Katra Mosque

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India >> West Bengal >> Murshidabad >> Attractions >> Katra Mosque

Katra Mosque

History

The Katra Mosque is located 3km to the east of Murshidabad; a historical city located some 200 kms from the capital city of Kolkata. The mosque was built by Nawab Murshid Quli Khan between the years 1723 and 1724 and was an important centre for Islamic learning. The mosque was almost completely destroyed in the earthquake of 1897.

The word ‘Katra’ means a market and the name was given to the mosque owing to the fact that the place had a large market around the mosque during that time. It is believed that the Katra Mosque was built as a copy of Kartalab Khan's mosque located in Dhaka, built in 1700-1704 AD. The mosque is also the final resting place of Nawab Murshid Quli Khan who lies buried in a tomb under the 14 flight of steps leading to the courtyard.

The main gate leads to a giant courtyard which was used for reading the Namaz and could hold up to 2000 Namaz readers. Beyond the courtyard is the main mosque. The mosque had a big central dome surrounded by two domes on each side. The central dome and its adjacent ones fell during the earthquake leaving the place in ruins but even then the space under the fallen domes was used as Madarsas (Islamic centres for learning). Each of the domes had three Mihrabs that are semi-circular niches in the wall pointing towards the Kabba in Mecca. The Mosque was built on a square plinth and is surrounded by a row of double storied domed cells which could accommodate 700 Quran readers at any given time. The Mosque when built had 4 octagonal minarets 70 feet in height with winding steps leading to the top but two were destroyed in the earthquake. The minarets have small loopholes which were used for musketry against any approaching danger. Even though destroyed, they still have glimpses of magnificence that were once associated with them.

The mosque has two Persian inscriptions; one above the central mihrab and another over the central entrance in the eastern façade with the former praising Prophet Muhammad and the latter revealing the date of construction as 1137 AH (1724-25 AD).

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Murshidabad is during winters i.e. the months of October to February. These months provide a respite from the hot and humid climate Murshidabad has throughout the year. The temperature during winters rarely goes above 20 degrees.The summer months last form March to July and are extremely hot and humid with temperatures lying in the high 30’s. It is better to avoid visiting the place during this time.

Trivia

It is believed that the construction of the mosque was entrusted to Farash Khan who was envious of the Hindus, and built the mosque from the materials collected by destroying Hindu temples.

Timing

The Katra Mosque is open to visitors on all days. The timings to visit the mosque are from 5:00 am to 6:00 pm.


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