Mecca Masjid gets a facelift

Mecca Masjid gets a facelift

The Mecca Masjid, situated near the BSNL office is one of the nationally protected heritage sites of the medieval period constructed by Sufi saint Mahabari Khandayat.

This is one of the very few mosques in the country, constructed especially for women to offer prayer. Because the monument was left unattended to for years, its wall had developed some cracks allowing rain water to seep inside the building. This had affected the structure. Now, with the ASI giving top priority for its conservation, this archaeological site is all set to get a new lease of life.

Mecca Masjid is a neat little mosque shut in between great high walls. Ornamental stucco work inside the building has enhanced this monument’s historic and artistic value. The towers adjacent to the structure, from which the call to prayer was given indicates that there was an old building which was partially cleared before constructing the Mecca Masjid on it. On the east side, there is the grave of the saint.

It is not clear why the great high walls that encompass this mosque were built. But it is certain that they were not intended for defence of any kind. Because, the four great arched openings in the south face have never been provided with doors.
The mosque was built exclusively for queens and the ladies of the royal family. The fact that the building is so well protected clearly supports this notion. Usually, mosques used by men have a mimhar or a pulpit, from which the religious address is made. But in the women’s mosque, there is no such provision because men were not allowed inside the mosque, even to make an address. Therefore, this mosque has no mimhar.
Historians observe that the style of the masonry, the surface decoration, the finish and the material used in Mecca Masjid are similar to the little pavilion in front of the Asar Mahal, situated some yards away from it and they conclude that both the monuments have been built by the same workmen.

The mosque is said to be built after the same design as the mosque at Mecca, hence its name. The ASI officials say that they have taken up conservation of several monuments in Bijapur this year. The conservation work includes clearing of shrubs grown on monuments, repairing of damaged portion of the building and construction of compounds around heritage buildings.

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