We know that a masjid is a place dedicated to Allah’s worship. In South Asia, masjids have existed for centuries. In fact, Masjids from South Asia have evolved in style and architecture over the course of time. We can find traits such as elaborate domes, minarets, and prayer halls in varying styles of architecture in masjids from South Asia.
Masjids from South Asia bring together different cultural and artistic forms of expression. South Asia itself is the lace where Arabian, Persian and Turkish culture met indigenous forms of expression. This makes masjids from South Asia masterpieces of not just architectural but also artistic and structural beauty.
In this roundup, we have put together 10 unique masjids from South Asia.
10 Interesting And Unique Masjids From South Asia
1. Faisal Masjid, Islamabad
Faisal Masjid or Shah Faisal Masjid, located in Islamabad (Pakistan), was completed in 1986. It was designed by Turkish architect Vedat Dalokay. King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia both suggested (in 1966) and largely funded the Faisal Masjid, which is named in his honor.
Faisal Masjid has a unique and non-conventional design with an eight-sided main hall that looks like an Arab Bedouin’s desert tent. Four minarets, each of 90 meters, tower on all four corners of the main complex.
2. Tooba Masjid, Karachi
Masjid-e-Tooba, or Gol Masjid of Karachi, was built in 1969. Tooba Masjid was designed by Pakistani architect Dr Babar Hamid Chauhan.
This masjid is unique in the sense that it has a large single dome that covers the main prayer hall. This dome does not have any pillar under it. Tooba Masjid has a single minaret standing 120 feet high.
3. Mecca Masjid, Hyderabad
Mecca Masjid is the oldest Masjid in Hyderabad (India). It was completed in 1694. Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah laid the foundation stone, but its construction was finalized by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
Mecca Masjid’s unique aspect is that its bricks (the ones used to construct the central arch of the masjid) were baked from soil brought from Mecca itself.
4. Jamia Masjid, Srinagar
Jamia Masjid is located in Srinagar, Kashmir. It was built around 1400 CE by Sultan Sikandar Shah of Kashmir.
This masjid has tall pyramid-shaped towers surrounded by a courtyard supported by 370 wooden pillars.
5. Jama Masjid, Mandu (Bhopal)
Jama Masjid, Mandu was completed in 1454. Its was started by Hoshang Shah and completed by Mahmud Khilji.
This masjid is India’s only one without a minaret. Jama Masjid of Mandu is a striking architectural marvel with large courtyards and grand entrances.
6. Shat Gambuj Masjid, Bagerhat
Shat Gambuj Masjid, or the Sixty Dome Masjid, was constructed between 1442 and 1459. It was built by Khan Jahan Ali, a local Sufi saint.
Originally, this masjid had 60 stone pillars and 77 domes. However, today it is known as the 60-dome masjid. This masjid has no minarets.
7. Jama Masjid, Bhilai
Jama Masjid of Bhilai was completed in 1967. It was designed by an Indian architect named Khairuddin Ahmad Siddiqui.
This particular masjid is unique in the sense that it is the world’s first masjid to be built in the shape of the words “Ya Allah” in Arabic script.
8. Hukuru Miskiy Male, Male
Malé Friday Masjid, or Hukuru Miskiy Malé in Maldives, was constructed in 1658. This masjid was built during the reign of Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar I.
Malé Friday Masjid was constructed mostly out of coral stones carved with Arabic calligraphy and patterns.
9. Jami ul-Alfar Masjid, Colombo
Jami ul-Alfar Masjid, or The Red Masjid, was built in 1909 in Colombo by the Pettah Muslim community. Its architect was H L Saibo Lebbe.
The remarkable feature of this dual-storeyed masjid is that each of its bricks has been painted in red and white. This gives the masjid a unique and visually appealing design. Jami ul-Alfar Masjid also has a clock tower.
10. Gulshan Azad Masjid, Dhaka
Gulshan Azad Masjid, or Gulshan Central Masjid, was established in 1974-76 by Dewan Abdul Basik and Justice Abdur Jabbar Khan. It was designed by architect Mesbah-ul-Kabir.
The main building of the masjid has three storeys, and a long triangle-shaped minaret.
Faisal Masjid, Islamabad | Tooba Masjid, Karachi | Mecca Masjid, Hyderabad | Jamia Masjid, Srinagar | Jama Masjid, Mandu | Shaṭ Gombuj Masjid, Bagerhat | Jama Masjid, Bhilai | Hukuru Miskiy, Male | Jami al-Alfar Masjid, Colombo | Gulshan Azad Masjid, Dhaka