Hindu Temples what happened to them? Part 13 -The dispute at Sidhpur


The Fourth Annual Report of the Minorities  Commission submitted to the President of India through the Ministry of Home Affairs on April 19, 1983, carries an account of a dispute over the
Jãmi  Masjid at Sidhpur in the Mehsana District of Gujarat. The account raises some significant questions about certain aspects of Islam as a religion and the character of Muslim rule in medieval
India. We have to go to primary source materials in order to find satisfactory answers to these questions.

Sidhpur is a Taluka town, sixty-four miles north of Ahmadabad. It is situated on the left bank of the river Saraswati, fifteen miles upstream of ANhilwãD PãTan, the old capital of Gujarat before
Ahmadabad was founded in the first quarter of the fifteenth century.  In a part of the town,  says the Commission Report,  is located what is known as Rudramahãlaya complex.

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This complex was built by Siddhraj Jayasimha in the 12th century  This temple seems to have been destroyed partly by Ulugh Khan in AD 1297-98 and partly by Ahmedshah in AD 1415. Some of the cubicles and a number of pillars on the Western side of the temple it would appear were later converted into a mosque. 

At the dawn of independence in 1947, Sidhpur was in the territory of Baroda, the princely state ruled by the Maratha house of the GãekwãDs.  The princely state of Baroda,  proceeds the Report,  had treated the complex consisting of the mosque and the remnants of the temple as a monument of historical importance. Subsequently, by virtue of an agreement between the Trustees and the Archaeological Survey of India on 31st March, 1954, the mosque was declared as a national monument and its maintenance and protection were taken over by the Archaeological
Survey of India. One of the terms of this agreement was that the mosque would continue to be used by the Muslims for offering prayers.

The Trustees of the Jãmi  Masjid, however, became dissatisfied with the Archaeological Survey which, they complained, was not doing its duty towards maintenance of the mosque.
 Subsequently,  continues the Report,  a dispute arose between the Trustees of the mosque and the officials of the Archaeological Department with regard to the maintenance of the mosque as according to the Trustees, necessary repairs to the mosque were not being carried out by the Archaeological Department and the mosque was in danger of falling down. These disputes led to some litigation in the High Court which, however, ended in a compromise. An undertaking was given by the Archaeological Department in terms of the compromise that they could carry out the necessary repairs to the mosque. It is alleged that the undertaking was not given effect to and this resulted in
further litigation which again ended in a compromise. Under the fresh compromise terms, the Archaeological Department again gave an undertaking to carry out the repairs of the mosque and
also to lay out a garden in the courtyard of the mosque.

Unfortunately, this compromise again did not bring about a final settlement between the Trustees of the mosque and the Archaeological Department. According to the Muslims, the Archaeological Survey of India, instead of carrying out repairs to the mosque, started digging operations which exposed the relics of the temples and also the rich sculptural carvings on the two wings of the mosque. These exposures appear to have attracted the attention of the Hindus and they demanded that not only should these ancient temple relics be preserved but that the mosque should also no longer be used by the Muslims for offering prayers or they may also be allowed to worship the Siva Linga discovered during the excavations within the premises of the mosque.

The Minorities  Commission came into the picture on October 4, 1979 when it received a letter from the Trustees of the mosque,  conveying the apprehensions of the Muslims of Sidhpur that the Hindus were trying to usurp the Jama Masjid. 4 The letter from the Trustees reported:  On the 6th September, 1979, one Yogeshwar Dutt had illegally led a huge crowd into the mosque and instigated them to usurp it. He again entered the mosque on 2nd October, 1979 and demanded that Namaz in the Jama Masjid should be stopped and also incited the Hindus to demolish the mosque. 5 The Commission referred the matter to the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India and called for a report.

But before the Commission could receive a reply from the Survey, Begum Ayesha Sheikh, MLA, of the Gujarat Assembly wrote to the Chairman, Minorities  Commission about the threats to which the local Muslims were being continually subjected by the majority community and especially the Jan Sangh and the RSS elements for their use of the Jama Masjid and that this had created a serious communal tension in the town. 6 The Commission wrote to the Government of Gujarat on December 7, 1979 and asked for a factual report.  On 16th January, 1980,  says the Commission s Report,  Government of Gujarat denied any RSS hand in the demand of the local Hindus for conversion of the Jama Masjid at Sidhpur into a temple as alleged. The State Government further reported that the dispute between the Muslims and the Hindus about the use of the Jama Masjid had been going on for quite some time past and that the local police and State Government were aware of the situation. They also assured the Commission that there was no possibility of any communal trouble at Sidhpur.

A Hindu-Muslim riot, however, broke out at Sidhpur on March 14, 1980 and took some toll of limbs and property.  The critical stage,  records the Commission,  was reached on 14th March, 1980, when a group of Hindus led by a local Sadhu started Bhajans at the Rudramahalaya. At about 10.00 A.M. a group of boys started closing shops and people started coming towards the Rudramahalaya.

