Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Chota Shona (Small Golden Mosque) in Chapai Nawabganj

There were, it seems, two mosques in ancient Gaur with gold leaf covered domes. The one that now stands in Chapai Nawabganj is the smaller of the two, but said to be the prettier.

Architectural Detail; Chapai Nawabganj

Constructed in the 15th Century it, like the famous Kasumba Mosque, makes extensive use of Buddhist basalt architectural pieces to clad the brick built form. There is even said to be one piece of basalt that bears Islamic inscription on one side and Buddhist on the reverse!

It is apparent however, that the builders ran out of such cladding for about a third of the rear, which remains brick clad, and with evidence of an abrupt termination of the use of basalt.

Black Basalt surrounding brick; Small Golden Mosque

The approach to the Ladies gallery is ruinous, and the entry arch has not been well restored, but the paved courtyard is impressive, as is the interior with its jigsaw puzzle of decoration.

One of the oldest, and certainly, one of the finest examples of its kind, like Kasumba, more ‘accessible’ than, for example, the huge so called ’60 Dome Mosque’ of Bagerhat in Khulna Division, which is more or less contemporary as a piece of pre Mughal work.
Its splendour is arguably overshadowed by the nearby Mughal mosques at Takahama, but it is certainly one of the ‘must visits’ of an area crowded with the archaeology of the extraordinarily rich history of virtually the whole of Bangladesh.

Chota Shona Mosque, Chapai Nawabganj Bangladesh

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