During the period of Government of Sultan Ibrahim, the Hindus were
prohibited from openly worshipping idols, sounding nakus, and leaving their houses in the
rainy season for the purpose of burning their dead onthe banks of the river near the city.
He also levied a tax on them, and at length, in the year of the Hijri 806 or AD 1403-04
ordered them to leave Jaunpur, and to take up their residence in its vicinity. Their
houses were given to the professors of the faith, and the Hindus, being without friend or
assistant, were obliged to abandon their homes and to reside in the circumjacent villages.
This is quoted from Khair-ud-din's History of Jaunpur translated by Pogson and
reported by Cunningham.
The reason for Cunningham's referring to the holy city of Mecca was to
stress his conviction that the Muhammadans did their work of destruction with unusual
completeness. Now, there is no trace whatsoever of any old Hindu temple standing. As is
well known, the holy city has no place of worship other than mosques. Nor are any
non-Muslims allowed to enter Mecca.
Khair-ud-din, in his History of Jaunpur, observed that the Sultan
then gave an order for the destruction of the Dewal (temple) Atala, the Dewal of Bijay
Mandal and the Dewal of Chachakpur... He also commended mosques should be built on their
foundations. He continued that Bijay Mandal be converted into Khalis-Mukhlis and
Chachakpur into Jhanjhari (chain like) masjid.
The Gazetteer of Jaunpur district dated 1908, written by HR. Nevill,
the district collector of Jaunpur, confirms that the temple was demolished by Ibrahim Naib
Barbak, the brother of Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq who erected the Jhanjhari masjid
in honour of a saint called Hazrat Ajmali. Not far from Jhanjhari is what is
popularly known as the Atala Devi masjid. On two sides, in front of this rectangular
edifice, are rows of two-storeyed cloisters. Opposite the mosque is also a similar
cloister, which now houses a madarsa. According to the gazetteers there stood
an equally large temple built by Raja Vijaya Chandra of Kannauj, the father of
The temple was demolished by Khwaja Kamal Khan in 1364 AD and the
mosque was completed by Ibrahim in 1408 AD. Several dates were inscribed on the pillars
which, incidentally, are the same as those that belonged to the temple. The cloisters on
all the three sides with an 174 square feet courtyard in the middle, belonged to the
temple. Nevill has quoted Cunningham.
Yet another temple turned mosque is the Char Ungli, four fingers
or Khalis-Mukhlis masjid. On the left of its main gate is the space for a small stone
wherein exactly fit the four fingers of any hand, whether that of a child or a grown-up.
It was believed to have miraculous powers whereby wishes can be fulfilled and curses come
true.The original stone is.missing and the space has been filled by a substitute.
Mukhlis and Khalis were in turn governors of Jaunpur under Ibrahim Naib
Barbak, who was anxious to build an edifice for the residence of a celebrated saint named
Saiyid Usman of Shiraz, who had fled from Delhi during Timur's invasion. In 1908, when the
gazetteer was published by Nevill, the descendants of the saint still resided near the
mosque. The style of architecture is not very different from that of the Jhanjhari masjid.
The roof stands on ten rows of Hindu temple pillars. According to the gazetteer, the
mandir had been built by Raja Vijaya Chandra.
The river Gomti flows through the city of Jaunpur and there is an
impressive bridge across the river. It is a massive stone structure built in the
1560s. The bridge does not rise towards its centre but is flat. It is an original
construction. The only feature that mars its originality is a colossal stone lion standing
over a small elephant. According to Nevill, it bears the stamp of ancient Hindu
workmanship and must have adorned the gateway of some building erected by the Raja of
To the west of the northern end of the bridge is the big fort of
Jaunpur, built in the time of Ibrahim. But Firoz Shah Tughlaq is credited with having
rebuilt the fortress on an old structure inherited from the Hindu era. Evidence of
the legacy is the masjid inside the fort, built on temple pillars of various shapes and
designs. Nevill has remarked that some of the pillars are upside down which supports the
theory that a number of temples in Jaunpur were destroyed in order to provide stones
required to build the fort; the inner face of almost every stone bore carvings, which had
decorated Hindu temples.
The author's visit to Jaunpur turned out to be a tragi-comedy of
errors. He went to see the temple built by Jaichand and, instead, came back after seeing
the iconoclastic exploits of Ibrahim Naib Barbak and Firoz Shah Tughlaq. He wonder what
could have motivated medieval rulers to perform such acts of vandalism? His dismay
deepened when he read the gazetteer written by an English Christian namely Nevill. He
lamented that the work of demolition was so complete that hardly a vestige remains of
this early epoch; but it is clear that Jaunpur must have been a place of considerable
size, at any rate in the days of the last Hindu kings of Kannauj.