BENGAL PROVINCIAL ARCHITECTURE
•Bengal was established in 1203-1573 AD.
•In the 13TH century Arabs invaded the Bengal province
and introduced their architecture for the first time in this
•The strategic center was at the junction of the Ganga and
Mahananda now comprising the malda district.
•Two major capitals of Mohammedan were Gaur and
•These Muslim rulers constructed several new cities
fortresses, palaces, free-standing victory-towers, citadels,
immense land bridges and embankments, etc in this
province that included present day Bangladesh and West
Bengal in India.
•They created the buildings with the locally available
building materials combining the regional styles with the
typical Muslim features such as domes, arches, the
minaret and the mihrab.
•This amalgamation resulted into a new and improved
technique named as Indo-Islamic architecture, enriched
with regional building tradition in Bengal.
Three phases of islamic building art of bengal:
•Period extending from 1st conquest of country and while
the capital was at gaur until it was moved to pandua from
•From the date when the capital was established at
pandua until the building of the eklakhi tomb-1340-1430
•During the period from the date of the retransfer of the
capital to gaur until the country was acquired by mughals.-
1442 to 1576 AD
1st Phase(1200-1340 AD)
• Mohammedans first established themselves at tribeni then pressed inland occupying area included within
present districts of hugli and burdwan.
• The lack of building stone in Bengal meant that most construction was carried out in brick, of which there
was an abundant supply, and this meant that no building was possible using the usual column-beam
construction so characteristic of early Islamic structures..
• Pillars were made of basalt.
• Brick thus lends Bengal architecture a style which is distinct, with its pointed arches and finishes so
different from those in stone.
• Mosques made by dismantling the temples and using their materials.
• Quadrangular plan of mosque with a central courtyard surrounded by covered arched aisles.
• Multidomed mosque.
• The buildings consisting of mosque,tombs and victory tower are almost in a ruined and damaged state.
2nd Phase(1340-1430 AD)
• Mosque became larger in size
• Entry not from east but from SE in Adina
• New chapel- badhshah ka takht added in Adina
• Mihrabs were made in great no.
• Mihrabs are slight adaptation of type of niche found at
ancient hindu sites of shrines in bengal.
• Upper part of building was of brick,substructure of façade composed of finely prepared
• Small domes raised over each bay supported by pendentives.These pendentives were
formed of brick built in oversailing courses. Bricks in each course were se diagonally
so that their corners project.
• Adina Mosque was constructed in the 14th century in medieval period by
•The most striking aspect of its construction is the existence of Hindu influence.
•It was constructed after obliterating and super-imposing upon a Hindu construction,
•Whole structure measures
507 ft x 285 ft.
Main entrance through 3
archways at SE corner.
Façade was a rectangular screen
of 50ft x 60 ft
3 bay deep aisle on north, east and south.
5 bay deep aisle on west side. High vaulted sanctuary on the western side.
Open central Courtyard measures 400 ft x 130 ft.
Total 260 pillars within
Screen of 88 arches form a regular façade around the interior.
They are surmounted by a parapet 22 ft in height
Domes one over each bay amounting to 306 in all.
•Plan of adina mosque
•West sanctuary of mosque
Central nave of the sanctuary is in the form of a well proportioned
hall aligned east and west earlier had a barrel vault.
In length it is 70 ft and 34 ft across while height from the
paved floor to ridge of its pointed roof was probably 50 ft.
To the upper storey is a compartment imposed on the northern
aisles of the sanctuary – Badshah-ka- Takht a private chapel for
king and ladies of royal household
Graceful fluted shafts,
expanding lotus capitals
Range of arches
carried by pillars.
Within this royal chapel and all along the inner face of the western wall,
alcoves containing mihrab 32 in no. have been inserted ,one opposite the
center of each bay, all exquisitely designed and sculptured.
The pillars are somewhat short ponderous piers,
abnormally thick, square above and below and
surmount by massive bracket capitals.
Alcoves containing mihrab
Trefoil arch alcove
Recess panelled with hanging
lamp of light motif of islam
3rd Phase(1442-1576 AD)
• Structures were built in more moderate proportions.
• Structures adapted to indeginous conditions observed from the use of vertical and upright
lines and mouldingsthus presenting a naively elementary pattern of rectangles.
• Structures had influence of Soil of the terraqueous and deltaic region of Bengal.
• Climate of bengal was another factor for the change in
style.Curved roof form, no doubt derived from its bent
bamboo predecessor to throw off the excess of water during
the heavy rainy season was adopted.
• Buildings became more elaborated, modified and enlarged
according to their functional requirements.
• Traditional courtyard plan was discarded,closed in or covered hall was adopted sometimes
fronted by an open square due to eavy and incessant rainy seasons.
• Long and somewhat low façade.
• Façade divided by string courses.
• Vaulted ceiling were carved in rich relief decorations
• Octagonal turrets terminating in a finial project at each corner.
• Glazed tiles used in patterns.
• Appearances were more inventive and original.
EKLAKHI TOMB (1425 A.D)
• Built by Sultan Jalal-ud-din Mohammed Shah (A.D 1414-31) in Pandua.
• Situated in south-west of Adina Mosque.
• Important because of three reasons:-
1. It is a structure of marked architectural character in itself.
2. It forms the evolutional landmark as it is the initial building of its kind.
3. It is the prototype of most of the subsequent Islamic architecture of Bengal. Cornice Hemispherical dome Turrets
PLAN EKLAKHI TOMB
• Four stone doorway torn bodily from Hindu temple.
• The Pointed arches with lintels crowning the doorjambs span the doorways, a feature derived from the original Hindu temples through
architectural style of Tuglaq Dynasty.