Everything was peaceful till the Muslims started assembling for their Namaz around 1.00 P.M. By 1.15 P.M. both Bhajans and Namaz were going on simultaneously. According to reports, some Muslims from the houses adjoining the Rudramahalaya started throwing stones on the Hindus. The Hindus retaliated. By this time about 800 to 900 Hindus and about 300 to 400 Muslims had collected. The police, anticipating trouble, was on the spot along with the Taluka Magistrate. They burst teargas shells to disperse the crowd. The Muslims who had to pass through Hindu localities before reaching their houses, were stoned by the Hindus from housetops and lanes. Six shops were forced open and looted. Two of them belonged to the Hindus. The jeep of the Mamalatdar was also burnt and the Mamalatdar himself also sustained some minor injuries due to the stone throwing. In all 72 persons sustained injuries during the incident on the 14th March, 1980. The situation was brought under control by 2.15 P.m.

Curfew was immediately imposed and the situation at Sidhpur remained peaceful for some time barring some minor incidents.

Begum Ayesha Sheikh again wrote to the Commission on March 28, 1980, reporting the communal trouble that had broken out on March 14.  She also mentioned that the State Government had been deliberately trying to play down the gravity of the incident and, therefore, any report submitted by the State Government would not be fair and impartial. She, therefore, requested that instead of asking for a report from the State Government the Minorities  Commission itself should undertake an on-the-spot inquiry into the incidents.

But before the Commission could decide what to do, another round of Hindu-Muslim riots took place at Sidhpur on April 8, 1980.  However again on the 8th April, 1980,  records the Commission,  at about 11.45 A.M. one Muslim was assaulted by three Hindus as a result of which two Hindus were stabbed by the Muslims. Incidents of assault took place thereafter in different parts of the town. Curfew was imposed on the 8th April, 1980, and 42 persons were arrested. 10 On April 14,  nine important Muslim representatives including one Member of Parliament met the Chairman and handed over a memorandum on the dispute and requested the Commission to visit Sidhpur.

The Commission, however, could not visit Sidhpur without prior consultation with the Government of Gujarat. By that time the State had been placed under Governor s rule. It had neither an elected Assembly nor a popular Ministry. Shri K.T. Satarawala,Adviser to the Governor of Gujarat, came to New Delhi on May 1, 1980 and met the Chairman of the Commission. After a discussion on the prevailing communal situation at Sidhpur, it was agreed that the Adviser would send to the Chairman  a detailed note on the communal incidents which took place during March and April 1980. The Adviser s  Note on Rudramahalaya and Jama Masjid  was duly sent to the Chairman on May 16, 1980. It was accompanied by  a map of the area and some photographs.The Note starts by giving a slightly different version of the status of the Jãmi  Masjid under the Baroda State and the frequency of Muslim prayers in the Masjid.  The erstwhile Baroda State, says the Note,  took under protection in 1936-37 the Toranas and other architectural remains of the Rudramahalaya excluding the Masjid portion. After the merger of the State, the Rudramahalaya and other State protected monuments were declared as Monuments of National Importance under the 1951 Act. Subsequently, the Jami Masjid being originally a part of the Rudramahalaya was also declared a monument of National Importance. However, as it was a monument in religious use, an agreement under the Ancient Monuments and Sites and Remains Act was entered into between the Trustees and the Archaeological Survey of India on behalf of the President of India on the 31st March, 1954. At that time, the monument was used for Friday prayers only and that too by a small number of persons.

Next, the Note provides the background before the dispute arose between the Survey and the Trustees.  In 1959,  proceeds the Note,  the then Superintending Archaeologist recommended that the modern buildings covering the view of the Rudramahalaya and Jami Masjid should be removed for improving the environs and to throw open the grand edifice to view. The Superintending Archaeologist recommended the removal of the intermediate wall also as it was a modern accretion. The proposals were accepted and the acquisition of buildings was undertaken.

It took the Survey ten long years to acquire the modern buildings.  After compensation was paid,  continues the Note,  the buildings were handed over to the Survey in 1969. The Joint Director General (later Director General) inspected the site on 3.6.69 and after discussion with the Collector, Mehsana, and the Trustees of the Masjid, drew up an Inspection Note in which he instructed that (i) the demolition of buildings should be done in one sweep (ii) the compound wall of the Masjid may be retained with necessary modifications to include the acquired area and (iii) the architectural remains that may be found in the clearance operations should be preserved as they are likely to throw light on the plan of the Rudramahalaya and (iv) a garden should be laid out in the acquired area.

For various reasons, the Survey could start operations at Sidhpur only after ten more years had elapsed.  As the Trustees were pressing for pulling down the acquired houses, the Superintending Archaeologist, Baroda, inspected the site early in May, 1979 and decided to implement the decision of the Joint Director General of Archaeology by pulling down the acquired houses. The operations were started on May 29, 1980.  As the northern wall was very shabby and in a dilapidated condition, it had to be repaired after pulling down. The digging of the acquired area was necessary for the preparation of a garden. He discussed the operation with the Trustees but before any step to pull down the compound wall was taken, the Trustees filed a Writ Petition in the High Court on 12th June, 1979 and an injunction asking the Archaeological Survey of India to maintain status quo in the Masjid area was issued.

