POST TIME: 19 April, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Bagha Mosque
M Mahmud Ali

Bagha Mosque

During the long period of Muslim rule in medieval times, the rulers built many outstanding mosques. Bagha Mosque is one of the most significant among them.

The beautiful mosque, belonging to the Sultanate period, is located at Bagha union of Rajshahi district. According to an inscription-stone found at the mosque complex, it was built in 1523 by Sultan Nusrat Shah. He was the son of Alauddin Hussain Shah, who was an independent medieval sultan of Bengal and founder of the Hussain Shahi dynasty.

The mosque has 10 hemispherical domes on the roof, arranged in two rows of five. The domes collapsed in an earthquake in 1897. Later, the mosque was renovated and the damaged domes were restored carefully by the Department of Archaeology.

The mosque is a highly ornamental structure. It is built of bricks, with plinths, lintels and pillars. As stone was not available in Bengal, the mosque is mostly built with burnt clay, and decorated with beautiful terracotta designs.

The mosque compound can be entered through an arched gateway on the south. There are five mihrabs (niches) inside, one is opposite the central entrance, two are near the southern entrances, and instead of a fourth mihrab on the northern side, there is a beautifully designed panel. The fifth mihrab is small and located on the top, indicating there is a gallery on that corner which was usually reserved for royals and high officials. A paved tank was discovered outside the mosque during excavation work in 1997, which has stairs on three sides and a tunnel connecting it to the mosque.

The mosque is noteworthy for its exquisite terracotta decorations. Although much of the ornamentation has already disappeared, quite a bit still exists both in the interior and exterior of the building. Islamic architecture emphasises the use of colour, geometry and calligraphy. Prohibition of figurative designs in Islam encouraged the calligraphic style to flourish, introducing an added dimension to mosque architecture. Bagha Mosque is a magnificent example of this noteworthy style.

References: Muslim Architecture in Bengal, AH Dani, Asiatic Society, 1961; Mosque Architecture of Pre-Mughal Bengal, Syed Mahmudul Hasan, UPL, 1979; A Statistical Account of Bengal - Vol 8 (Rajshahi & Bogra), 1876.