Chawk Mosque

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Not to be confused with Chawk Masjid, a mosque in Murshidabad, India.
Chawkbazar Shahi Mosque

Chawkbazar Shahi Mosque in December 2012

Coordinates: 23°42′58″N 90°23′45″E / 23.716045°N 90.395710°E / 23.716045; 90.395710Coordinates: 23°42′58″N 90°23′45″E / 23.716045°N 90.395710°E / 23.716045; 90.395710
Location Chowk Bazaar, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Established 1676
Architectural information
Style Mughal architecture
Capacity 10,000 people approx.
Dome(s) Three
Minaret(s) Two Large
Eight Smaller

'Chawkbazar Shahi Mosque (also Chawk Mosque) in Dhaka, Bangladesh, is located in the Chowk Bazaar area of the old town of Dhaka, south of the current city centre.[1] The mosque was constructed in 1676 by Subahdar Shayesta Khan.[2]The mosque is called Shahi Mosque because,it is founded by Subahdar Shayesta Khan. The mosque is built above a raised platform. The three domed mosque above the platform, now transformed into a multi-storied structure was originally a copy of Shaista Khan's another three domed mosque at the Mitford Hospital compound near the Buriganga River.There are some squre shaped rooms maybe built for Imam and for students of the madrashah. Today the original building design has been lost most of its original form through multiple renovations and extensions.

Interior & Exterior Design[edit]

The central Mihrab
The three domes

The western half of the 3.05m high vaulted platform (28.65m from north to south and 24.38m from east to west) is occupied by the original three-domed mosque. It measures, inclusive of the four octagonal towers on the exterior angles, 16.15m by 7.92m. There are three four-centred archways in the east, all opening out under half-domed vaults. The half-domed vault of the central archway still contains beautiful Muqarnas works in stucco. Corresponding to the three eastern entrances there are three Mihrabs inside the west wall, all now remodelled. The central mihrab still has a semi-octagonal aperture, while its flanking counterparts are rectangular in design. The mihrabs are now all studded with lustrous pieces of enamel. The rectangular frames enclosing the mihrabs are now topped by rows of painted crestings. The floor of the mosque is now laid with marble.

The interior of the mosque was divided into three bays - the central one square and the side ones rectangular. All these bays were covered with domes, the central one being bigger than its flanking counterparts. This can be deduced from the newly built three-domed prayer chamber exactly above the original one, where the central dome has been kept larger than the side ones.

The vaulted rooms all round underneath the platform are either square or rectangular in shape. Many of them are now let out to shopkeepers and others are still being used as accommodation. The underceilings of these rooms are flat on the top and barrel-shaped at the sides.

The promenade around the three domed prayer chamber, since there was no separate structure for study purpose, might have been used for open-air classes and the vaulted room with book-shelves on their walls underneath the platform may have been designed to provide residential accommodation for those who used to teach and study here. In that context Chawk Mosque may be regarded as the first known example of Residential Madrasa Mosque.

It is an ingenious way of accommodating two structures-a madrasa and a mosque in a single building which not only saved space but also a considerable amount of money.[3]


Shahi Mosque in Chowk Bazaar (on the upper-left) - photograph taken by Johnston and Hoffmann in 1885

The construction has been dated to 1676, as noted by an inscription in the Persian language over a doorway.

The inscription reads: "The rightly guided Amīr al-Umarā Shaista Khan - built this mosque for the sake of God / To the seeker (t̤ālib) enquiring its date - I said, "God's bidding is accomplished" / Year 1086 Hijri (1675-76 CE)." It has been suggested that Shaista Khan himself had composed the versified inscription, as his poetic nom de plume was "Talib." [4]

The inscription attributes the project to Subahdar Shaista Khan. So far known this is the earliest dated mosque in the History of Muslim Architecture in Bengal built on a high vaulted platform. Its architectural design was perhaps influenced by Tughlaq Architectures; such as Khirki Masjid or Kalan Mosque of Delhi. Influenced by this structure some other mosques were built in Dhaka and Murshidabad.

Current masjid committee[edit]

01.Presedent:Haji Mohammad Ataurrahman Molla 02.Assistance President:Haji Mohammad Boshiruddin Molla 03.Secretary:Haji Mohammad Nur Islam Babu 04.Assistance Secretary:Haji Mohammad Ilyas Chonchol 05.Cashier:Haji Mohammad Kamrul Arefin.



  1. ^ MA Bari, Chawk Mosque (Dhaka), Banglapedia: The National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka, Retrieved: 2012-09-18
  2. ^ *Husain, A. B. (2007). ARCHITECTURE-A History Through Ages. Dhaka: Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.(Page-287)
  3. ^ *Husain, A. B. (2007). ARCHITECTURE-A History Through Ages. Dhaka: Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.(Page-287)
  4. ^ *Karim, Abdul. (1992) Corpus of the Arabic and Persian Inscriptions of Bengal. Dhaka: Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.(Page-469)

Further reading[edit]

  • Mamoon, M. (1993). Dhaka-Smriti Bismritir Nogori. Dhaka: Anannya.(Page-78)
  • Husain, A. B. (2007). ARCHITECTURE-A History Through Ages. Dhaka: Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.(Page-287)
  • Karim, Abdul. (1992) Corpus of the Arabic and Persian Inscriptions of Bengal. Dhaka: Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.(Page-469)

External links[edit]