The Note gives greater details about the litigation and the compromises that followed. The Writ Petition No. 1662 of 1979 versus Union of India was filed by six Trustees of the Jãmi Masjid. They prayed for  (a) an order or direction permanently restraining the correspondent, his servants and agents from demolishing the surrounding buildings situated on the southern side of the land bearing survey No. 37 of Sidhpur town in Mehsana district in which the ancient Mosque named Jumma Masjid is situated, without constructing a protecting wall surrounding the said Masjid; (b) to issue an order or direction directing the respondent to erect or allow the petitioners to erect a compound wall surrounding the said survey No. 37 of the town of Sidhpur in Mehsana district; (c) issue an injunction restraining the respondent, his servants or agents from demolishing the walls of the buildings on the southern side and northern side of survey No.37 which have yet not been demolished by him.

The Survey decided to contest the Writ Petition.  Shri B.L.
Nagarch, Superintending Archaeologist, Western Circle, Baroda,
filed an affidavit in reply in the Gujarat High Court in July, 1979
wherein he stated that the purpose of demolishing die modern
buildings situated around the Jumma Masjid and Rudramahalaya
acquired by the Government of India was to arrest further damage
caused by the modern accretions and natural causes such as rain
and growth of vegetation, that it is the responsibility of the
Department to preserve the Masjid and the Rudramahal and they
have not interfered with the established religious usage of a
portion near the Jumma Masjid and that the Department has taken
clearance work necessary for undertaking structural repairs to the
roof and back wall which is out of plumb and has some
cavities. He further stated that the structures being demolished
were not within the Jumma Masjid but outside the monument, that
the acquisition was solely with a view to undertaking the repairs to
the monument and improve the surroundings by laying a garden.
He further stated that the Department would only demolish the
modern wall and not any ancient structure.

The Honourable Judge suggested a compromise as he felt that the
Archaeological Survey was only trying to improve the monument
and its surroundings.  A  Compromise  was then arrived at
according to which the compound walls were to be repaired and a
garden was to be laid out in the courtyard of the Masjid. Its back
wall was also to be repaired. 21 The Trustees withdrew their Writ
Petition on July 30, 1979.

The  Compromise , however, did not work.  While digging
for examining the foundation of shrines and the back wall of the
Masjid, important temple remains were found on the west and the
north. According to para 3 of  Compromise  when garden
operations (digging) were started in the open courtyard temple
remains were found there also.  The Trustees started  hindering
further work.  The Superintending Archaeologist appealed to the
Collector of the District. The Collector called a meeting at
Mehsana on November 30, 1979.  The Trustees were also
present in the meeting. It was agreed that further digging should be
stopped and that measures to preserve the temple remains such as
the provision of a canopy over it could be thought of. It was
pointed out that area within the courtyard for the garden was not
used for prayers as could be made out from the debris etc., that
were lying there.
This agreement also did not work.  Shri A.S. Quereshi, Advocate
for the Trustees, issued a notice dated the 6th Feb. 1980 to the
Superintendent, Archaeological Department asking the
Department to build the compound walls as per the compromise
and cover up the temple remains. The Supdt. Archaeological
Deptt. explained in person the importance of the discoveries made
and the need for revision of the compromise in the interest of
preserving the precious cultural heritage of the country. As Shri
Quereshi wanted to visit the site along with Supdt. Archaeological
Deptt. he went to Sidhpur on the 8th March, 1980. At first, he
agreed to the preservation but later he insisted on closing the
trenches in his very presence that day. The Supdt. Archaeological
Department ordered closure of the trenches and construction of
compound wall and both the works were started in his

The Hindus of Sidhpur objected to the covering of the temple
remains that had been uncovered. Tension mounted in the town as
reports spread that the Survey was filling up the trenches.  Upto
the 14th March, 1980, a major part of the complex was covered
and the northern compound wall was constructed over some length
but then the trouble started and the labourers refused to
work. 24 On March 15, 1980, the Puratatva Sanskrutik Abhyas
and Sansodhan Mandal, an organisation formed by some Hindus
of Sidhpur in January, 1980, filed a Civil Application No. 644 of
1980 against the Union of India and Mr. S.R. Rao, Superintending
Archaeologist.  Their prayer is mainly that the excavated area in
the courtyard of the Masjid should not be filled up and that status
quo should be maintained in the excavated area.

The High Court granted a stay and the Archaeological Survey could not
proceed further with the construction of the compound wall.
Yet another attempt at a compromise was made after the riot on
March 14 had been controlled.  Soon after the incident,  says
the Commission s Report,  a series of meetings were held by
the District Magistrate with the representatives of the Muslims and
Hindus to work out an amicable solution. An agreement was
reached between the representatives of the two communities to the
effect that the Muslims would forgo their right of prayer at the
Jama Masjid on the following conditions: (a) a suitable plot of
land situated near the railway station is allotted to them for the
construction of an alternative Masjid; (b) pending the construction
of the Masjid by the Muslims on this plot of land, they should be
allowed to offer their Namaz at the Jama Masjid; and (c) the Jama
Masjid should be maintained as a national monument by the
Archaeological Department and should not be open for any other

But this compromise made by the Muslims of Sidhpur was
rejected by some Muslim organisations at the State level.
 However, on the instigation of some of the Muslim
organisations,  proceeds the Report,  the local Muslim leaders,
who had earlier agreed in the presence of the Distt. Magistrate to
the above terms of settlement conveyed their decision to wait until
a decision was taken on the terms of settlement at the State level.
At the same time, some of the Muslim organisations stepped up
their demand for allowing the Muslims to use the Jama Masjid for

The Note from the Government of Gujarat gives some more
details in this context.  On the 26th March, 1980, Her Excellency
the Governor visited Sidhpur. She met both Hindus and Muslims
and advised them that they should select five persons and then sit
together and find out an amicable solution. Since both the parties
wanted some Government representative to remain present during
the discussion, the Collector was instructed to help them. The
same afternoon i.e. on the 26th March, both the parties met and the
above proposal was put up by the Muslims and discussed at
length. It was decided that they should effect this agreement before
the High Court the next day. Next day, they left for Ahmadabad
but on the intervention of certain organisations such as the All
India Muslim League, Jamat-e-Islami, Gujarat Avkaf and Trust
Federation, they decided to wait till a decision at the Gujarat level
was taken.

