Padmasree Muhammed K K
Regional Director (North),
Archaeological Survey of India
In office
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byDr. D. N. Dimri
Superintending Archaeologist,
Archaeological Survey of India
Offices HeldDelhi (2008-2012),
Bhopal (2004-2008),
Chhattisgarh (2003-2004),
Agra (2001-2003),
Patna (1997-2001)
Dy. Superintending Archaeologist,
Archaeological Survey of India
Offices HeldGoa (1991-1997),
Madras (1988-1990)
Personal details
Born (1952-07-01) 1 July 1952 (age 71)
Calicut, Kerala
SpouseRabiya Muhammad
ChildrenJamshedh Muhammed, Shaheen Muhammed
Residence(s)Calicut, Kerala
Alma materAligarh Muslim University
AwardsPadma Shri (2019)

Karingamannu Kuzhiyil Muhammed (born 1 July 1952) is an Indian archaeologist who served as the Regional Director (North) of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Muhammed is credited for the discovery of Ibadat Khana, as well as various prominent Buddhist Stupas and Monuments. During his career, he undertook the restoration of the Bateshwar Complex, successfully convincing naxal insurgents and dacoits to cooperate, as well as facelift and restoration of the Dantewada and Bhojeshwar temples.[1][2]

Muhammed also successfully conceived and executed the idea of building Replica Museum, Delhi, which showcases replicas of Indian statues and stone-carved sculptures.[3][4][5]

For his contributions to archeology, he was awarded the Padma Shri in 2019, India's fourth highest civilian honour.[6]


Early life and education

KK Muhammed was born in Koduvally Calicut, Kerala in a middle-class family to Beeran Kutty Haji and Mariyam. Muhammed is second amongst five siblings. After completing his schooling from Government Higher Secondary School, Koduvally, he obtained his master's degree in history (1973–75) from Aligarh Muslim University and his postgraduate diploma in archaeology (1976–77) from the School of Archaeology, Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi, India.


Muhammed served as a technical assistant and then as an assistant archaeologist in the Department of History at Aligarh Muslim University, before being selected as deputy superintendent archaeologist for the Archaeological Survey of India.

Muhammed was initially posted at Madras in 1988 and then at Goa in 1991. He was promoted to superintendent archaeologist in 1997 and subsequently served in many states in India, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi. During this period, he also served as a tour guide for prominent foreign guests such as Barack Obama and Pervez Musharraf.[7] In 2012, Muhammed was made regional director (North) of the Archaeological Survey of India, and he retired in the same year.

Major projects

Ibadat Khana

Main article: Ibadat Khana

Ibadat Khana was a complex established by Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1575 for hosting religious debates and discussions among theologians and professors of different religions.[8][9][10] It was also the structure where Akbar first proclaimed the formation of the composite religion known as Din-e Ilahi.[citation needed] [11]

In the 80s, Muhammed, was a member of a team from the Archaeological Survey of India and Aligarh Muslim University visiting Fatehpur Sikri. With the help of a painting from Akbarnama, he convinced the others to excavate the mound, and they found more proof, including paintings of Christian missionaries from Spain and Italy (Fathers Monserrate and Rudolf Acquaviva).[9]

For centuries, the location of the complex had been controversial among archaeologists and historians, although it is generally accepted to be the place Muhammad discovered.[9]

Excavations of the Ram Mandir

Main article: Archaeology of Ayodhya

KK Muhammed was a part of the 1976 excavation of the Babri Masjid, led by B. B. Lal. He stated in a rediff interview that they had found remains of a temple on the western side of the mosque. This temple was built between 10th and 11th century during the Gurjara-Pratihara Dynasty.[12] However, his findings were suppressed by Marxist historian Irfan Habib, who he says were very powerful and influential towards the Indian Council of Historical Research and many leading newspapers.[13][14][15]

Muhammed also said they found 12 pillars in the excavations which were constructed with Hindu symbolism, including Ashtamangala signs.[16] They had also found terracotta figurines of humans and animals, which Muhammad uses to hypothesize that a temple existed before the mosque.[15][13][17]

KK Muhammed further tells that he being the only Muslim involved in the excavations, had to come up by publishing his opinion in The Indian Express newspaper on 15 December 1990 to defend Prof. B. B. Lal who was constantly being attacked by the left for not confirming to their views.[17][18]

Dantewada temples

KK Muhammed restored the Barsoor and Samlur Temples in Dantewada District near Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh. This area is known to be the seat of Naxal activities in the region. In 2003, KK Muhammed was able to convince Naxal activists and with their co-operation, conserved the Temples to its present-day state.[19][verification needed]

