Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Historic Mosques Of Lahore

Historic Mosques Of Lahore,A must have book by Ihsan Nadiem.
(Sange Meel Publications 25, Shahrahe Pakistan (lower) Mall, Lahore, Pakistan.)

This book gives a beautiful introduction in detail, about some of the most reknowned mosques in Pakistan especially the Punjab area. The architectural beauty of mosques is a treasure of Muslim culture. In the subcontinent, South Asia, there are several mosques which show the architectural, art and motif detail of the periods of Muslim rule as most of the mosques were built by the rulers and rich persons of their era.

Punjab occupies a central place both in geographical terms and also in terms of the contribution to culture of the subcontinent.The book gives an insight into the makings of these beautiful mosques and takes the reader into a journey where actually he or she may feel the urge to see these magnificient structures themselves. The mosques of Punjab are present in areas in Pakistan which themselves have a magnificiently rich culture of their periods, like Bahawalpur, Peshawar, Lahore, Multan.
Mr. Nadiem writes in his preface ‘A mosque being the most favorite architectural expression with the Muslims, has frequented the face of the earth more than any other one type of structures.Lahore, since it’s first encounter with the faith,did not lag behind any other place.’ He further tells that as such records were not available, he took the task of compiling this record by the suggestion of his friend Chaudry Niaz Ahmed. This was encouraged by the endeavor under ‘Heritage Of Pakistan’ by titles such as ‘Moenjo Daro: Heritage Of Mankind’ , 'Rohtas:Formidable Fort Of Sher Shah’, and ‘Lahore: A Glorius Heritage’,being both approved by the scholars and the enthusiast readers alike. (196-Karim Block, Allama Iqbal Town, Lahore, Pakistan).
In the chapter ,Historic Mosques Of Pakistan : An Overview, he goes to explain how the early mosques are available as few excavated sites.For example he writes about ‘Deybal’ a place where the young general Mohammad Bin Qasim first arrived in subcontinent, a mound gives indication when excavated of the first mosque in Bhambore, near Karachi.
The other is Mansurah Jami Masjid which was excavated , and gives an indication of it being built in the early period as on the plan of the Damascus Mosque of the early Ummayad period. He further writes that the next two or three centuries did not witness any activity of mosque building. When Ghaznavi entered through the northern regions, also no evidence of mosques is found. Only in Swat , as a result of Italian excavations, a mosque structure proves their presence in first half of 11 th century.There is  a representative picture also showing this mosque.
In early mosques he writes about the dynastic rule of Ghiasuddin Tughlaq during which(1320) a new kind of architecture is seen.He lists the mosque built on the precincts of Mausoleum of Sheikh Alauddin, as one  such structure.Another mosque , that built by Firoz Shah Tughlaq in Okara is representative of the same architecture.He then lists information about the mosques built in connection to sufi saints like Jalaluddin Surkh Bukhari, Safiuddin Gazruni, Jahaniyan Jahangasht, Rajan Qattal.He describes the beautiful mosques of Thatta such as Dabgran Mosque and Shahjahani Mosque.
Beautiful pictures are present throughout the book for the viewer to enjoy.

The next chapter is entitled ‘Mosques of Lahore’.Here he gives a beautiful description of the many mosques. He writes ‘ Lahore came under  the regular rule of Muslims with the conquest by Mehmood of Ghazna in 1025. It is recorded that after his conquest of Qannauj on return, he built a mosque and a tower in Lahore fort, to commemorate his success.’ Khishti (brick –built) Masjidin Arab Mohalla was one such structure.
The Data Darbar is a complex of the tomb and mosque structure built in early Ghaznavid period.The new mosque structure is not on the old mosque basis which is much smaller.

The Badshahi mosque, Marium Zamani Mosque,Nawab Wazir Khan Mosque are some magnificient structures still giving th visitor a glimpse into the glorious architectural past.

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