Faith

One of the tallest minarets in South India

The historic Jamia Masjid on the southern banks of River Tirumanithar in the heart of Salem city has got a 135 ft. tall ‘minaret.’ This is said to be one of the tallest minarets to be constructed in a mosque in South India in the recent past.

The minaret is a significant feature of mosques across the world, and is one of the earliest characteristics of Islamic architecture. The ‘muezzin,’ a person who announces the call of prayer, usually delivers the ‘azaan’ from the minarets.

Jamia Masjid in any town or city is considered as the chief mosque. They are known as congregational mosques, as Muslims gather in large numbers to offer prayers on Fridays and during Ramzan, Bakrid and other festivals.

Rich past

Jamia Masjid in Salem city, standing on about 1.5 acres of land, has a rich past. It is one of the oldest mosques in the state and was said to have been built by the Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan (1750 – 1799), popularly known as the Tiger of Mysore, more than two centuries ago. Tipu Sultan, who had visited the Salem region on various occasions, is said to have offered prayers in this mosque. He has also donated inams (properties) for this mosque. The British regime, which understood the importance of this Jamia Masjid, also extended assistance to this mosque and gave ‘inams’.

This Jamia Masjid is built on the lines of the North Indian mosques. The prayer hall of this grand mosque stands on an elevated ground and is decorated with tall, elaborate granite pillars. On Fridays, this masjid gets more worshippers from the town and neighbouring areas of Salem.

According to S.R. Anwar, the Muthawalli of the Jamia Masjid, the minaret has nine small tiers ranging between 10 ft. and 20 ft. The cornice (metal kalasam), atop the minaret was made in Kumbakonam. A silver cone and crescent decorate this metal structure.

Anwar says that this Jamia Masjid plays a stellar role in promoting communal harmony in the entire western belt and has been held in high esteem by everyone.

S. Veerappan, an expert architect from Kamanayakkanpatti, led a team which was in-charge for the construction of this minaret. His name is engraved on the inaugural stone. “It is a great honour that my name is on the tablet stone of the mosque,” says Veerappan. “This highlights the mutual respect and goodwill that the people from different communities have for each other,” he adds.

The new minaret was inaugurated recently by A. Anwar Raajha, MP and Chairman of Tamil Nadu Wakf Board, in the presence of MPs V. Panneer Selvam, P.R. Sundaram and K. Kamaraj.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 9:36:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/the-new-minaret-here-is-one-of-the-tallest/article24339163.ece

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