Grand mosque a grand attraction

P. Samuel Jonathan
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Muslims come out of the Pedda Masjid in Guntur after offering prayers on Friday.— Photo: T. Vijaya Kumar
Muslims come out of the Pedda Masjid in Guntur after offering prayers on Friday.— Photo: T. Vijaya Kumar

walk through the narrow lane of Lalapet leads to the oldest mosque in the town. A huge iron gate opens to the court yard in front of the grand mosque, locally known as “Pedda Masjid.’’

The centuries-old mosque, located in the midst of a commercial locality, still has an aura round it and continues to draw the faithful. The mosque teems with Muslims during the Ramzan festival season.

Folklore is that the mosque was built in the year 1740 by emperor Aurangzeb during his conquest of South India. The emperor wished that a mosque be built wherever he rested, a legend says. He handed over the maintenance to his physician Hazi Razaak Baig. The mosque is now maintained by Hazim Baig, a descendent of Razak Baig. The mosque is built on a rectangular strip of land measuring two acres. Two tall minarets stand aloft on the structure. What is special about the mosque is that it has withstood the vagaries of nature over the years though it has been built of brick and mortar. The house of the trustee and the burial ground lie adjacent to the mosque.

Intricate designs

The walls are smooth and the structure is solid as ever. Intricate designs in the shape of mango leaves, fruit adorn the wall at the entrance. “Except for minor repairs in the courtyard, no major repairs have been carried out. We have extended the mosque and improved the flooring,’’ Mr. Baig says.

Every year, the mosque is coated with paint covering the intricate designs. Locals say that the mosque, an architectural wonder, could be restored with assistance from the Archaeology Department.

“A few years ago, an ASI team visited the mosque and took measurements. The original designs around the minarets could be restored,’’ former corporator Sk. Babu says.

Locals plead for restoration of centuries-old structure



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