|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.
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).