Mosque with a Spanish touch

Last Updated 21 April 2014, 15:46 IST
While the neighbouring region is resplendent with the remnants of the glorious Vijayanagar empire in Hampi, adjacent to it are the vestiges of the Bahmani Sultanate.
The Jama Masjid, the great mosque inside the Gulbarga Fort is a testimony to this.

One of its kind

From an architectural viewpoint, the Mosque is considered unique in South Asia for its form and structure. 

The material used is lime and brick.

The arches of Jama Masjid are similar to the interiors of Spanish Mosque of Hyderabad. 

These are the only two mosques in India which have the similarity in interiors of the Great Cathedral–Mosque of Cordoba in Spain.
The Jama Masjid was built by Muhammad Shah I (1358-75) to commemorate Gulbarga as the capital of the Bahmani Sultanate. 

The Bahmani dynasty was founded by Ala al-Din Hasan Bahman Shah, a Bahmin’s servant at the court of Muhammad bin Tughluq.

The Bahmanis established themselves in Gulbarga once the Delhi Sultanate began losing its hold.

The Jama Masjid does not have minarets. But the mosque built inside the Fort is unique because of a huge dome and many smaller ones which adds to its grandeur.

It was built in 1367 AD, by a Spanish  architect, with arched doorways on the same lines as that of the Great Cathedral–Mosque of Cordoba in Spain.

It has a large dome on the west side and middle-size domes at the four corners of the mosque, making it a beautiful sight to behold. 

Instead of having a courtyard, it has 63 small domes in line in the central area. 
The main entrance is at the north side and has a higher arch-shaped gate than the other sides. 

The mosque has a natural lighting  system. Instead of solid outer walls, there are open arcades to allow light that would generally be filtered in from a courtyard. 

In the west prayer room, pillars are painted in white with no decoration. 

In addition, wide spans of these pillars’ supporting large arches create a majestic atmosphere.

The floor measures 216 feet by 177 feet (66 by 54 m) with widely arched enclosures defining the perimeter. 

The west bay is spacious and covered in the centre with a high dome, which is surrounded by twelve smaller domes. 

This high central dome is given even greater prominence by being slightly larger and because it is placed on an arcade, forming a square cloister that rises above the smaller domes.

It has a capacity to accommodate 2,000 persons.

The interior of the mosque has a span of arches, which turned out rather appealing and were used in many other Deccan buildings. 

The arches here are supported on short imposts.

These unconventional ‘stretched’ arches later became a characteristic of Deccan architecture.

(Published 21 April 2014, 15:46 IST)

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