Kashi. ॐ नमः पार्वती पतये, हर-हर महादेव! With this chant, 30 years after the Samajwadi Party illegally banned Hindus from performing Puja, now Hindus finally perform puja and offer prayers at ‘Vyas Ji ka Tehkhana’ inside Gyanvapi complex in Varanasi. This comes hours after the district court ruled that a priest can perform prayers before the idols in a cellar of the Gyanvapi complex.
According to the details, the preparations for the puja had begun soon after the court’s order, and the aarti on the premises was performed under heavy security.
Idols of deities recovered in the cellar, details of which have been mentioned in the recently published ASI report and were in the custody of the district administration, were placed inside the cellar for the puja. Earthen lamps were lit inside the cellar in the night, puja rituals were done, and at last, the Mangal Aarti was performed. The rituals ended at around 3 AM.
Gyanvapi complex has ‘deckhands’ (cellars) in the basement out of which the southern one is still in possession of the Vyas family who used to live there. This is called “Vyasji Ka Tehkhana”. The place is right in front of Nandi Maharaj of Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The tehkhana has a height of around 7 feet and a carpet area of around 900 square feet. The generations of the family have been worshipping deities there since the 16th century.
However, in 1993, the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav stopped the puja at the Vyas Ji ka Tehkhana, Gyanvapi complex. The move came soon after the disputed structure in Ayodhya was demolished on December 6, 1992.