DARASHBARI MOSQUE The independent Bengal style of the mediaeval period. Shafique Rahman
Due to an unfathomable remote location into a village of northern edge of Bangladesh, the 15th Century fabulous architecture remains in gray and in a dilapidated condition. Darasbari Mosque is located in Omarpur of Shibganj District , around 1km away to the north of the historical Choto Shona Mosque.
The name Darasbari derived from Darosh. In Arabic, Darosh stands for educational Institution. This brick built mosque was constructed by the restored Iliyas Shahi sultan Shamsuddin Yusuf Shah, son of Barbak Shah in 1479AD. Archeological Department of Bangladesh discovered important manuscript inside this heritage in 1970s. According to the reference “Gour O Chapai Bonger Nidorshan by Mohammad Salauddin” the terracotta decoration of this mosque is similar to the Gunmanto Mosque of India.
This oblong mosque consists of two parts, a verandah in front in the east and the main prayer chamber to its west, the whole being divided longitudinally by a wide nave running east-west. Externally it measures 34m by 20.6m and internally 30.3m by 11.7m. It is built of brick but the pillars are stone.
Inside the prayer chamber, there are the remains of a royal gallery to its north-westcorner. The Qiblah wall contains totally eleven mihrabs (two of these belong to the royal gallery at the upper level). It was ornamented by terracotta plaques. Some terracotta plaques are still visible on the western and southern outer wall surface under the cornice.
The roof of the mosque with verandah was covered with 24 domes and 4 chauchala vaults. But at present all have fallen down now. The prayer room is accessed from the east by seven pointed-arch openings from the verandah. On the other hand there are three pointed archways in the southern wall and two in the northern wall.
PLAN OF DARASBARI MOSQUE
The ornamentation of the mosque was of most sumptuous character. The outside walls were patterned with vertical offset and inset designs with terracotta panels dominated by hanging motifs on their faces. The inside was patterned with brick settings noticed on the face of the arches and pendentives within. The ornamentation of the mihrabs, set against each of the bays, consisting of engrailed arches with frames of terracotta creepers, foliage, rosettes, spread out plants and hangings motifs are some of the finest specimens of this kind of decoration from Gaur-Lakhnauti. These terracottas are finer than other examples and appear to have been coated with a little glaze to make them look different and attractive. The walls extant to the west and south sides are now mostly the result of restoration work, which obliterated the original terracotta designs. An interesting ornamental motif of the curvilinear cornice was a terracotta flag placed in a running row affirming that the mosque was attended by the builder, and that he was the commander of the army and also of the faithful (amirul mu'minin).
The mosque has a splendor look and a paradigm of an elegant scale. The Darasbari Mosque at one time must have been one of the most beautiful examples of Sultanate mosques in Gaur-Lakhnauti. One must visit the Darasbari Mosque to feel the real beauty and mystery of Bengal Architecture.Bibliography
- ABM Husain (ed), Gawr-Lakhnawti, Dhaka, 1997
- Gour O Chapai Bonger Nidorshan by Mohammad Salauddin
- Photography: Shafique Rahman (Writer)
- Feature Image Photography: Sakib Ahmed