The Shat Gambuj Mosque

The Mosque City of Bagerhat was named by Forbes as one of the 15 lost cities of the world. It has over 50 Islamic monuments which were rediscovered after the vegetation that covered them for centuries was removed. Bagerhat was founded in the 15th century by Bangladeshi war hero Khan Jahan Ali (also known as Ulugh Khan Jahan) and is regarded as an incubator of Islam in Bangladesh. The most unique building in the complex Shait Gumbad or the Sixty Pillar Mosque, however, UNESCO also includes several other buildings among its unique monuments, including the tomb of Khan Jahan Ali. Bagerhat, the historical Khalifatabad, was founded by Khan Jahan, an Islamic preacher probably of Turkic origin. This Khan Jahan, about whom not much is known, adorned the city with mosques, roads, bridges, palaces and reservoirs. He established all of this within a short time span, while introducing a distinct architectural style. Only the mosques and Khan Jahan's shrine remain today.

The Sixty Pillar Mosque (the Shat Gambuj), in Bagerhat in south Bangladesh, on the eastern bank of a sweet water tank or pond (the takur dighi) is one of the oldest mosques in the country and is described as "historic mosque representing the Golden Era of Muslim Bengal". It is laid is over an area of 160 feet (49 m) by 108 feet (33 m). The mosque is unique in that it has 60 pillars that support 77 exquisitely curved "low squat domes" that have worn away over time; it has seven central domes that are four-sided and built in Bengali style. It was established in 1440 by Khan Jahan Ali.

Located in the eponymous district and city today, in the Khulna Division of the country, the Mosque City of Bagerhat is said to have been founded in the 1400′s by Ulugh Khan Kahan, who is also known to historians as Khan Jahan Ali. This personage was a famed general of his time, and countless accounts also attest to his saintly benevolence, humility, and magnanimity, which has led to him being considered a holy person by the Bangladeshis even today. In fact, his mausoleum is among the most popularly visited structures inside the lost city.

The lost city’s original name was Khalifatabad. It covers an area of about 50 square kilometres and lies near the place where the Ganges and Brahmaputra waters meet, near the heavy swamps of the Sundarbans. The place was pronounced a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985, and has seen a fairly steady flow of visitors since then, albeit most of them have been domestic tourists. Still, with the recent interest in promoting international tourism by the government, it is expected that more people from other countries should be turning up soon, especially those interested in archaeological sites of this character. There are many things to see here, from the world-renowned Shat Gombuj Masjid (also known as the 60-Pillar Mosque), to Khan Jahan’s Tomb (which, by the way, is near a pond called “thakhur dighi” that you should be wary of, it being that the waters have crocodiles in them), to Ronvijoypur Mosque (which holds the largest dome in the entire country, measured to be an enormous 11-metres wide-impressive indeed for such an old structure). There are dozens of other structures besides these, with well over 50 having been discovered already. There is also a Bagerhat Museum where artefacts from the site are displayed.

A small museum has been established by the Directorate of Archaeology of Bangladesh, in collaboration with UNESCO, in front of the Shait Gumbaz Mosque, where antiquaries collected from the area of the historical site are displayed providing knowledge on the history of Bagerhat. It has three exhibit galleries of antiquaries related to the "Historic Mosque City of Bagerhat", which include inscriptions, potteries, terracotta plaques and ornamental bricks. Pictures of important historic buildings of Bangladesh are also part of the exhibits here.

Posted By: ABC Task