• Light in the octagonal hall (47ft wide) is being admitted through these doorways as there is no windows or openings in the hall.
• The jambs and the lintels are marked by carved Hindu deities that of the lintel of the southern entrance being the figure of Lord Vishnu, and of
the Jambs those of Dvarpal, a proof of their appropriation from Hindu temples.
• A peculiar feature of the inner spacious room is its four alcoves built at the corners, is often taken as cells for readers of holy Quran.
Eklakhi Tomb Exterior
Terracotta mouldings Moulding on Turrets
The dome (46ft dia) of
this mosque, like all
other domes of the
appears to be covered
with a round rim in
the form of a Harmica
a Buddhist feature. The
hemispherical dome is
in fact very much in the
shape of the domes of
the Great Stupas.
The interior of the dome
was once ornamented
The ornamentation of
the Eklakhi Masjid or
of braced string
mouldings of the
corner towers, a
divider moulding of
the whole external
appearance, and the
cornice mouldings in
three tiers beside the
terracotta plaques in
imitated from the
designs of the Adina
• This impressive gateway built of bricks was probably built by Sultan barbak shah(c.1459-74 AD) in 1465 AD and served as the main
entrance on north into citadel of gaur.
• It was also called ‘Salami gate’ as salutes were fired from its side, built as a triumphal arch
• The gate way represent the height of excellance that the brick masons of Bengal were capable of achieving.
• The archway which is 10.35 m high up to apex of the pointed arch is flanked by pylons.
• The arch way between the two pylons provides a deep and wide practico containing the arched opening
• Intermingling of islamic thought and regional characterstics feactures.
Façade of the gate way measure 73’4”
in breadth and rises to a height of 60’
Pylon like buttress one
on each side of the frontage
Beautiful terracotta ornamentation
as flaming suns,hanging lamps
Rounded bastion at corner
built to taper and surmounted
by rounded cupolas
Vaulted Passage 4.5 m wide through middle.
Gaurd room on each side measuring
22.7 m by 2.9 mentrered through
4 entrances and have 2 exits.
TANTIPARA MASJID (1475 A.D.)
• Probably built by Mirshad Khan in 1475 AD in Gaur.
• The word “tanti” in Bengali means weaver and the mosque must have got its name for a settlement of weavers in the area.
• Five pointed archways connected by string-course of a slighter curve than the cornice above, divides it longitudinally into equal two parts.
• The arches being occupied by an upright panel containing an ornamental arch surrounded by delicate floral patterns, all in terra-cotta
• The interior consists of a fine hall measuring 76ft long and 31ft wide, and is divided into aisles by stone pillars of the square and
chamfered variety originally part of Hindu temple.
• To the East of the mosque are two tombs, which probably contain the remains of Mirshad Khan, who had the mosque built, and his
5 Pointed Archways
Domes 91 feet by 44ft
collapsed in Earthquake.
6 ½ feet thick walls
ARCHWAYS WITH UPRIGHT PANELS FLORAL PATTERN DECORATION TERRACOTTA ORNAMENTAION
a pointed arch,
the usual bell
from a long
• Faced with
• The interior
•Erected possibly by Sultan ‘Yusuf shah’ in 1475 AD.This brick built mosque(damaged) is
resting on stone pillars up to height of springing point of its single dome.
•The verandah in front noted for use of glazed tiles lending a graceful appearances.
•This mosque name is possibly name after the chamkatti community.
•It is single dome square mosque,built of bricks.
•Its interior show stone facing,specially at the lower course.
•The square prayer hall,which measures 7.20m a side internally,
•The method adopted is simple, instead of turning the square into an octagon, they use eight
stone pillars; one at each angle of the octagon and on them rested the arches and the
squinches, which support the dome.
three arched entrances
Large hemispherical dome
covering Hall carried on
squinched and further
supported by stone pillars.
Entrance one each in
north and south
Single mihrab in west wall, which is
gracefully decorated with different types
of floral motifs, chain and well
motifs also noticed.
stone pillars one at
each angle of the octagon
• The Bara Sona Majid (literally, "large golden mosque") was built
in 1526 AD by Sultan Nusrat Shah (r. ca. 1519–1532).
• It is the largest building still standing in Gaur, a ruined city on
the border of India and Bangladesh.
• It sits at the western side of a raised quadrangle, with eleven
arched openings facing an entrance gateway and a lake.
• Gateways to the east and north remain, forming an open
entrance courtyard of 200 ft diameter.
• Forty-four small domes covered the interior.
• The verandah leads to a prayer hall of three by eleven bays. The
mosque is built of brick, faced in plain stone with no carvings .
• Parapet is 20 ft high
Bara sona masjid
West sactuary plan of masjid
Series of 11
Mihrab opposite each bay
a verandah to the
front of the building
Verandah leading to
Interior view of west sanctuary having aisles of arches
General view of entrance courtyard from the south
Elevated view of the ruined musalla, showing
remains of stone pillars that once supported domes
Eastern (interior) wall of the ruined musalla,
with marks of fallen domes
Mosque Two extant
Interior roof of the mosque
•Percy Brown .Indian Architecture: Islamic Period.Kiran book Agency,Delhi.132pp
•www.history of bengal.com Chandraketugarh Exclusive Articles.htm
•www.the Concrete Paparazzi Pandua (Malda) Ruins of a Former Capital.htm
•www.Eklakhi Mausoleum, Malda.htm
•www.Eklakhi Mausoleum Malda West Bengal & It's History.htm
•www.Brick and Bamboo at Bengal by Ashish Nangia.htm
•www.the Concrete Paparazzi Pandua (Malda) Ruins of a Former Capital.htm