Finally, eight Muslim leaders joined together to file a further Writ
in the Gujarat High Court on April 5, 1980. The Note gives their
names and designations as follows:-

1. Shri Gulzarsha Ahmedshah Hakim, Managing Trustee of
Jumma Masjid, Sidhpur.
2. Haji Hussainbhai Habibur Mansuri, Trustee Jumma Masjid
Trust, Sidhpur.
3. Haji Ibrahim Haji Issak Quoreshi, Vice-President, Jamiet-ul-
Ulema-e-Hind, Branch Sidhpur.
4. Imtiskhan Mahabubkhan Pathan, Secretary, Jamiet-ul-Ulema-e-
Hind, Sidhpur Branch.
5. Maulvi Dawoodbhai Haji Suleman, President, Jamiet-ul-Ulmae-
Hind, Mehsana Distt. Branch-Resident-Patan.
6. Maulvi Mohammed Ussian Fateh Mohammed, President, Uttar
Gujarat Masjid Bachao Samiti, Village Bhagal, Taluka Palanpur.
7. Abbas Tajmohammed, Vice-President of Uttar Gujarat Masjid
Bachao Samiti, Village Bhagal, Tal-Palanpur.
8. Dr. Rehmatulla Ahmedullah Hakim, President, Gujarat Muslim
Vakf and Trust Federation, Ahmadabad.

 Their prayers,  according to the Note,  are: (a) Jumma
Masjid should be declared Masjid open for offering Namaz; (b) To
fill up the excavation at the floor of the  Kibla  (Western) wall
and in the courtyard of the Masjid before 1.5.80; (c) To put a
compound wall where it existed before and it should be of stone
and high enough to prevent outside interference; (d) To cover the
entire courtyard with stone slab flooring and to rebuild muazams
quarter with stone slab; (e) To give permission to the Trustees to
have electric points in adequate number.

The Muslim Organisations, according to the Note, adopted some
other methods also for pressing their demands.  Some of the
organisations appear to have taken the decision that telegrams
should be sent to Government requesting to allow Muslims to use
the Jumma Masjid for Namaz and accordingly, a large number of
telegrams have been received by Government from the Muslims of
Gujarat and Bombay. 31Again:  The Muslims appear to have
also decided to send printed letters to Government requesting that
any compromise or any writings regarding conversion of Jumma
Masjid at Sidhpur into a protected monument will not be binding
on them. Accordingly, more than 2400 printed letters have been
received by Government.

Having  considered the totality of the situation in the light of the
pepresentation/memorandum received from the Muslims of
Sidhpur and the report sent by the Adviser to the Governor,  the
Commission decided to visit Sidhpur for an  on-the-spot study of
the dispute. 33 But the visit had to be postponed due to various
reasons.  The Commission was finally able to visit Sidhpur on
2nd November, 1980, when it inspected the site of the Jama
Masjid and also held discussions with representatives of the
Muslims and Hindus at Sidhpur and the State Govt.
officials. 34 The list of persons who  appeared before the
Commission in connection with the dispute,  names 15 Muslims,
7 Officials and 5 Hindus.35
As a result of the discussion the Commission suggested an 8-point
formula for settlement:  (1) The Rudramahalaya complex
including the mosque would be retained as a national monument.
(2) The Mosque would be maintained in its original shape. The
sanctity of the mosque would be ensured by the A.S.I. and the
State Government. Also the sancity of the newly exposed temple
on either side of the mosque would be maintained. (3) The
excavations on the western side of the mosque as well as those in
the courtyard on the eastern side of the mosque will be filled up.
Ancient relics found in the present excavations would be removed
before the filling up. The existing Western Qibla wall of the
mosque proper would be restored to its original condition and
strengthened. The outer wall which was covering the two towers
on either side containing sculptures would not be rebuilt. (4) No
worship in any form would be offered by any community within
the precincts of the Rudramahalaya Complex. (5) The A.S.I.
would not make any further excavations within the mosque area
formerly enclosed by the compound wall. (6) No gathering for any
religious purpose would be permitted within the Rudramahalaya
complex. (7) The enforcement of these items would be guaranteed
by the State Government and the Central Government. (8) The
State Government would provide at nominal cost an alternative
site for the construction of a new mosque at the Government
Dharmashala near the clock tower after removing all existing
cabins and evicting the occupants of the Dharmashala.
The formula was hailed by the then Home Minister and Chief
Secretary of the Government of Gujarat. They assured the
Commission that  they would be able to bring about a solution of
the dispute to the satisfaction of both the communities on the basis
of the above-mentioned terms. 37 But it did not lead to a final
settlement. The Commission records at the end of its Report on
this dispute:  Five months have elapsed since the Commission
visited Sidhpur and settled most of the differences between the
two communities over the use of the Jama Masjid and the
Rudramahalaya complex. The Home Minister and the
representatives of the State Government had extended the
assurance to the Commission that they would be able to bring
about a satisfactory solution to the above dispute on the basis of
the terms of settlement suggested by the Commission within a
reasonable span of time. However, no final settlement seems to
have been reached yet. 38
The story as related in the Commission s report combined with
the Note from the Government of Gujarat tells us a few things
about the behaviour patterns of the different parties involved in the
dispute - the Trustees of the Jãmi  Masjid, the Archaeological
Survey of India and the Government of Gujarat. It also gives us a
glimpse of the quality and character of leadership thrown up by the
two communities in the dispute over a place of worship. But what
interests us primarily in the present study is the  temple
remains  exposed by the Archaeological Survey of India in and
around the Jãmi  Masjid. These  temple remains  point
towards a far more momentous story which has yet to be told.


