The Adina Mosque is situated about 16 kms from the town of Malda. It was built by Sultan Sikandar Shah and is the largest Islamic monument of Bengal. It is one of the finest architectural structure built in Bengal during the Muslim period. As we first entered the mosque, we were awed the vast dual coloured wall. Below, the wall was made of grey stone upto about 10 feet. The upper portion of the wall was made of red bricks.
The Adina Mosque has many distinct remnants of Hindu deities on the gateways and the walls of the mosque. Also the interiors of the mosque had Hindu carvings and designs. A local guide informed us that there are 2 theories regarding the building of Adina mosque.
One states that the mosque was built by stones brought from various Hindu temples that were destructed and broken down those times. So, Hindu signs are evident on the carvings and works of the mosque.
The second legend says that the mosque was originally a Hindu temple of Lord Shiva. It was broken down and rebuilt into a mosque. There are ample signs to show that the there was Hindu influence on this structure. One stone slab displays Ganesh while another depicts the Nataraj statue of Lord Shiva. There are several others including the crests of doorways at the entrance of the northern as well as the eastern face. Inside the mosque, the stone work is equally convincing that the original building was a temple. The name “Adina” of Adina mosque probably comes from the word “Adinath” depicting Lord Shiva.
The mosque is indeed an architectural wonder. The quadrangular building extends 516 feet from north to south, and 313 feet from East to West, and was surrounded by thick brick walls with four fluted pillars on the edges.
The central hall, with its beautiful arched openings resembles typical mughal style. While most of the 306 domes of this mosque, have disappeared, only 18 domes on the Badhsha-ka-Takht, in the north are intact, with the arches, looking elegant.
A separate elevated arched hallway for the royal ladies was built. The mosque is decorated with magnificent intricate carvings, calligraphic inscriptions and non-calligraphic surface ornamentation.
The complex designs included geometrical patterns, vegetation motifs, rosettes and abstract arabesque designs. This drawing shows part of the sanctuary interior together with three black basalt carved ‘mihrabs’ or prayer niches.
Time has taken its toll on the mosque. The earthquake in the early 19th and 20th century has destroyed a part of the mosque.
The green lawn of the Adina mosque is soothing to the eyes. It is said that almost as many as 10000 people used sit for Namaz at this lawn.
Adina mosque is also a testimony to the Santal insurgency headed by Jitu Santal. Jitu Santal had gathered the Santals under him to fight the oppression and injustice meted out to them by the landlords. In the early twentieth century the Santals headed by Jitu had attacked the Adina mosque. But the revolt was ruthlessly suppressed by the British Government with the help of landlord Khan Chowdhury. Jitu Santal was killed in the conflict along with many other Santals. The bullet impressions are still found in the mosque.
A visit to the Adina mosque can be done together with a visit to the ancient city of Gour. Also the Eklakhi mausoleum cane be visited along with the Adina mosque. A detailed travelogue of our visit to Gour can be seen in these 3 posts.
Malda can be visited over a weekend. Visit Malda and marvel at the historic and archaeological sites that Malda has to offer. Moreover, also get to know the history of Bengal.
Some Useful Facts:
How to reach:
Malda is well connected by train from Howrah and Sealdah as well as Siliguri. From Malda, a car can be hired for the day to visit Gour and Pandua (Adina).
Where to Stay:
Numerous Hotels and guests houses are found in Malda.
Best time to visit:
You can visit anytime around the year. Winters will be pleasant in Malda while it is best to avoid summers.