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Jurra mosque a symbol of Swat’s cultural heritage

Updated May 30, 2018

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People fetch water from a well through an ancient method known as counterpoise lift. — Dawn
People fetch water from a well through an ancient method known as counterpoise lift. — Dawn

MINGORA: The mosque in Jurra village is not only a worship place for the local people but also a resting place and symbol of Swat cultural heritage.

Located in the historical village of Jurra in Matta tehsil, the mosque, according to the villagers, is more than a century old. It was constructed by a local elder known as Khan Bahadar.

Made of stone-mud and wooden architecture with traditional wood carving of the Swat, the mosque after more than 100 years is still in good condition.

Villagers say the worship place keeps them united

“More than 100 years before this mosque was constructed by Khan Bahadar and in its construction the villagers took part voluntarily. Apart from its civil work, several carpenters and wood carvers put their share by making and carving pillars with different floral designs,” Khaista Gul, a 95-year-old villager, who is also the caretaker of the mosque, told Dawn.

He said that the mosque played an important role in keeping the villagers united as they not only offered prayers in it but also took rest there during the long dreary days of summer and cold days of winter as the mosque offered cool respite in the hot summer and warmth in the harsh winter.

The mosque is a symbol of unity for the villagers and a symbol of the cultural heritage of Swat.

“Besides being a place of worship, this mosque has protected our centuries’ old heritage in form of wood carving as its every pillar is a monument of the past and each floral pattern represents the legacy of the past. We offer prayers amid our rich cultural heritage in the mosque and will keep it in the same state as we don’t want it to lose its charm and cultural value,” said Mohammad Jameel, a resident of the village, who is an engineer by profession.

The floral design and motives on some wooden pillars are also different from those in other ancient mosques of Swat. It makes the mosque unique and different. People visit the mosque in a large number to see its wooden carving on beams and pillars and its unique stone-mud architecture.

However, the best part of the mosque is its ancient water well and the unique water lifting technology.

“It will travel you back in a time when water was lifted from wells in a different way. We lift water by a very simple technique known as counterpoise lift. The technique was used by ancient Egyptians for irrigation purposes. The present counterpoise lift in Jurra mosque is said to be more than 100 years old,” said Fazl Shah, another villager.

He added when tourists visited the mosque the counterpoise lift technique attracted them a lot and they took photos with it.

Published in Dawn, May 30th, 2018