One of the questions in TV debates is why the temple was not remade till 1780, when Aurangzeb died in 1707. It is sought to question the various truths associated with Gyanwapi Temple.
The temple was reconstructed at the earliest possible after Aurangzeb’s death. The answer is in historical details, which I narrate in a linear sequence.
1632: Peter Mundy Confirms the presence of Vishwanath Temple[i]
1658: Aurangzeb becomes ruler after imprisoning his father.
Aug 1669: Vishwanath Temple is destroyed[ii]
1680 Chhatrapati Shivaji Dies.
1688: Sambhaji, the eldest son of Shivaji, is captured by deceit by Aurangzeb and killed.
1700: Rajaram: Second son of Shivaji, who had assumed Command of Marathas, dies.
1707: Aurangzeb dies.
At this time, Benares was ruled by a Hindu ruler under the suzerainty of the Mughal governor of Avadh. (present-day Lucknow).
During the Mughal rule, Mughals did not rule most of India directly. The various nation-states were governed by Rajas, who paid a share of revenue to Mughals and did specific tasks or had positions in the army.
1720-1725: Resurgence of Maratha Power starts. In Deccan, Marathas take back all territory lost to Mughals. Saadat Khan is appointed Mughal governor of Avadh.
1720-1740: Marathas expanded territory and conquered most of north, Central, and West India.
1755: Malharrao Holkar, One of the four Key Maratha generals and founder of the Indore-based Holkar dynasty, tries to remake Vishwanath temple and asks Nawab to hand over Prayag, Ayodhya, and Benares, but Nawab of Lucknow Safdar Jang is able to prevent it.[iii]
1761: Mahadji Scindia, another Maratha general and founder of the Scindia dynasty, put the Mughal ruler back on Delhi’s throne under his suzerainty after the battle with Abdali. The Mughals are now under Scindia.
1764: In the battle of Buxar between Bengal forces of Mir Kasim, Nawab of Avadh, supported by the Mughal ruler on one side and the British on the other side, the Nawab loses part of his territory to the British.
1773-75: The Nawab of Lucknow is further Squeezed by Warren Hastings, and Benares Raja becomes independent of Avadh and comes directly under the British subsidiary alliance.[iv]
1777-78: With no Islamic influence to stop reconstruction, Maharani Ahalyabai Holkar, an ardent Shiva devotee, daughter-in-law of MalharRao Holkar, and by now Queen of Indore, has the temple remade. However, in a spirit of tolerance which was a pattern established by Shivaji, she does not demolish the mosque made under the orders of Aurangzeb.
So the temple was resurrected at the earliest date it could be done.
[i] Mundy, Peter, Travels of Peter Mundy in Europe and Asia @1914 P 122-124
[ii] Lal, KS,Legacy of Muslim Rule in India PP 207-208
[iii] Srivatsav,Ashirbadi lal,The first two Nawabs of Avadh @1933 Page 183
[iv] Pandit Sunderlal,How India lost her freedom @2018 P 275