A picture of the  temple remains  exposed in the Jãmi
Masjid area at Sidhpur has to be pieced together from five sources
which we have arranged according to the extent of details given.
First, we have the Note from die Government of Gujarat.
Secondly, we have the reply received by the Minorities
Commission from the Archaeological Survey of India. Thirdly, we
have the Annual Reports of the Archaeological Survey of India for
1979-80 and 1980-81. Fourthly, we have a description in the
Minorities  Commission s Report of what its members saw
during their visit to Sidhpur on November 2, 1980. Lastly, we
have an article by B.L. Nagarch included in a commemoration
volume brought out by a private publishing house in 1987. Shri
Nagarch was one of the Superintending Archaeologists at Sidhpur
at the time the  temple remains  were sighted.

The Note from the Government of Gujarat

The main purpose of the Note was to narrate the incidents which
took place at Sidhpur during March and April, 1980. It refers to
 temple remains  only when the narration touches them while
describing the dispute between the Trustees of the Jãmi  Masjid
and the Archaeological Survey. The narration mentions  temple
remains  several time in different contexts. But we are left
wondering whether they are architectural or sculptural or both.

The Archaeological Survey of India

The Minorities  Commission had called for a report from the
Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India
immediately after it received on October 4, 1979 a letter from the
Trustees of the Jãmi  Masjid stating that the Hindus of Sidhpur
were trying to usurp the Masjid. The date on which the
Commission wrote to the Survey is not given in the
Commission s Report, nor the date on which it received a reply
from the Survey. All we have is one para incorporated in the
Commission s Report. It says,  The matter was taken up with
the Archaeological Survey of India which reported that ruins of
Rudra Mahalaya Complex and Jama Masjid at Sidhapur, though
forming one Complex were being protected individually under the
Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains
(Declaration of Places of National Importance) and were being
preserved on the lines they were originally protected. The dispute
arose out of demolition of the surrounding buildings, while
constructing a protective wall around the Masjid, which exposed
some Hindu idols within the precincts of the mosque. 39
The Annual Report of Archaeological Survey of India for 1979-80
published in 1983 has three entries on what was discovered at
Sidhpur. The first entry is in Chapter IV which deals with  Other
Important Discoveries , State by State. We find the following
entry under Gujarat:


Trivedi of the Western Circle of the Survey, discovered sculptures
of Hindu and Jaina pantheons, assignable variously from the tenth
to eighteenth century AD and an inscribed brass image of Vishnu
dated Samvat 1485 (AD 1429). 40
Next, it has the following two entries in Chapter IX dealing with
 Preservation of Monuments  in different Circles of the Survey:
dilapidated western wall of the mosque is being repaired. While
carrying out demolition and clearance of wooden structures from
the acquired area the remains of some earlier structures have been
found. The work is in progress.

- The clearance of debris after demolition of the modern buildings
from the acquired area yielded number of loose sculptures,
including remains of an earlier temple.41
The publication has sixty-four plates carrying one hundred and
thirty photographs. No photograph of what was found at Sidhpur
has been included.
The Annual Report for 1980-81 also published in 1983 has one
entry in Chapter IV dealing with  Other Important
Discoveries.  It says:
MEHSANA - B.L. Nagarch, P.K. Trivedi and H. Michael of the
Western Circle of the Survey noticed sculptures of seated Uma-
Mahesvara, a royal worshipping couple, a head of Siva (pl.
XXXVI A) and a fragment of Salabhanjika recovered from the
Jami Mosque. All these are assignable to circa twelfth century
The publication has fifty-eight plates carrying one hundred and
forty photographs. Only one photograph, A on plate XXXVI,
shows the  Head of Siva  found at Sidhpur.

