The City of Mosques

If one truly wishes to know the history of a city, starting with its architecture would be a good way to go. The religious sanctuaries always hold a lot of insight. Houses for sale in Dhaka are in abundance.  However, before one buys an apartment in Dhaka, a closeer look into the following mosques around the city could be helpful in unfolding the beauty of the place.


Baitul Mukarram National Mosque

Constructed on 27th January, 1960, this mosque has been on progress ever since. It was intended to be situated in between the old Dhaka and the new Dhaka letting the city grow rapidly around it with planned shops, offices, libraries, parking areas, etc. Initiated by Abdul Latif Ibrahim Bawani, a ‘Baitul Mukarram Mosque Society’ was formed in 1959 to incorporate the project. Designers used big white cubes and a dome over the roof of the main prayer hall. The eight-storey main building elevates 30.18 meters high from the ground. Horseshoe-shaped arches were used along with enough patios to ensure sufficient air and light. Excess ornamentation of the mosque had been avoided to keep the design modern.


The Star Mosque

This mosque stands out because of its beauty around a bunch of other buildings in Armanitola, which seem to have been carelessly strewn across the area. Built by the Mughal landlord Mirza Gulam Pir, this mosque is locally called ‘Tara Masjid’. Among its exquisite architecture, the shining white marble with engraved stars and floral designs balancing light and shadow and verses from the Holy Quran also engraved in the walls, grab the attention of the visitors and devotees. Ali Jaan Bepari, a wealthy merchant living in the neighborhood in 1926, voluntarily renovated and redecorated the mosque, importing expensive China clay tiles and clay mosaic (traditionally called ‘Chini Tikri’) from Japan and England. Local people offer their daily prayers regularly at this mosque, finding God in the beauty.


Binat Bibi Mosque

Binat Bibi Mosque in one of the earliest-dating mosques that has survived the turmoil of the city through time. It was built in 1454 by the daughter of Marhamat, Bakht Binat, during the rule of Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud Shah. The mosque is situated in Hayat Bepari’s Bridge in Narinda. The architecture of the mosque was planned in a square shape with a 12 feet dome, with another internal hemispherical dome atop the square room. The mosque has entrances from east, north, and south. Cornices, battlements, octagonal turrets and arches are some of its Mughal inspired features with modest ornamentation and plaster.


Chowk Mosque

Chowkbazar Shahi Mosque is situated in the Chowk Bazaar area of old Dhaka that is in the south of the city. Constructed in 1676 by Subahdar Shaista Khan, the mosque is named accordingly as Shahi. It was originally built on a raised platform, but now the three-domed mosques on the platform have been transformed into a multi-storied structure. It is inspired by another one of Shaista Khan’s three-domed mosques near the Buriganga River, in Mitford Hospital compound. There are rooms inside the mosque to be used by the Imam and students from the Madrasa. The original design has worn out with time and with ongoing renovations and extensions.


Katabon Mosque

Katabon Mosque is located in Shahbag. It is the center for Muslim missionaries in the country. This mosque houses the Bangladesh Masjid Mission is thus called “Bangladesh Masjid Complex Central Mosque”. It was originally founded by Dhaka Nawab Family at the stables. It houses the Islamic Economics Research Bureau which works to synergize the intellectual capabilities of the modern day professionals, academicians, and students of Islamic banking and finance.


Khan Mohammed Mridha Mosque

This mosque is situated in the southwest of Dhaka at Atish Khana. It is located near the famous Lalbagh Fort and dates back to about 1704 to 1705 CE. It is unique due to the fact that it is detached from the surrounding buildings, which allows the travelers to praise its beauty from all sides. It stands on a large platform with vaulted rooms for accommodations known as ’tahkhana’. Tankhana is usually an underground room. The platform stretches for as far as 38.10 meters, with a height of about 5.18 meters from the ground. East of the tahkhana are stairs leading to the gateway of the main mosque comprising of a small space only. There is an open area located before the mosque, allowing breeze inside. The prayer hall has three domes.  Above the central archway and Mihrab are Persian inscriptions, describing the details of its construction. Multi-cusped arches and detailed columns add to the essence of the prayer hall. Inside the madrasa and hujra, people are allowed to roam and rest. The mosque is completed with a well-maintained garden just outside.


Sat Gambuj Mosque

Picturesquely situated on the edge of a river, the Sat Gambuj Mosque’s exterior is the most innovative of all the Mughal-period monuments in Dhaka. The north and south ends of this three-domed rectangular mosque are each marked by two enormous double-storied corner pavilions. When viewed from the east, these give the impression that the mosque has five exterior bays. On the east are three cusped entrance arches flanked by shallow niches. Slender engaged columns with bulbous bases demarcate the central bay as seen in the Lalbagh Fort Mosque, although this mosque’s colonettes are more prominent. It is near the northwestern outskirts of Dhaka in the Jafarbad area. It is a fine example of the provincial Mughal style of architecture introduced in Bangladesh in the 17th century.

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