Mishkal Mosque, Kuttichira, Kerala -14th century protected monument

Mishkal Mosque, Kuttichira, alamy.com

The Mishkal Mosque, Kuttichira, Kozhikode , one of the oldest in Kerala  is  a unique one. Built by a rich Arab merchant and ship owner  from Yeman, Nakhooda Mishkal, in the 14th century, it is a four-story structure. Except the ground floor, all the four floors are made of quality wood including walls.  Devoid of domes, minarets  or any other   distinctive features normally one can see in a traditional mosque, this one in Kuttichira is built in a traditional way in  a  style typical of Kerala Hindu temple. The fine  carvings on the walls and ceilings, the gopuram style arches at the entrance are  common features of  temples of Kerala. The mosque even has a pond which is  similar to the one  found in temples. It is symbol of  Kerala  state's vernacular  style architecture. The various ethnic and  religious groups that live here for centuries  in harmony never fail to showcase their  expression  through the space they live in unmindful of the overlapping. The mosque is surrounded by Mappla settlement and its residential plan modeled after  local naalukattu house type throws light on the growth of  joint family system in the community.

Mishkal Mosque, Kuttichira, Kerala.keralatourism.org

.Interior of Mishkal Mosque, Kuttichira, Kerala.thehindu.com

The  medieval mosque  has no resemblance with those of highly embellished  marble floored or walled mosques constructed by the Muslim rulers of the north, not even Mogul rulers or Bijapur sultanate. The hall mark of this mosque, a heritage monument, is its adherence to native culture and tradition of Kerala. The wooden mosque is simplicity personified. The added advantage was the availability of quality lumber in the near-by areas; Kerala has vast tracks of wooded areas. 

 Mishkal Mosque, Kuttichira, Keralatravalour.com

Above image: The Mishkal  mosque, Kuttichira near Kozhikode built in  quality wood in the architectural tradition of the Chera country by the Arab merchant in the 14th century. It resembles a ship primarily with four main floors with a mizzen floor. The prayers are  held only on the ground floor though there is a second floor.  This mosque has all the design features seen at the Cheraman Juma Mosque in Kodungallur built by  Arab trader Malik Ibn Deenar in 629AD, the oldest in India....... .. 

Kuttichera, Kerala, location map. maps.mapmyindia.com

With the establishment of a permanent trading post in Goa, West India, in  the early 1500s the Portuguese traders made a vein attempt to dominate the spice trade as the Zamorin king was not responsive to them. In 1510, the Portuguese raided this area and attacked the tall mosque and  damaged the  top floors and one can see the remnants even today.  The local ruler repaired the mosque, however, the top floor was beyond repair and redemption. 

This 650 plus year old mosque saw some major renovation work a few years ago fully funded by ONGC, a Central government organization. The well-ventilated  prayer hall that is supported by 27 wooden pillar can allow about 400 worshipers at a time. Way back in 2014 the Kerala government allocated Rs.45 lakhs for additional improvements.