Sunday, May 6, 2012

Both these names have been given in comparatively recent times, as this building is situated in the Zanana enclosure and as it has sixteen columns in the middle part of the prayer hall, which was screenDSC03263ed off from the rest of the building when it fell into ruins. Its original name was Masjid-i-Jami, and the Friday Prayers and State functions where held here. It was built in the 1423 AD by the Sultan Mohammed Shah, the son of the first Bahmani ruler Ahmed Shah Wali.  The year is recorded in an inscription that was found when the ASI was clearing the debris. The mosque can definitely be considered the earliest Muslim building in the city of Bidar.

Even though the length of the building is around 310 feet from north to south, it looks flat and DSC03276monotonous owing to its short height. There is a beautiful parapet above the arches but the effect is completely lost when seen from near. The pillars on the outside are square and the internal are round. The row of columns inside divide the prayer hall into 95 bays. Nine middle bays is occupied by a hall which is crowned by a majestic dome.

Access to the inside of the mosque is unavailable with iron doors been fitted at the arches. However, it is said that on the inside is an arrangement of a series of arched windows which are filled DSC03267with tracery. It, like the painted glass windows in cathedrals adds to the interior beauty of the prayer hall. To the western wall, is a pentagonal niche, entered by a hall of fine proportions. The niche points in the direction of the Kaba .The niche, technically called the mihrab, also marks the place of the Imam who conducts the prayers. The roof of the remaining part of the prayer hall comprises a series of smaller domes which are visible at the top but concealed from view by the parapet. The inside of the mosque is dark owing to the other two big buildings in the same vicinity which DSC03275were constructed later. We will talk about these in the further posts. It is said that there is a water reservoir on the roof of the mosque from which water flowed to the cisterns in the ground floor.

The mosque has been repaired very well in recent years as earlier it was mostly rubble with cracks on the ceiling and floor. The building although one of the largest in India, suffers by comparison with its contemporary in Mandu or its predecessor at Gulbarga. The only pleasing feature is the middle hall crowned by the large dome.


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