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Goaldi Mosque in Sonargaon

  • Published at 05:31 pm December 22nd, 2019

Sonargaon, 27 km east of Dhaka was a capital of Eastern Bangla of the Muslims from 1296 to 1608. It was the administrative center of medieval Muslim rulers of East Bangla. Goaldi mosque is located in a village named Goaldi at Sonargaon, built by Mulla Hizabar Akbar Khan during the reign of Sultan Hussain Shah in 925 Hijri (1519 AD) during the early 16th century. It is a good example of pre-Mughal architecture and it’s one of the few remnants from sultanate period.

Building this mosque in the outskirt of Sonargaon township proves that it was a populous area at that time. There was probably an office of  high officials of  Sultan Hussain Shah in Goaldi and  who stayed here for a long time during his campaign against Assam and Tripura, locatedon the other side of the Meghna river.

The elegant little pre-Mughal mosque is a single-domed mosque, a good example of ‘enclosed square type’ mosque of Bengal which  is distinguished by a cubical prayer chamber with corner towers and a entrance from east facade. The cubical prayer chamber measures 7.57m and the walls are 2m thick. A single dome caps the mosque, engaged ribbed turrets define the four corners and the cornice is gently sloped. Provided with three arched entrances to the edifice on the east and one each on the north south (which is now bricked up) the base of the dome rests on squinch arches at the four corners which support the dome on pendentives. The north and south facades similarly display three arches, though only the center arch is open while the two side arches are blind. Circular corner towers are a deviation from the usual octagonal corner towers and accentuating the cornice is a row of small niches with floral motifs inside. Miniature arches with terracotta designs are placed below cornice and above the entrance arches and circle corner turrets that rise up to the cornice and have two molding at the center and triple moldings at the base, just above which are more terracotta arches. A terracotta work still remains the same at the north façade as  it was when it was built.

The mosque has three richly carved mihrabs. Of the three mihrabs, the central is beautifully embellished with carved floral and arabesque relief on black stone/basalt which is decorated with beautiful, intricate patterns composed of an ornamental hanging lamp motif, while the other mihrabs are decorated with bricks and fine terracotta work instead of black stone/basalt. The use of black basalt for the central mihrabs was a common thing during the 16 century. Below that the spandrels of the multi-cusped of the mihrab are decorated within a rectangular frame. Lotus motifs are also found carved in the spandrels and are closely related to the lotuses held by the Hindu god, Surya.

Goaldi mosque - - the oldest in the area - - was in utter ruins when declared ‘protected’ by the Department of Archaeology, it was discovered and subsequently was carefully restored in 1975. It’s a  memory of our history which still remains among us  and It should be  properly maintained without changing anything.