Spanish Mosque

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This article is about a mosque in Secunderabad, India. For the mosque in Cordoba, Spain, see Cathedral–Mosque of Córdoba.
Spanish Mosque built in 1906 by Paigah Nawab.

The Spanish Mosque (Urdu: مسجد اندلوسى ‎), also known as Masjid Iqbal Ud Daula or Jam e Masjid Aiwan-E-Begumpet, is a mosque within the Paigah Palace Begumpet, Hyderabad, India.[1]

The construction of the mosque was started by fifth Paigah Amir, H.E. Nawab Mohammed Fazaluddin Khan, Iqbal Ud Daula, Sir Vicar Ul Umra in 1900 (due to his sudden demise in 1902) and completed by his heir and elder son H.E Nawab Sultan Ul Mulk Bahadur, VI Amir of Paigah through Princess Jahandarunissa Begum, Lady Vicar Ul Umra, After his return from Spain, as he was very much inspired by the Cathedral–Mosque of Córdoba. The exterior and interior of the Spanish Mosque is mostly similar to the Cathedral–Mosque of Córdoba in Spain and Jama Masjid Gulbarga, Karnataka, India. It shows state-of-the-art interiors and architecture.[2][3]

It is also known as the Mosque of the Moors, due to its unique Hispanic (Moorish) style of architecture and is said to be one-of-its-kind in India. The stand-out feature is the spires instead of the usual minarets or domes; they give this mosque a church-like appearance. Right for the inception this mosque is maintained and managed by the heirs of Paigah Amir Sir Vicar ul Umra. [4]

History and features[edit]

Spanish Mosque photo from the early 1940s

The mosque was built by the Paigah noble, Sir Vikhar-ul-Umra Iqbal-ud-Dowla, in 1906. It is believed to be the only one of its kind in India, with pointed arches, a pointed main roof composed of two truncated octagonal pyramids placed one above the other intervened by octagonal domes. The minarets aesthetically placed at corners of the parapet are in the same style and very unusual from those seen in other mosques in the city and elsewhere. It is difficult to miss from the flyover opposite the old Begumpet Airport.

The other notable features are Moorish arches inside the prayer hall, Quranic verses in exquisite calligraphy inscribed on the inside walls, the absence of an ablution tank and a courtyard. In plan, the mosque comprises a main prayer hall, two rooms in front of it and a central corridor for entering the hall. It is over this central corridor or the entrance porch that the octagonal dome stands.

The mosque is built with stone masonry in lime mortar up to the basement and the superstructure in brick masonry in lime mortar. The roof is jack arch type on iron girders with brick and lime concrete. The domes, minarets and small turrets are built with brick and stone masonry and the outer face plastered with lime mortar. The central dome has a perforated screen.

Believed to be a copy of a similar mosque in Spain, it might have caught the attention of the Paigah noble, either during his eight-month-long tour of Europe or he may have stumbled on a photograph. Whatever the source, the Nawab lived up to his reputation of being a great builder having a penchant for creating something unique, as seen from his magnificent hilltop Falaknuma Palace.

Spain, once part of the Umayyad dynasty, is inundated with mosques. The Umayyad Caliphate influence can be seen in many of its buildings especially the religious ones.

This was just one of the several estates given the honorific title of Paigah (meaning pomp and high rank) for the first time by the second Nizam, Nawab Nizam Ali Khan to the Paigah family's founder, Nawab Abul Fateh Khan Taig Jung Bahadur.

Mr.Faiz khan is the head of the community as well as treasurer of this historic mosque, mr faiz keeps his eyes on the mosque 24/7. is the only person who is active towards all the works of the mosque. he conducts regular meetings between community members and commands them orders.

The mosque is also known by the local Muslim community as Masjid Iqbal Ud Daula, Masjid Aiwan-e-Begumpet. It can accommodate 3000 worshipers at once. The Spanish Mosque is very well known and is considered as a landmark mosque for the Secunderabad Muslim community.

The Spanish Mosque formed part of the sprawling 340-acre wooded estate of the Paigah nobles studded with seven palaces, all built in European and Indo-European styles. Some of them are the Paigah Palace or the Iqbal-ud-Dowla palace that has now become the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority's office, the Devdi Nazir Nawaz Jung, part of which has been leased to Chiraan Fort Club and the Vikhar Manzil, overlooking the Hussain Sagar lake and USA embassy.


It is listed for conservation as a Grade II A structure, comprising buildings of regional or local importance possessing special architectural or aesthetic merit, cultural or historical value. They are the local landmarks contributing to the image and identity of the city deserving intelligent conservation and the regulation governing them allows adaptive reuse internally but external changes are subject to scrutiny. Yet the colour scheme of the mosque has been changed from pure white to pastel green in recent years.[5]

The Spanish Mosque is a declared heritage site by ASI and is under discussion for the consideration of UNESCO Asia Pacific Merit.[2][3][6][7]


The Times of India, Hyderabad edition, reported on 18 August 2010:

"Cracks appeared in the minarets and arches of the over 100-year-old Spanish mosque due to alleged blasting activity near the heritage monument. Three people were arrested for it.

According to M A Faiz Khan, member, Jama-e-Masjid Aiwan-e-Begumpet (Spanish mosque), neighbours had taken up construction activity beside the wall of the mosque. They even used detonators to blast some rocks. The blasting resulted in cracks on the minarets and arches of the mosque, he added.
He said even after repeated pleas of the masjid committee, the neighbours took up the construction activity. On August 14 at around 4.30 pm, the contractor took up blasting and when the committee members went to the site they found five gelatin sticks, including two live ones. "About 250 persons gathered at the mosque and staged a protest, but they were pacified by the committee members," Faiz Khan added. The committee members lodged a complaint at the Begumpet police station.
Begumpet inspector A Yadgiri told TOI that three persons were arrested on Saturday and remanded in judicial custody. The arrested include contractor Srinivas, workers Narsimha and Dashrath. Cases were booked against the three under section 3 and 5 of the Explosive Substance Act.
Faiz Khan said no construction was allowed beside a protected monument site. "If at all there is any construction, it should be 30 feet away from the heritage site," he said.

He also said the masjid committee would represent the matter to the heritage cell and also to the department of archaeology and museums."[8]

INH English Daily, Hyderabad edition, reported on 20 August 2010:

"National Disaster Management Authority member and MLA M Shashidhar Reddy on Friday visited the historic ‘Spanish Mosque’ at Begumpet to inspect the damage caused by blasting at a construction site close by.

Talking to media persons later, Mr Reddy said that it was necessary to take stringent action against anyone who damages buildings of cultural heritage to protest such monuments.
The Sanathnagar MLA gave strict instructions to Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority and Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation officials to ensure that such incidents do not recur. He also instructed the officials to ensure that the cracks which have been formed on the monument are repaired as soon as possible. Mr Reddy also told them to ensure that the repair work is undertaken in such a way that it does not distort the original beauty of the monument.

Mr Reddy said, "our identity lies in our culture and heritage, and if this is wiped out, we will have no roots left."[9]


  1. ^ Barooah, Jahnabi (23 July 2012). "Ramadan around the World in pictures". Huffington Post. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Masjid Iqbal-Ud-Daula - Begumpet, Hyderabad". Flickr - Photo Sharing!. 
  3. ^ a b The Times Of India  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "Mosque of the Moors". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 17 March 2004. 
  6. ^ "Mosque in Secunderabad". Flickr - Photo Sharing!. 
  7. ^ The Times Of India  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ "Cracks appear in Spanish mosque - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 
  9. ^ "". 

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