Goaldi Mosque: A little known pre-Mughal mosque in Sonargaon

Goaldi Mosque is one of the few remaining architectures from the medieval Sonargaon when it was the capital of eastern Bengal. Constructed on a suburb of the old capital, this elegant little single-dome mosque is a must-visiting sight to know the heritage of Sonargaon.

Sonargaon, 27 km east of Dhaka, was the mint capital of the Muslim rulers of Eastern Bengal from 1296 to 1608. It was the center of power and commerce in this region during that time. Goaldi Mosque is located in a village named Goaldi in Sonargaon, just half a mile northeast of the abandoned city of wealthy Hindu merchants – Panam Nagar.

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Photo of Goaldi Mosque in Sonargaon

Goaldi Mosque in old capital Sonargaon. © Photo Credit: Raw Hasan.

The Construction of Goaldi Mosque

Goaldi Mosque was built by Hizabar Akbar Khan during the reign of Sultan Hussain Shah, in 1519. He was probably a high official under Sultan Hussain Shah. Building this mosque on the outskirt of Sonargaon township proves that it was a populous area at that time.

Probably there was an office or residence of a high official of Sultan Hussain Shah in Goaldi. It is said that Hussain Shah set his camp near Goaldi village and stayed here for a long time during his campaign again Assam and Tripura, located just on the other side of the Meghna River.

This elegant little pre-Mughal mosque – the oldest in the area – was in utter ruins when declared ‘protected’ by the Department of Archaeology. It was literally hidden behind bushes when it was discovered and subsequently was carefully restored in 1975.

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Photo of the ornate front wall of Goaldi Mosque in Sonargaon

The ornate front wall of Goaldi Mosque in Sonargaon. © Photo Credit: Raw Hasan.

The Architecture of Goaldi Mosque

Goaldi Mosque is a singled-domed mosque. This beautiful mosque is more elegant and ornate in comparison to the earlier Sultanate mosques at Bagerhat. Provided with three arched entrances to the edifice on the east and one each on the north and the south (now bricked up) the base of the dome rests on squinch arches at the four corners which support the dome on pendentives.

It is a graceful little mosque measuring 16 sq feet with three richly carved mihrabs. Of the three mihrabs, the central one is beautifully embellished with carved floral and arabesque relief on black stone, while the side ones are decorated similarly but in brick and fine terracotta work. Below that the spandrels of the multi-cusped arch of the mihrab are decorated within a rectangular frame.

The interior of Goaldi Mosque in Sonargaon

The interior of Goaldi Mosque in Sonargaon. © Photo Credit: Tony Eales.

The engrailed arched recess is carried on stunted octagonal pillars faceted at stages. Four round banded turrets at the outer corners rise up to the curvilinear cornice. Miniature arches with terracotta designs are placed below the cornice and above the entrance arches.

Round corner turrets that rise up to the cornice and have two moldings at the center and triple moldings at the base, just above which are more terracotta arches.

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Photo of terracotta ornamentation at the wall of Goaldi Mosque

Terracotta ornamentation at the wallof Goaldi Mosque. © Photo Credit: Raw Hasan.

Goaldi Mosque Opening Times

Goaldi Mosque is always open. You can visit it any time you wish.

Goaldi Mosque Entree Fee

There is no entry fee for anyone to visit Goaldi Mosque.

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Photo of an ornate corner turret on Goaldi Mosque

An ornate corner turret on Goaldi Mosque. © Photo Credit: Raw Hasan.

How to go Goaldi Mosque

To visit Goaldi Mosque, take the road west from the 2nd gate of the Folk Arts Museum, go half a mile until Goaldi Bazar More, and turn right. It is better if you take a rickshaw or an auto-rickshaw. It will take you directly to the mosque.

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Have you ever visited Goaldi Mosque? How fascinating have you found it? Have I missed something here? Share your thoughts and experience with us in the comments.

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