Why is Jama Masjid (mosque) of Gulburga, Karnataka popular - 15 interesting facts

Juma Masjid, Gulburga fort,Gulburga, Karnataka.mapio.net

Gulburga  (Kalaburagi) KA pinrest.com

The  simple and sold-looking Jama Masjid with no embellishment inside the Gulburga Fort, Gulburga (now renamed Kalaburagi), Karnataka state is one of the impressive masjids in South India. Completed in 1367, to day it stands as a firm testimony to the glorious reign of the Bhamani Dynasty in this part of India.  It was Alauddin Bahman Shah (r. 1347-1358), who broke away from the Tughlaq empire (based in Delhi) had  established  the first independent Bahmani Sultanate in 1347 with blessings from Sufi saint, Sheikh Sirajuddin Junaydi (d. 1380). Over a period of time, armed with administrative skill backed by powerful army, the dynasty became a   powerful one  to reckon with and  ruled over part of the Deccan region. In their long rule, spanning 200 years, the Bahmani rulers' (18  of them)  contribution toward the Islamic architecture of this region in particular in this place and at Bidar, was vast.  These innovative eye-catching structures, forts, mosques and durgahs, gave an impetus to this hot semi-arid region. Among the monuments  like Gol Gumbaz, the Jama Mosque is a fine piece of  Islamic architecture with a stamp of Bahmani style. The iconic Jama Masjid attracts lots of visitors.

Jama Masjid, Gulburga fort, Karnataka  Gettyimagesin

Jama Masjid, Gulburga fort, Karnataka  Gettysimages  

Jama Masjid, Gulburga fort, Karnataka. shuttercock in

The following are the interesting facts of  iconic Jama Masjid of Gulburga:

01. The mosque was built under under the direction of a hereditary architect named Rafi, not  native of of India, but from the far-off town of Kazvin in northern Persia.

02. The mosque appears simple, sold and plain just  in contrast to those  of  one-aisled mosques of Delhi with well ornamented entrances and open courtyards. Acceding to  art historian Percy Brown the architect drew  inspiration  from domed and vaulted hall of the basilica type of religious structures commonly found in eastern Europe. 

03.  Located at the center of the fort, Juma masjid was not the original congregational mosque of the capital city of Gulburga. In reality,  a large rectangular mosque in the busy  Shah Bazaar area of the city was the original Jama Masjid where prayers are held every Friday. It is commonly known as  the Shah Bazaar mosque which has a cupola-styled dome.  .

Central dome, Jama masjid, Gulburga budgetindianvacations.wordpress.com

04.  In view of its interior with numerous vaulted arches, bays and domes, historian are of the view this structure  is built on the model of   Mosque of Cordoba, Spain.

05. It was during the reign of  Mohammed Shah I,  Jama Masjid came up and the work was done mostly by local masons and stone-carving artisans. With an elevated basement of 10-feet-high. the mosque measures  216 by 177 feet.

Jama Masjid, Gulburga fort, Gulburga, Karnataka.Mapconet

06. The masjid that has fine  stucco work, is a large one  and has a capacity to hold 5,000 people for prayers at a time.  As common in many mosques, there are two big black-stone-carved vessels stored with water .at the main entrance. It is for the purpose of ablution -  to purify oneself before praying. Of the two black-stone inscriptions at the entrance, one  bears the name of the first sultan, Ala-ud-Din Bahman Shah. It covers roughly an area of 90,000 square feet, and  is said to be one of the largest ones in the State.

07.  The 50 foot tall main entrance to this mosque reveals  Turkish influence. There are  as many as 250 arches inside the structure and they are designed in such a way. one can view all the arches by standing anywhere inside the mosque; indeed an innovative design.

Juma Masjid, Gulbarga .indiamonuments.org

08. The mosque is divided into wide arched sections with a spacious area on the west. This section has  the Mihrab. and  is covered by a high central dome. The hall gets an impressive look because of rows of aisles with 68 bays, each shaped like a cupola  that has,  on its four sides,  honeycomb pendentives The wide-spanned rows arches with low imposts on the west side are done with picture-perfect.  There are cloisters on three sides and the west side is spacious with a dome. The cloisters consist of a series of single archways of a very wide spans and low imposts

09. Yet another interesting feature of this large  mosque is it is prayer-friendly hall, in the sense, when the Namaz is  being done in  the area of mihrab (where the imam stands to perform namaz and mimbar (from where the imam speaks) it can be  be seen by a worshiper  standing anywhere inside the mosque. Every arch carries Persian scripts bearing the names of the prophet’s family member.; not so on the west side.

10. The mosque has numerous domes - 107 smaller domes on the roof, either in half-circle or pyramidal in style, four medium-sized domes on each corner  and a big dome on the west from which  any low can be picked up by a unique acoustics system. The sound echoes reach throughout the hall. The dome has clerestory  with  squelches and arches are gracefully foliated.

11. Since the place  experiences hot weather in the summer, for the convenience of people indoors, the windows  are set  ingeniously to keep the interior cool even during the hot summer season. Further, they promote  cross-ventilation.

12. The unusual feature is this place of worship has an armory and on the eastern  a tomb of a Sufi saint who was close to some of the Bahmani rulers. 

13.This type of Deccani architecture, that emphasizes less on ornamentation and more on innovative types,  has inherent features like  stilted dome raised on the clerestory and the cloister arches with wide spans and low imposts. In the later period it became unpopular Islamic style unlike the Mogul style. 

14. There are three cannons on the fort  premises and there is the  29 -foot long cannon - longest one in the world, atop  the watchtower.. 

15. Jama Masjid does not have minarets, but does have a huge  dome  and smaller ones. Sultan Mohammed Shah I  built this historical mosque to commemorate Gulbarga as the new  capital of the Bahmani Sultanate. Later the capital was shifted to Bidar.