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Aurangzeb at Chitrakoot

The monarch, notorious for destroying religious shrines, had a temple built in Chitrakoot.

india Updated: Jan 12, 2007 13:57 IST

It seems unbelievable but it is reportedly a historical fact that Mughal emperor Aurangzeb built a temple 323 years ago at Chitrakoot, a region now divided between UP and MP. Notorious as the biggest destroyer of temples, gurudwaras and mazars wherever he went, including imprisoning the possessor of Hazrat Bal (the Hair of the Prophet, enshrined in Srinagar), he left us an unhappy legacy.

His were acts of disrespect that nobody can defend for such actions are hateful to God.

Once, when Aurangzeb arrived at Chitrakoot, he ordered his army to destroy all the temples at Matiah, Gander and every statue and Math early next morning.

However, when his forces commenced their task, the men began crying with unbearable pain in their stomachs. They started falling one by one and all became unconscious. This shattered and upset Aurangzeb. All efforts to cure the soldiers were futile and he became even more nervous. Finally a local lad plucked up the courage to call out to the Shahenshah. Nobody can cure these sick men, except our temple priest, Sant Baba Balik Dasji.” Aurangzeb had no choice but to beg the Baba to save his enfeebled army, promising not to destroy any temple at all, if his men were cured.

Baba revived the unconscious army with his medicine, which greatly impressed Aurangzeb. He ordered his men to build a grand temple then and there. He also conferred 330 bighas of precious and fertile land with seven villages and one rupee daily from the state treasury for the maintenance of the temple. These villages are Hamutha, Chitrakoot, Rodra, Sarya, Madri, Jarva and Dohariya in Allahabad district, UP.

What we have always known and Aurangzeb must have known too, is that Chitrakoot, today in shambles and civic disarray, is sacred ground, the abode of Lord Ram, Sitaji and Lakshman for nearly eleven and a half years of their exile.

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