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Jamia Masjid - an expression of devotion in architecture

Updated Apr 10, 2015 11:18am
The main building of the mosque with three domes and several small minarets reflective of local aesthetic
The main building of the mosque with three domes and several small minarets reflective of local aesthetic

By Shiraz Hassan

One of the oldest mosques in Rawalpindi city, one Markazi Jamia Masjid at Jamia Masjid road is a true architectural wonder. The building has been embellished with intricate tile work and detailed frescos in vibrant colours which have stood the test of time.

According to historian Shiraz Haider, “The mosque was built in 1903, just outside the old city of Rawalpindi, at Circular road. That portion of road is now known as Jamia Masjid road due to the mosque.”

“Muslims of the city provided the donation to build the mosque. Residents Qazi Gohar Ali, Mian Nabi Bakhsh and Mian Qutbuddin played a major role in contraction of the mosque,” said Shiraz Haider.

The view of Bagh Sardaran Gurdwara from the mosque
The view of Bagh Sardaran Gurdwara from the mosque
A man sits in the prayer area of the mosque, surrounded by fresco work which was recently renovated
A man sits in the prayer area of the mosque, surrounded by fresco work which was recently renovated

Molana Muhammad Kech Makrani, father of renowned folk artist Afzal Pervez was appointed as the first Khateeb of the mosque after its completion. The fresco artwork on the interior walls was done by Ghulam Nabi Kamil.

The Jamia Masjid presents a panoramic view with only one entrance from Eastern side and central courtyard in front. The Mosque has three domes and several small minarets. It is one of the few mosques in the Pothohar region which replicated traditional Mughal architecture.

A colourful arch over a doorway divides three different patterns of fresco work
A colourful arch over a doorway divides three different patterns of fresco work
Detailed floral design on the ceiling of the mosque, in perfect geometrical symmetry common in Mughal architecture
Detailed floral design on the ceiling of the mosque, in perfect geometrical symmetry common in Mughal architecture

“The mosque is a continuation of a centuries old tradition,” Dr. Ghafer Shahzad, an architect and architecture writer told Dawn.

According to Ghafer Shazad the facade of the mosque is a multiplicity of a basic design element — the arch. While the mosque has been decorated with traditional fresco but the materials, colours and techniques used are not traditional. This reflects the development of a local tradition in architecture and aesthetic expression. The domes are not as large they are in traditional Mughal mosque design but the odd number of arches and domes are inspired by Mughal style.

The spire at one of the domes of mosque
The spire at one of the domes of mosque
The grand entrance of the Jamia Masjid with glass and paint work stands out from the clutter of modern hoardings and wires surrounding it
The grand entrance of the Jamia Masjid with glass and paint work stands out from the clutter of modern hoardings and wires surrounding it