Report of the Minorities  Commission

The Report has recorded in eight paras what its members saw with
their own eyes while visiting the site at Sidhpur. Out of them, six
paras - 1-2, 5-6, and 8 - relate to  temple remains . They are as

1. A portion of the courtyard of the mosque in the east was dug
upto a depth of 10 ft. In a portion of this pit a stone Nandi (bull)
was embedded in the earth. We also saw several pieces of temple
architecture which had been dug up and kept in the pit.
2. The open site to the North of the mosque was also found
similarly dug up and several temple relics were lying exposed in
these pits.
3. There were two cubicles, one at the Northern and the other one
at the Southern side of the mosque. In the Northern cubicle, there
was a Siva Linga embedded in the earth and an idol carving
embedded in the wall while in the Southern cubicle there was only
an idol carving in the wall but no Siva Linga.
5. The Northern and Southern wings of the mosque which had
hitherto been covered up were now lying exposed obviously as a
result of removal of the covering material on these two wings
disclosing rich temple carvings.
6. The foundation of the Northern wing was also lying exposed
and it also revealed rich temple carvings.
8. A portion of the ground on the Western side of the mosque was
also found dug up and this was found to contain some temple
relics as well as the stone slabs which had been removed from the
outer wall of the mosque.43
It may be mentioned that by the time the Commission came to
Sidhpur, a major part of the excavations had been covered up. The
Note from the Government of Gujarat states that,  upto the 14th
March, 1980, a major part of the complex was covered and the
northern compound wall was constructed over some length

Article by B.L. Nagarch

B.L. Nagarch is a trained archaeologist familiar with the technical
language used for describing details of Hindu temples. He also
knows how to identify and describe various sculptures and
decorative designs. As the major part of his article is devoted to
 temple remains , we have to cite him at some length and under
several sections.

1.      The Buried Temples

For carrying out repairs to the bulged western wall of the masjid
and overhanging foundation of the south-western shrine, it was
necessary to examine the foundation by excavating. Ornamental
plinth of a pre-Solanki temple (Period-I) was found in the course
of excavation for underpinning overhanging foundation of southwestern
shrine. This plinth (jagatî) consists of a bhiTTa,
kapota decorated with kuDûs, karNikã, tamãla-paTTikã (frieze
decorated with tamãlapatras), plain khura, kumbhadecorated with
half diamond designs and plain kala a (Pl. I). The dislodged
courses of the western wall of the masjid below the ground level
were also revealed during the course of examination of its
foundation by excavation. A Jar in situ was also exposed over the
plinth of this pre-Solanki temple.
 The debris near the entrance of masjid was removed. The
hidden plinth of north-western shrine was exposed as a result of
excavation for examining its foundation. During the course of
examination of the foundation of this north-western shrine, the
plinth of another pre-Solanki temple was found (Pl. II). The stone
flooring of the plinth showed the use of clamps and dowels for
binding the stones together. The mouldings of this plinth show
from bottom upwards bhiTTa, kapota decorated withkuDûs,
antarapatra, karNikã, antarapatra, tamãlapaTTikã carved
withtamãla-patras, khura, kumbha decorated with half diamond
designs,kala a and kapota decorated with kuDûs.
 Another exquisitely carved temple attached to the aforesaid pre-
Solanki temple (I) was laid bare in the north-west corner outside
the mosque while excavating for gardening (Pl. III). The plinth of
this temple shows from bottom upwards bhiTTa, kapota decorated
with kuDûs, antarapatra, karNikã, antarapatra, tamãlapaTTikã
carved with tamãla-patras, narathara and diamonds in
panels. Only the plinth of the maNDapa of this temple has
survived. The sanctum of this temple is missing. The door-sill of
the sanctum door-way is fortunately in situ. Themandãraka carved
with spiral lotus scroll is flanked on either side by a
bold kîrtimukha. A panel on the right of the kîrtimukha on the right
depicts worship of GaNe a (Plate-IV). Four-armed GaNe a is
seated in a niche. He is flanked on the right by a standing male and
on the left by a standing female attendant. The niche is flanked on
the right by a standing female standing in tribhañga and
carrying kaTi and kala a and on the left by two female
attendants, each standing in tribhañga and carryingkaTi and
upraised in praise of god (pra ansã mudrã). GaNe a carries
chopped off para u, padma and modaka-pãtra. He wears
akaraNDamukuTa, hãra and sarpayajñopavîta.
 A panel on the left of the kîrtimukha on the left shows niche
containing an image of a four-armed Kubera seated
in lalitãsana with his consort. He is flanked on the right by a
female chaurî-bearer standing in tribhañgaand holding a chaurî by
her right hand. The niche is flanked on the right by two female
attendants, each standing in tribhañga and on the left by a male
attendant standing in tribhañga. Kubera and his consort wear each
akaraNDamukuTa. Kubera holds a purse. His belly has been
chopped off.
 A beautifully carved panel shows a fighting scene (Period-IA)
with warriors holding swords in their hands, a horse rider and an
elephant (Pl. V). Another panel on narathara depicts a fighting
scene with three warriors holding swords, a galloping horse and a
running camel.
 Other noteworthy (Pl. VI) among the scenes carved on
the narathara is a hunting scene wherein a man holding a bow and
arrow is seen shooting an arrow at the band of seven deers. (Pl.
 A small shrine of IndrãNî opposite the aforesaid temple IA (pre-
Solanki), was also laid bare during excavation for gardening after
demolishing modern buildings (Pl. VIII). This shrine is composed
of two ornamented pilasters and is surmounted by
a chhadya carved with lotus petals. Each of the pilasters shows
from bottom upwards kumbhikã, decorated with half-diamond
design, plain kala a, shaft showing square, octagonal and
circular sections carved with a human figure, kîrtimukhawith
pearls coming out, bharaNî consisting
of karNîkã and padmasurmounted by vase and foliage motif. The
human figure on the right pilaster is a female standing
in tribhañga and carrying kaTi andpra ansã mudrã. Above this
is carved the name of the sculptor VoDa deva in Devanãgarî
characters. The human figure on the left pilaster is a dancing male.
Above this is carved the name of the sculptor as Dadã.
 Four-armed IndrãNî is seated in lalitãsana and
carries varadãksha, modakapãtra, lotus-stalk and kamaNDalu. She
wears karaNDamukuTa, vaikakshayaka, hãra, keyûras, valayas,
nûpuras and a sãrî fastened by amekhalã. The mount elephant is
carved below. On the pedestal is inscribed the name of the sculptor
in Devanãgarî characters (Pl. IX).
 The mouldings of the plinth of north-western shrine with friezes
of sculptures carved on a number of them, were exposed in course
of removal of debris and digging for gardening. They show from
bottom upwards bhiTTa, bhiTTa, plain jãDaMba, antarapatra,
karNikã, antarapatra, grãsapaTTi, gajathara, narathara, khura,
kumbha,decorated with friezes of sculptures and
bejewelled kalaSa (Pl. X). Carvings on the plinth and parapet of
the sabhãmaNDapa of north-west shrine were also revealed during
clearance of debris. The full view of thesabhãmaNDapa of northwest
shrine was exposed after removing the rubble-and-mud
compound wall (Pl. XI). The plinth of temple II which served as
base for northwest shrine was also revealed (Pl. XII).
 The open area in front of the prayer hall of the masjid with
shabby pavement where shrubs and trees were growing and debris
had accumulated and which was not used for prayer, was
excavated for laying out a garden. While excavating for garden in
the eastern part of open courtyard in front of the prayer hall, the
sculpture of an elephant and remains of a temple were found. The
ornamented plinth of this temple shows from bottom
upwards jãDaMba decorated with bold lotus-scroll,karNikã,
kapota decorated with kuDûs and grãsapaTTi (Pl. XIII). The
plinth shows that the temple above it was pañcharatha in plan. An
underground passage below the plinth of this temple (Period-II)
also came to light. Well polished stones have been used for the
construction of this underground passage. Besides the sculptures
of the elephant mentioned above, a human figure and lotus designs
were also found by the side of the beautifully carved plinth of the
temple. This temple found during excavation for gardening
operation is perhaps of the time of Mûlarãja (Period-II). 45

