Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

July 2006
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Muslim Heritage

The Sixty Pillar Mosque

Khan Jahan was a great builder and set up many townships, highways and bridges.

The Sixty Pillar Mosque (the Shatgumbad) is located in Bagerhat, south Bangladesh. It has more than sixty pillars and is one of the oldest mosques in the country. It was established by Khan Jahan Ali, a Muslim saint and the local ruler of Bagerhat, during the 15th century CE. Bagerhat is a district in South-western Bangladesh. It is a part of the Khulna Division.

Khan Jahan, a noble under the Tughlaqs, seems to have come to Bengal just after the sack of Delhi (1398) by Timur. He acquired the forest area of the Sundarbans as jagir (fief) from the sultan of Delhi and subsequently from the sultan of Bengal. He cleared up the dense forest in the Sundarban area to set up human settlements, and soon got the Masjidkur and adjacent areas on the eastern bank of Kobadak suitable for habitation through the untiring efforts of his deputies, Burhan Khan and Fateh Khan.

Khan Jahan was a great builder. He founded some townships, built mosques, madrasahs and sarais, roads, highways and bridges, excavated a large number of dighis in the districts of greater Jessore and Khulna. Besides his fortified metropolis of Khalifatabad (modern Bagerhat) he built three townships, such as Maruli Kasba, Paigram Kasba and Bara Bazar. He is said to have built a highway from Bagerhat to Chittagong, a 20-mile long road from Samantasena to Badhkhali, and a road running from Shuvabara to Daulatpur in Khulna. Khan Jahan died on 25 October, 1459.