Bateshwar Complex restoration

Main article: Bateshwar, Morena

Bateshwar, Morena, a complex of 200 ancient Shiva & Vishnu temples situated 40 km away from Gwalior. These temples were built between the 9th and 11th centuries during the Gurjara-Pratihara Dynasty, 200 years before Khajuraho. The area was under the control of Nirbhay Singh Gujjar KK Muhammed was successful in convincing the dacoits to let him do the restoration. He was able to restore 60 temples during his tenure. After the dacoits were eliminated by the police, the area has been under encroachment from illegal mining, as the tremors from the usage of explosives can damage the structure.[1][2][20]

In his autobiography, Muhammed alleged that a powerful mining lobby did not allow temple restoration work to go on and he himself made several attempts to get the mining work stopped.[21]

Facelifting of Delhi's monuments

KK Muhammed was appointed as the Superintending Archaeologist of Delhi Circle, Archaeological Survey of India in 2008. His primary task was to carry out a major facelift and preservation activity at 46 monuments for the Commonwealth Games of 2010.[22][23]

Other prominent tasks


ഞാനെന്ന ഭാരതീയൻ
PublisherMathrubhumi Books
Publication date
December 2015
ISBN9788182666382 (softcover)

In 2016, KK Muhammad's Malayalam-language autobiography Njan Enna Bharatiyan ("I, the Indian") was released. The book attracted controversy due to his claim that the Marxist historians like Irfan Habib sided with the extremist Muslim groups and derailed attempts to find an amicable solution to the Ayodhya dispute. According to him, archaeological excavations at Ayodhya clearly indicated the presence of a temple below the mosque, but the historians like Irfan Habib, dismissed these, and even tried to mislead the Allahabad High Court.[25][26][14][27]


  1. ^ a b "Man of Monuments". The Hindu. June 2012.
  2. ^ a b "The Temple Guardian". The Hindu. 10 February 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Museum of Mirrors". The Indian Express. 3 July 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Replica Museum at Siri Fort". India Video.
  5. ^ a b "Replica Museum in Delhi crafted by Patna artists". The Times of India. 10 May 2015.
  6. ^ "2019 Awardees List".
  7. ^ Mission Conservation
  8. ^ "Ibadat Khana". World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  9. ^ a b c Kapoor, Cheena (25 March 2017). "Tracing Akbar's Ibadat Khana". DNA India. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  10. ^ Salam, Ziya Us (25 March 2020). "Relevance of Akbar". Frontline. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  11. ^ "11th-century bodies near Meerut give new archaeological twist to history". Hindustan Times. 26 April 2018. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  12. ^ "Monuments constructed in somewhere 10th-century found by archaeological dept". 26 April 2019.
  13. ^ a b "The Muslim archaeologist who first spotted Ram temple". Rediff. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  14. ^ a b "Ayodhya Bhoomi Pujan: The Muslim architect who first found proof of Hindu structure under Babri Masjid". Free Press Journal. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  15. ^ a b Kumar Shakti Shekhar (1 October 2019). "Ram Mandir existed before Babri mosque in Ayodhya: Archaeologist KK Muhammed | India News - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  16. ^ "Did you know seven evidences unearthed by ASI proved a temple existed at Ayodhya? Details here". 4 August 2020. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  17. ^ a b "Muslims must return Ayodhya, Mathura and Kashi to Hindus". Retrieved 12 March 2022.
  18. ^ What Do The Ram Janmabhoomi Excavations Tell Us? | K K Muhammed | Ayodhya | ASI | #SangamTalks, retrieved 12 March 2022
  19. ^ S, Priyadershini (17 April 2020). "World Heritage Day: Shut monuments decay faster says senior archaeologist KK Muhammed". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  20. ^ "Guest Lecture Series at Nalanda". Nalanda University Blog.
  21. ^ "ASI to resume restoration of Bateshwar temple complex in Chambal". Hindustan Times. 21 May 2018. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  22. ^ "ASI restoration work makes conservationists complain". The Indian Express. 22 December 2009. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  23. ^ "46 Delhi monuments to get facelift ahead of 2010 Games". The Economic Times. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  24. ^ "A Discourse By Ace Archaeologist Mr KK Muhammed". 5 February 2013.
  25. ^ KA Antony (21 January 2016). "Left historians connived with extremists, mislead Muslims on Babri issue, says archaeologist in new book". Firstpost.
  26. ^ Singh, Varun (11 May 2017). "Muslims misled over Ayodhya, says KK Mohammed". The Asian Age. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  27. ^ "KK Muhammed, Archaeologist Firm on 'Masjid Was Mandir' Claim, Awarded Padma Shri". News18. 26 January 2019. Retrieved 6 September 2020.