Saturday, 19 December 2015

Historical 13th century Muchundipalli Mosque, Kozhikode

The Muchundi Mosque with classic Kerala styles.www.musicalkerala.com
Muchundipalli Mosque Situated in Kuttichira in Kozhikode  .www.hikeezee.comAdd caption


The state of Kerala is the confluence and melting pot of  many cultures  and many religions,  including Jainism and Judaism. Islam has been around there for centuries long before the arrival of Muslim rulers from Afghanistan, Iran  and Turkey. It reflects the secular attitude of the followers of Hinduism. Kerala is endowed with some of oldest mosques in India, mostly built in Hindu temple architectural style.

Muchundipalli Mosque,Kuttuchera,Kozhikode.www.pinterest.com

The 13th century mosque located at Kuttichira, Kozhikode (formerly Calicut) in the Indian state  of Kerala is one of the oldest structres in South India built in typical Hindu temple architecture. It  has the unique distinction of having bilingual  stone inscription in Arabic and old Malayalam  known as the ''Muchundi Inscription'' dating back to the 13th century. The then local Zamorin king had close relationship with the local Muslim community.  It an important heritage site of Kozhikode. 

The question of who was the builder of the  mosque  is a subject of debate and the general consensus has been that, it is believed,  to have been built by a freed Muslim slave one Shihabuddin  as a mark of his gratitude to  the Almighty God Allah with his life-time savings. Yet another version is in this area there once lived a rich and famous  Muslim  family called  ‘Muchinrakam’ or  the ‘house of  Muchin’ close to the mosque. It is further believed that one Arab merchant  prince  by the  name  of  ‘Muchiyan’ came to this place and settled down here  to  pursue his trade activities.  He was  the builder of this mosque on the endowed property of the local ruler. A third explanation regarding the name  is actually the name  should be  Muchanti (in Tamil  meaning junction) and the same meaning  is true of 13 th century Malayalam. This is  confirmed by a  Madras High Court Judgment of 16th July, 1912. The honorable  presiding  judges  Justice Sundara Aiyar and Justice Sadasiva Aiyer  who  were adjudicating the the case over the rights of two Muslim groups frequently referred to the mosque as  Muchanti palli. Th mosque stand at the junction of three streets at Kutticera.

The land on which the mosque stands and the surrounding areas were donated by the Hindu Zamorian rulers. There existed in those days a perfect communal harmony between the majority Hindu population and minority Muslim community that evolved over a period of time centuries before the arrival of Islam in northern India. Long before the arrival of first Europeans - Portuguese on the Malabar coast in late 1400s, Arab traders from the Arabian  Peninsula  had  flourishing trade contacts with  the local traders and also the ruler. 

The Astonishing feature about this place of Muslim veneration is the entire structure is made of teak wood and its carvings, artistic expressions and embellishments confirm the overwhelming influence of Hindu temple. The two-tiered roof has an ornate gable. The prayer hall and other parts are supported by  ornate pillars.

The Muchundi Mosque takes us back to a time when there was a perfect  peaceful social milieu  during the reign of Zamorin rulers who followed the  secular tradition of the earlier Chera period  special grants of Sthanu Ravi to the Christian Church (Tarisappalli) and Bhaskara Ravi’s grant to the Jewish guild (Anchuvannam).

Ref:
http://blog.calicutheritage.com/2013/02/muchunti-mosque-could-it-be-muchanti.html