2. Smothered Sculptures

When the bulged portion of the western wall of the masjid was
being dismantled, it was brought to light that this wall was a
double wall. When the outer wall was dismantled the debris
including sculptural and architectural fragments filled in between
the inner and outer wall came out. There was a difference of one
metre between the inner and outer wall and all this space was
filled with debris. It could now be seen that the inner wall was
built out of the vedikã pilasters and other ruins of Rudramahãlaya.
When the outer wall was removed, a number of hidden sculptures
of the south-west and north-west shrine, which were previously
hidden due to wall, were also exposed to view (Pl. XIV).
Noteworthy among the sculptures of the south-western shrine are:
1. A standing apsaras.
2. A standing ascetic.
3. Four-armed VaruNa standing in tribhañga.
4. Four-armed Vãyu standing in tribhañga.
5. A standing ascetic.
6. A standing naked ascetic.
7. Two-armed dancing female-deity holding a sword and a
chopped head.
8. Two-armed female-deity holding añku a and kapãla.
9. A standing ascetic.
10. A standing female with her right hand upraised and left hand in
11. A niche-shrine on the northern bhadra (central projection)
containing an image of eight-armed ChãmuNDã standing
in tribhañga.
 Noteworthy among the sculptures of the north-western shrine
1. A chopped niche.
2,3. A standing bearded ascetic holding a dagger in his right hand.
4. Four-armed standing NiRriti with a serpent canopy above his
5. Four-armed standing Yama with his head and hands chopped
6. A standing ascetic holding a kamaNDalu in his left hand.
7. A standing ascetic wearing a kaupîna. His right hand is
8. Two-armed dancing female-deity. A dancing dwarf male
attendant is seen on her right.
9. Two-armed standing female-deity.
10. A standing ascetic. His right hand is upraised and he holds a
knife by his left hand.
11. Two-armed dancing female-deity.
12. A niche-shrine on the southern bhadra containing an image of
sixteen-armed  iva with his right foot upraised and placed on a
lotus. A warrior with a sword is shown below the lotus.  iva
holds sarpa, khaTvãñgaand kheTaka in his surviving hands. He is
multi-headed. 46

3. Inside the Qibla Wall of the Masjid

While the bulged and out of plumb western wall of the Jami
Mosque was being dismantled the following sculptures and
architectural members embedded inside the wall came to light:-
1. An elephant rider.
2. A beautiful head of  iva.
3. A dancing gaNa.
4. A bust of a four-armed bearded male-deity.
5. A bearded male drummer.
6. Fragments of an elephant.
7. Three busts of  ãlabhañjikã bracket figures.
8. An image of four-armed dancing Siva (NaTarãja).
9. Fragments of an ãmalaka.
10. Fragments of chandrikã.
11. Fragments of SaMvarNã roof of the maNDapa.
12. Fragments of  hikhara decorated with chaitya-gavãkshas.
13. Fragments of vedikã, kakshãsana and rãjãsana.
 Among the sculptures recovered from the western wall of the
mosque noteworthy is a head of Siva wearing elaborately
carved jaTãmukuTa. The expression of his face with half open
eyes, gracefully carved nose and prominent chin is serene (Pl.
XVI). It measures 40 x 25 x 25 cms. 47

