama was a
pharaoh of ancient Egypt.
In his 1992 book Ancient geography of Ayodhya, historian Shyam Narain
Pande argued that
Rama was born around present-day
Afghanistan. In 1997, Pande presented his theory in the paper
Rama distinguished from God Rama" at the 58th session of
the Indian History Congress in Bangalore. In 2000, Rajesh Kochhar
similarly traced the birthplace of
Rama to Afghanistan, in his book
The Vedic People: Their History and Geography. According to him, the
Harriud river of
Afghanistan is the original "Sarayu", and
located on its banks.
In 1998, archaeologist Krishna Rao put forward his hypothesis about
Banawali being Rama's birthplace.
Banawali is an Indus-Sarasvati
civilization archaeological site located in the
Haryana state of
India. Rao identified
Rama with the Sumerian king
Rim-Sin I and his
Ravana with the Babylonian king Hammurabi. He claimed to have
deciphered Indus seals found along the Sarasvati rivers, and found the
Rama Sena" (Rim-Sin) and "Ravani dama" on those seals. He
Ayodhya as the birthplace of Rama, on the grounds that
Ayodhya and other
Ramayana sites excavated by
B. B. Lal do not show
evidence of settlements before 1000 BCE. He also claimed that the
writers of the later epics and the
Puranas got confused because the
Indo-Aryans applied their ancient place names to the new place
names as they migrated eastwards.
In 2015, Abdul Rahim Quraishi of the All India Muslim Personal Law
Board (AIMPLB), argued that
Rama was born somewhere in present-day
northwestern India or Pakistan. In his book Facts of
(Myth of Ram Janmabhoomi), he cited writings of former ASI official
Jassu Ram, who argued that
Rehman Dheri was the birthplace of Rama.
Rehman Dheri is located near
Dera Ismail Khan
Dera Ismail Khan in present-day Pakistan,
and was earlier called "Ram Dheri" according to Jassu Ram.
Quraishi argued that the present-day
Ayodhya was originally called
Saket, and Hindus probably renamed it to "Ayodhya" in the 11th century
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