Monday, 21 May 2018

Jama Masjid, Gulburga - designed by a Spanish Architect

Juma Masjid. Gulbarga fort YouTube.
 The city of Gulburga and other places in Northern Karnataka are replete with vestiges of Bahmni Sultanate. Jama Masjid, inside the Gulburga fort is a popular one and is being visited by lots of tourists, as  it happens to be an impressive place of Muslim worship with a Spanish touch.

The term "Jama Masjid" (from Arabic) means "Mosque of Assembly" or "Congregational Mosque",  Though the word "Jama"  denotes assembly or congregation, it is closely linked with  Friday, the primary day of worship in Islam. It is more often than nor incorrectly  called Friday Mosque.  Jama Masjid or Jami Masjid means a main mosques in a place - a town or village, a place of worship for Eid prayers and Friday prayers. Across  India there are many Jama masjids and  the oldest being  the Cheraman Juma Mosque  in Methala, Kodungallur Taluk, Thrissur District of Kerala State. Built in 629 AD by Malik Deenar,  an Arab preacher of Islam, it is believed to be the  first mosque in India where first Friday prayers were held. Jama Masjid of Delhi, is one of the largest mosques in India and was built by the Mogul ruler  Shah Jahan between 1644 and 1656. It cost then  one million rupees to construct it. 
Juma Masjid. Gulbarga fort. www.panoramio.com
The Jama Masjid  in Gulbarga City in its structural design is a unique one and one of its rare kind  in SE Asia. It is considered as  a good example of a typical mosque design.  Made of lime and brick with many arches, it  is similar to the interior portion of the Spanish mosque of Hyderabad, Telengana. Two Indian mosques  with   fine interiors  are  quite similar to  the Great Cathedral–Mosque of Córdoba in Spain.

It  was Mohammed Shah I (r. 1358–75)  who built this historical Jama Masjid mosque to commemorate Gulbarga as the capital of the Bahmani Sultanate. In Persian Gul means flower and  Burg means leaf. The Bahmani dynasty  came into being at a time when the Delhi sultanate's influence was on the decline.  It was  founded by  one Ala al-Din Hasan Bahman Shah, a Bahmin's servant at the court of Muhammad bin Tughluq. Earlier the Bahmanids had gained considerable name among the Muslims and Hindus living in this region and enough experience to run an administration. The dynasty became a powerful one and ruled over part of the Deccan region. In their long rule, spanning 200 years, they made an excellent contribution toward the Islamic architecture of this region. They decorated this semiarid region with eye-catching structures, forts, mosques and durgahs.

Juma Masjid, Gulbarga .www.indiamonuments.org
The famous Jama Masjid does not have minarets, but does have a huge  dome  and smaller ones.  The  Spanish (Moorish) architect, who designed it  with arched doorways,  based this structure on the model of the Great Cathedral–Mosque of Córdoba in Spain. Built in 1367, it has a huge dome in the west bay and medium- sized domes at four corners of the mosque. Yet another feature of this mosque is the absence of a Courtyard and in its place there are as many as 63 small domes in line and this style enhances the majesty of this mosque. The main north side entrance to the mosque has a higher-arch shaped gate than the other gates. The open  outer walls with arches   provide  the much needed better natural lighting which is filtered from the outer courtyard. The west prayer hall is designed in such a way that the arches have a wide span between pillars supported by short imposts; the width is quite appalling. The pillars are painted in white to accentuate the look.  These unconventional 'stretched' arches later became an important and essential feature of  of Deccani architecture, hence its look is quite tempting and awe-inspiring. Inside the mosque  where  there  are tombs it is quite cool inside while it is warm outside. The  spacious ornamental interiors with latticed windows and  cusped arches remind us of yet another Bahmini Sultanate's  artistic creation - Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur, Karnataka.
view of small domes.Juma masjid, Gulburga,ETAMINE PGG India
Jama masjid, Gulbuga, Karnataka. Wikipedia
The dimension of the mosque - floor plan  is 216 feet by 177 feet (66 by 54 meters) with wide vaulted cloisters defining the perimeter. 

Inside the mosque lie  seven tombs  of distinguished  Bahmini rulers,  and the most elaborate one being that of Feroz Shah Bahmani's. 

Gulburga is also famous for horse stables and ancient temples. Covering  over 75 acres, the  Gulburga fort is an interesting monument and  has 15 watch towers with 26 massive metallic cannons strategically mounted. Some of them  are located atop the three-storied structure called ‘Ranamandal', in the middle of the fort. Around the fort there is a rundown 40-ft moat separating  the double boundary wall of the fort. During the heyday of the Bahmini rule,  the moat  is said to have been  filled with water to the brim, with man-eating  giant crocodiles to keep enemies away from the fort and to  stop venturing  to cross the moat.
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jama_Mosque_Gulbarga
https://www.deccanherald.com/content/400967/mosque-spanish-touch.html