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19 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Shailkupa Shahi Mosque

M Mahmud Ali
Shailkupa Shahi Mosque

In Bangladesh, we have inherited centuries of Islamic culture and heritage. There are many wonderful mosques all around the country that are relics from different Muslim eras. Muslims came to Bengal in the 13th Century from northern India. For the next 300 years, the Sultans of Bengal governed the country as independent rulers. Shailkupa Shahi Mosque is a testament to the independent Sultanate period of Bengal.

The mosque is located at Shailkupa upazila in Jhenaidah. There is a lot of disagreement about the origin of its construction, as there is no inscription on the structure. But in light of the architectural characteristics, it can be dated to early 16th Century, which belongs to the Sultanate period. Some experts claim the mosque was built in 1520 AD during the reign of Nasiruddin Nusrat Shah, son of Sultan Alauddin Husain Shah.

The mosque is one of the most beautiful architectural edifices of medieval Bengal in terms of its decorations. It is built of small red bricks. The original structure did not have plaster. But recently, the authorities have plastered the mosque and done some sort of restoration work. And thus, the amazing mosque has lost its antique look entirely.

The layout of the mosque is oblong. It has six domes and spherical towers in all four corners. All the towers are recessed into the corner of the mosque, gradually tapering towards the top. Being raised above the cornice, they are shaped like minarets.

Each tower, from the base to the apex, is decorated with nine molding bands. Cupolas with kalasa finials crown the towers. On the eastern facade, there are three archways, while there are four more archways, two each on the northern and southern sides. All the archways are of two-pointed style.

There is a water reservoir on the northern side that provided water for ablution. It appears to have been excavated at the same time as the mosque. There are two tombs on the mosque grounds with epitaphs dedicated to Darwish Maulana Muhammad Arab and Wazir Shah Ali.

Shailkupa Shahi Mosque is a protected site of the Department of Archaeology.

References: Sultans and Mosque: The Early Muslim Architecture of Bengal, Perween Hasan, 2007; Mosque Architecture of Pre-Mughal Bengal, Syed Mahmudul Hasan, 1979; Sultanate Architecture of Bengal, Khoundkar Alamgir, Kaveri Books, 2011.

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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