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24 May, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Nayabad Mosque

M Mahmud Ali
Nayabad Mosque

Nayabad Mosque is located on the bank of Dhepa River at Nayabad village under Ramchandrapur in Kaharole upazila of Dinajpur district. It is located 1.5 km southwest of the famous Kantaji Temple.

Anyone visiting the ancient temple complex must stop by this mosque.

There is a historical connection between the two ancient sites. However, there is a lot of disagreement about the origin of the mosque. There is an inscription, written in Farsi (Persian), above the central doorway of the mosque. According to the inscription, the mosque was built in 1793 AD (1200 BS) during the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II (1759-1806 AD). During that time, Raja Baidyanath was the zamindar (landlord) of Dinajpur.

According to local folklore, the mosque was built by Muslim construction workers who came to Dinajpur from Persia (now Iran) to build the Kantaji (Kantanagar) Temple sometime in the mid-8th century. After completion of the temple, the Persian workers and associated local labourers settled at Nayabad village near the temple. Later, they built the mosque for their own use. Raja Ramnath helped them to establish the mosque by providing land and necessary materials. Local people also believe the mosque was built from extra construction materials left over from building the Kantaji Temple.

The mosque is a rectangular three-domed structure with octagonal minars (towers) in the four corners. There are three arched entrances to the mosque, with the central one bigger than the side ones. On the western wall, there are three mihrabs (niches) aligned with the three entrances. The central mihrab is bigger than the side ones, which are of equal size. There are three hemispherical domes on top of the mosque. Among them, the central one is bigger than the other two. There is an arched window each on the south and north sides.

The mosque is decorated with terracotta plaques similar to Kantaji Temple. But the architectural designs and patterns are different. About 104 rectangular tiles of burnt earth adorn the surface of the outer wall of the mosque. These terracotta plaques contain floral and creeper plant motifs, and a pair of peacocks.

There is a grave of an unknown person on the mosque premises. The locals believe it is the grave of one Kalu Khan, the master architect of Kantaji Temple. The mosque is surrounded by a low brick wall, with one access from the east.

The mosque has been renovated by the Department of Archaeology (DOA). A madrassah has recently been built in front of the mosque. n

References: History in Pictures - Greater Rangpur and Dinajpur, Area HQs, Rangpur, 2008; Archaeological Survey Report of Greater Dinajpur District, DOA, 1995; Muslim Architecture in Bengal, AH Dani, Asiatic Society, 1961; Muslim Monuments of Bangladesh, Dr Syed Mahmudul Hasan, Islamic Foundation, 1980.

Photos: Writer.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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