Sight to behold

, Leisure

Chandanpura Jame Masjid is one of the great examples of Mughal-inspired architecture

In the port city of Chattogram, a structure with multiple domes and soaring minarets painted in bright colours compels the people passing by to halt and praise its beauty. Situated amidst the hustle and bustle of always-busy Nawab Siraj ud-Daulah Road, Chandanpura Mosque is one of the most famous landmarks in the city as well as a popular tourist attraction known for its impressive architecture.

Said to be a great example Mughal-inspired architecture, the spacious interior, slender columns, elongated buttresses and intricately designed balusters of Masjid-e-Siraj ud-Daulah, locally known as Chandanpura Jame Masjid, can impress each and every kind of traveller.

According to various historians, the masjid was built in 1870 and was known as Hamidia-Taj-Masjid. Various builders and architects from Lucknow and Mumbai (both in India) were brought in for the work. However, in 1947, an initiative was taken to renovate the mosque, which was completed in 1952. At that time, around Taka 4 lakh was required for the renovation.

Currently, the two-storey structure with an entrance in the middle has two staircases zigzagging to the top of two minarets on both sides. Both minarets are around seven-storey tall. Railings of the staircases have multi-coloured floral designs.

In total, there are five domes with a large onion dome at the centre — surrounded by structures intricately designed like petals. However, what makes this mosque stand out of the others is its ornamentation.

The massive vaulted-gate was constructed not only as an entrance, but also to welcome all. Alongside being a prayer hall, this place offered people a place to unwind. People came here to sit back and relax.

Today, the major attraction of the mosque are its minarets. They were constructed in such a way that there was ample space for sunlight to enter the floors. While visiting the place, do try and play some “hide and seek” with sunlight and shadows.

Located between Andarkilla and Chawkbazar intersections — two densely-populated areas in the city, there is worry that rapid urban sprawl may eventually have a negative impact on the area, especially the structure of the mosque.

This mosque is a part of the identity of the locals. It never fails to amaze us even after so many years. Before, we could see it from afar. However, the surrounding has changed. The area is suffering from unplanned urbanisation,” said Shamir Khan, a local.

Many nearby buildings are today blocking the view. During a recent visit, this correspondent also saw several multi-storied buildings were being constructed in the area while heavy vehicles plying the adjacent roads throughout the day.

Banker Pallavi said when heavy vehicles continue to ply the road next to the mosque, its columns vibrate. Base of the structure may become unstable due to that, she said.

In order to preserve the mosque, it is necessary that a ban is placed on the movement of heavy vehicles on the road. Otherwise, it will be difficult to preserve the mosque, despite all the maintenance works.

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