Taj Mahal of Ratnagiri

Posted: April 10, 2013 in Travel
Tags: , , , , , ,

In the Sangameshwar taluka of Ratnagiri, a 40 years old mosque had begun to develop cracks in January 2009. At that time it was decided that the existing structure of mosque should be demolished to make way for a new mosque. That mosque has been designed by taking the inspiration from ‘Taj Mahal’, and also from the other aspects of Islamic architecture.

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Let’s take a look at this newly built mosque, and get information about the effort and the inspiration that went into building this magnificent structure. One can easily notice the familiar slants of Islamic architecture on outer face of mosque, whereas interior part includes the minarets, chandeliers and mihrab which is a semicircle niche in the mosque, indicating the direction of Mecca. This mosque that is spread over a land of 5,000 sq ft, and it was designed by a local architect, Amol Patankar. This mosque has special arrangements for women to pray the namaz here also.

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This mosque is a part of the Ratnagiri district in the Konkan belt, and is located midway on the Mumbai-Goa Highway. The Kondivare village, where the mosque is situated, comprises of near about 200 families. Number of men in this district are employing in the merchant navy. The same village is also known for the biggest madrasas in India, ‘Darul Uloom Imam Ahmed Raza’, who caters to over 1,500 students.

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Little information given by the architects, about their experience while building this beautiful mosque, is explained below.

The inspiration behind this mosque:
The Taj Mahal in Agra, was an inspiration behind this beautiful development. You can also spot the similarities in the dome design, front view and exterior carvings of this mosque and Taj Mahal. To appreciate it’s significance, we must visualize the mosque in isolation.

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The challenges faced by architects while working on it:
Being a Hindu, that architect had no idea of Islam. Even though he had never been visited any of the mosque and never followed Islamic architecture. So, its challenge for him. I collected all the information about Islam and its architecture, and also studied the photographs of mosques and visited few of them. He was live in Kolhapur, which is at a distance of 150 kms from the mosque site. He preferred to travel daily, from Kolhapur to the site on his scooter, so he has to cover total of 300 km daily!

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It was the first mosque designed by this architect. Along with this, he has designed three temples in Kolhapur.

The unique features of this mosque:
Initially this mosque was built using concrete and marble. The carvings were also designed in concrete though these are usually done with stone or POP (Plaster Of Paris). But stone carvings are time-consuming and could have delayed the project. It requires 86 people from Rajasthan, to do plastering, carving, POP, tiles, electrical and plumbing work. The dome of this beautiful mosque is 18 ft in diameter, and 32 ft in height, whereas the minar towers up to 78 ft, 6 inches in height.

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To take a look of this beautiful mosque, travelers came from all over the world. So, it will ultimately increase the development and demand of comfortable ‘Ratnagiri Hotels’.

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