The ‘Shat Gombuj Mosque’ in Bagerhat is a heritage. Bagerhat is a district of Bangladesh. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.

Formerly, this historic Mosque city was known as ‘Khalifatabad’. It is situated at the outskirts of Bagerhat town, not so far from the dense mangrove forest of the Sundarbans. Khalifatabad was a Muslim colony. It was built during the Bengal Sultanate. It is the largest mosque in Bangladesh from the sultanate period (1204-1576). It was founded by the Turkish general Ulugh Khan Jahan who was a saint warrior in the 15th century. (Article continues below)

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The construction was started in 1442. It needs 17 year to complete and it was completed in 1459. The infrastructure of the city reveals significant technical skills in many mosques as well as early Islamic monuments. Baked bricks were used for the construction of the buildings. The planning of the city was dominated by the tradition of Islamic architecture and the decorations were a combination of Mughal and Turkish architecture.

Exterior of the Mosque. Image credit- Wikipedia

Khan Jahan built a network of roads, bridges, public buildings and reservoirs to make the city livable. There were about 360 mosques in that city. Among them, the most remarkable is the multi-domed ‘Shat Gombuj Mosque’. The mosque is unique in the sense that it has 60 pillars that support the roof, with 77 low height domes. The 4 towers at 4 corners have smaller domes at the top as well. The vast prayer hall has 11 arched doorways on the east and 7 each on the north and south for light and ventilation. It has 7 aisles running along the length of the mosque and 11 deep curves between the slender stone columns. These columns support the curving arches created by the domes. The thickness of the arches is 6 feet and have slightly narrowing hollow and round wall.
The length of the mosque is 49 m (160 ft) tall and 33 m (108 ft) wide. It’s total area is 1,605 m2 (17,280 sq ft).

Insider view. Image credit- Wikipedia

The west wall in the interior has 11 ‘mihrabs’ (a niche in the wall of a mosque, at the point nearest to Mecca, towards which the congregation faces to pray.). These mihrabs are decorated with stonework and terracotta. The floor of the mosque is made of brick.

Shat Gombuj Mosque. Image credit- Cherryballeventz

Besides being used as a prayer hall and madrasha, Khan Jahan used the mosques as his court too. Today, it is one of the greatest tourist attractions and one of the best architectural of Bangladesh.

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