The Babri mosque dates back nearly 500 years when it was built in Ayodhya by Mir Baqi, a commander of first Mughal emperor Babur, in 1528. Hence the mosque's name - Babri Masjid.
1853: First recorded incident of Hindu-Muslim violence over the site with Hindus alleging the mosque was built on the site of a razed Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Ram.
1859: British rulers erect a fence and allow Muslims and Hindus to worship separately in the inner and outer courtyards.
1885: The dispute is dragged to court for the first time when Mahant Raghubar Das files a suit in a Faizabad court seeking permission to build a Ram temple adjoining the Babri mosque.
Dec 23, 1949: About 50 Hindus allegedly sneak in idols of Lord Ram in the mosque under the central dome. This leads to daily Hindu prayers at the site. Muslims stop offering namaz.
Jan 16, 1950: Gopal Singh Visharad files suit in Faizabad city court seeking exclusive rights to perform prayers for "Ram Lalla". He also seeks judicial restraint on the removal of idols.
Dec 5, 1950: Mahant Paramahans Ramchandra Das files suit to continue with the Hindu prayers and keeping the Ram idols at the Babri mosque, which he calls a "structure".
Dec 17, 1959: Nirmohi Akhara files suit seeking transfer of disputed site.
Dec 18, 1961: Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Board of Waqf files suit seeking possession of Babri mosque site.
1984: Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) launches a campaign to open the locks of the Babri mosque so as to "liberate" the birthplace of Lord Ram and build a grand temple.
Feb 1, 1986: Faizabad district judge allows Hindus to worship at the site. Locks are opened. Angry Muslims set up Babri Mosque Action Committee in protest.
June 1989: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gives formal backing to the VHP, giving renewed life to the temple movement.
July 1, 1989: Fifth suit filed in the name of Bhagwan Ram Lalla Virajman.
Nov 9, 1989: The Rajiv Gandhi government permits 'shilanyas', or ground-breaking ceremony near the Babri mosque.
Sep 25, 1990: BJP president LK Advani launcheS Rath Yatra - from Somnath in Gujarat to Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, raising passions all over the country. Communal riots follow.
November 1990: Advani arrested in Samastipur in Bihar. The BJP withdraws support to Prime Minister VP Singh, whose government is propped by the Left and the BJP VP Sin.