The Adina Mosque is situated about 16 km 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 by the vast dual coloured wall. Below, the wall was made of grey stone up to 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 the 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 there was a 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 stonework 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 basalts 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 to 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 can be visited along with the Adina mosque. A detailed travelogue of our visit to Gour can be seen in the following post.
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 about Adina Mosque, Malda
Places to visit near Adina Mosque
- Eklakhi Mausoleum
- Qutub Shahi Mosque
- Adina Deer Park
How to reach Malda?
Malda is about 330 km from Kolkata. The nearest railway station is Malda Town. The city is well connected by train from Howrah and Sealdah as well as from Siliguri. The best train for travelling to Malda Town in the Gour Express running everyday from Sealdah Station. The train starts at around 10.00 pm and reaches Malda Town by 6.00 am. You will also get daily buses from Kolkata towards Malda.
You can hire a car from Malda Town and visit Adina, which is about 18 km away.
Where to Stay in Malda
There are a number of hotels and guests houses found in Malda. The WB Govt Tourist Lodge is a good place to stay. You can book rooms online from the website.
There are several other hotels also. We would recommend you to stay at some hotel near the English Bazar. Hotel Indraprastha is also a good hotel.
Best time to visit Malda
For travelling purpose, the best time to visit Malda is the winter season between November to February. The days are cooler and nights are cold at that time. During the summer, Malda is extremely hot and warm. Going around these places is not going to be a pleasant experience.
If you are fond of mangoes, then summer and early monsoon is the time to visit Malda. The months between May to mid-July sees a lot of mangoes in the markets of Malda.
Other Places to Visit in Malda
Malda also has several other places of interest such as:
The historical sites of Gour, Malda is about 17 km from Malda Town, while Adina is another 18 km in the opposite direction. So you can probably rent a car from Malda Town and visit both the places on the same day. Start with Gour and then visit Adina in the afternoon.
If you have extra time and days, then you can visit Jagjivanpur, a Buddhist excavation site and Jahuratala Temple, a very famous temple in Malda Town.