Preserving History and Harmony: The Legacy of Juma Masjid at Thazhathangady


Preserving History and Harmony: The Legacy of Juma Masjid at Thazhathangady

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Juma Masjid, nestled along the serene banks of Meenachil river in Thazhathangady, Kerala, stands as a testament to India’s rich architectural heritage and interfaith harmony. Dating back approximately 1,300 years, this historic mosque, situated just 3km from Kottayam town, embodies both cultural significance and architectural beauty.

Spanning an impressive 4,200 square feet, the two-storey structure of the mosque boasts an innovative design that facilitates natural air circulation, ensuring a cool atmosphere even during the sweltering heat.

Renowned historian MG Sasibhooshan sheds light on the absence of a minaret in Kerala’s old mosques, attributing it to regional landscape considerations and drawing parallels with mosques in Southeast Asia.

He explained that the mosque was constructed under the patronage of the then king of Thekkumkoor, whose vision was to stimulate trade in the area. With Kottayam serving as his capital. He brought Muslims, Christians and Gaud Saraswat Brahmins to Thazhathangady. Additionally, he generously supplied timber and financial resources to the Muslim community for the construction of the mosque, fostering a spirit of communal cooperation and economic development in the region.

Located amidst the bustling commercial hub of old Kottayam, Juma Masjid coexists harmoniously with a neighboring church and temple from the same era, reflecting the spirit of communal amity that defines the region. Legend has it that the mosque was established by Malik Bin Dinar, a revered figure in Islamic missionary endeavors in Kerala.

The mosque’s historical significance is further underscored by its unique ‘mukkutty saaksha’ lock system and the presence of double walls, hinting at strategic foresight possibly linked to trade rivalry. Despite its defensive features, the mosque has never witnessed any attacks throughout its storied history.

Juma Masjid’s inclusive ethos extends to its policy of allowing women inside, except during the holy month of Ramzan, fostering an environment of respect and sanctity. The mosque’s meticulous preservation efforts, overseen by the committee and guided by the archaeological department, ensure that its traditional architecture remains intact, providing worshippers and visitors alike with a profound sense of spiritual solace and aesthetic delight.

While the mosque was considered for heritage status, the committee’s decision to prioritize religious activities over museum-like conservation underscores its commitment to preserving Juma Masjid as a living symbol of faith, culture, and harmony.