Although the total length of the temple is still ambiguous, it is believed to be more than 30m, which is the actual length of Kandariya — Khajuraho’s largest temple.
Built in the 11th century, the temple is dedicated to Charchika Devi. However, in the late 16th century, the shrine was demolished by the Mughals and many of the original pieces of stone were used for the construction of a mosque.
The temple was a witness to regular attacks by the Mughals for centuries. Shamsuddeen Iltumish attacked it in 1235 AD and Allauddin Khilji in 1290 AD. Aurangzeb completely destroyed it in 1682 AD and built a mosque in its place, named “Alamgir Mosque”. Thereafter, it became a holy pilgrimage site for Muslims with the common man calling it Bijamandal mosque.
However, heavy rains during the monsoon of 1991 washed away the wall that was concealing the frontage of the mosque. It brought to public light a number of Hindu idols, exposing Mughal tyranny and its persistent efforts to destroy Hindu temples and structures.
These idols had been buried under a platform on the northern side, which was used as the Hall of Prayer, especially during Eid.
The Archaeological Survey of India has retrieved a number of exquisitely beautiful treasures of sculpture. Many of the statues were particularly splendid, with some of them as high as eight feet.
It is worth noting that the ASI received an order within a month to stop further work at the site. The ASI officer working on the excavations as well as the Collector were transferred.
The stay was ordered by the government to avoid any riots between Hindu and Muslims. The case is still in the court.