4. Converted Shrines

During the course of dismantling of the western wall of the
mosque, two of the three shrines which were converted into
mosque, were also exposed to view. The debris filled inside them
was removed. The shrine on the southern side has inside it a
circular yonipaTTa fixed into its floor. The ivalinga above
this yonipaTTa is missing. The rear wall of this shrine has niches
composed of three pilasters and each surmounted by a small
pediment of chaitya arches. One of the niches contains
seated Umã-Mahe vara on the mount bull and the other contains
a donor couple (probably King Siddharãja Jaisingh and his queen).
The bearded male (Siddharãja Jaisingh) is shown standing with
folded hands in an attitude of supplication. His queen is standing
on his left. On the southwestern corner is a small water cistern for
storage of water (Plate-XVI).
 The ceiling of the shrine is elaborately carved. The architrave of
the ceiling is carved with padmalatã and cut-triangles. The ceiling
is carved with a kîrtimukha at each corner. This domical ceiling
has four concentric courses of lotuses. The centre of the dome is
carved with a full-blown lotus. It has an elaborately carved doorway.
The ceiling of the antarãla is carved with fine full blown
lotuses. The shrine measures 2.08 x 2.15 x 3.07 mtrs.
 The northern shrine measures 2.19 x 2.02 x 2.95 mtrs.
 The architrave of the ceiling is elaborately carved with lotus
scroll and cut-triangles. Each of the corners of the ceiling is carved
with akîrtimukha. The domical ceiling consists of three courses of
lotus courses of concentric circles. At the centre of the domical
ceiling is carved a full blown lotus. There is a chandra ilã in
front of the shrine.
 The shrine has an elaborately carved doorway which has been
badly damaged. The ceiling of the antarãla is carved with five full
blown lotuses.
The northern shrine has inside its sanctum a  ivaliñga installed
on ayonipaTTa. The rear wall of the sanctum is carved with two
niches, one of which contains a donor, a royal couple (probably
Siddharãja Jaisingh with his wife). A female is seen holding a
parasol above the head of the bearded king the head of whose wife
has been chopped off. The pilasters of this niche are highly
ornamented. The other niche contains an image of a queen
standing in tribhañga. Her both hands and head have been
chopped off. She is flanked on either side by two female
attendants standing intribhañga. (Pl. XVIII). Both of these
sculptures are of white marble. The other images which are at
present kept in the sanctum are:

1. Bust of a dancing apsaras, her male attendant holding a parasol
above her head is depicted on her left. Her right breast has been
Chopped off. It measures 45 x 17 x 12 cms.
2.  iva NaTarãja inside a niche with a makara toraNa. The niche
is flanked on either side by a standing male attendant. It measures
48 x 58 x 25 cms.
3. A stone slab carved with a niche composed of two circular
pilasters and surmounted by a small pediment of chaitya-arches.
The niche is carved with an elaborate door from which a woman is
seen coming out and catching hold of a child in her right hand. Her
head has been chopped off. The niche is flanked on either side by
a dwarf male attendant. It is made of white sand-stone and
measures 70 x 60 x 42 cms.
4. Four-armed dancing NaTarãja inside a niche, carrying
indistinctpara u, khaTvãñga and kapãla. It is made of white
sand-stone and measures 40 x 55 x 8 cms.
5. Head of a deity wearing karaNDamukuTa. It is made of white
sand-stone and measures 20 x 15 x 15 cms.
6. A dancing male. It measures 35 x 27 x 7 cms. Made of white
7. Head of Yama wearing karaNDmukuTa. He has long
moustaches, protruding teeth, bulging eyes, and is bearded. It
measures 27 x 15 x 7 cms.
8. Bust of a bearded male drummer measuring 20 x 19 x 20 cms.
9. Head of an apsaras measuring 20 x 20 x 20 cms.
10. Bust of a dancing apsaras. It measures 40 x 15 x 20 cms.
11. A dancing male inside a small niche. At the left end of this
slab is carved a beautiful head of an apsaras whose hair are very
elaborately arranged. It is made of white sand-stone and measures
40 x 40 x 25 cms.
12. A stone slab carved with a dancing male. On his right is carved
a bearded male drummer whose head has been partly chopped off.
It is made of white sand-stone and measures 32 x 35 x 12 cms.
13. A bearded male dancing. Both his legs have been chopped off.
He has moustaches. It measures 52 x 35 x 20 cms. It is made of
white sand-stone. He wears earlobes. 48
The article by B.L. Nagarch is accompanied by eighteen plates of
photographs and a plan of the Rudramahãlaya complex. The
photographs show the  temple remains , sculptural and
architectural, discovered in and around the Jãmi  Masjid. The
plan shows three unexcavated zones where it is most likely that
many more  temple remains  are lying buried, waiting to be
exposed some day by the excavator s spade.

Above complete list is obtained from:

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