A 17th-century mosque in India’s historic city of Hyderabad, which is said to have been built with granite and bricks brought from Mecca in Saudi Arabia, is undergoing restoration to restore its pristine glory.
The Makkah Masjid stands meters away from the city’s defining landmark, the Charminar. The restoration is being done to conserve the mosque’s splendid structure. Chandeliers from the high roof have been fully wrapped using pieces of cloth while the tall minarets of the mosque has been covered with scaffolding.
A team from Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) started the restoration work more than a year ago and it is likely to take some more time to complete. The ASI had last worked on Makkah Masjid in 2007 under a special arrangement since 1956.
According to Telangana Tourism, “The construction of Makkah mosque started in the year 1614 by Sultan Muhammad Qutb Shah and it was Aurangzeb who completed it in 1693. The mosque has a length of 225 feet and is 180 feet wide with a height of 75 feet. The roof is rested on 15 arches.”
The mosque has two huge octagonal columns, created from a single piece of granite and topped by an arched gallery crowned by a dome. The mosque can accommodate 10,000 worshipers at any time. It is believed that bricks used for its construction where also brought from Makkah.
It is said that the fifth Sultan of Qutb Shahi dynasty, Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, was a great patron of art and culture.
Makkah Masjid was under construction when renowned French traveler of the 17th-century, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, traveled to Hyderabad. “It is about 50 years since they began to build a splendid pagoda in the town which will be the grandest in all India when it is completed.”
Qutb Shah is known to have personally laid the foundation stone of the mosque, while 8,000 workers were part of its construction. The three arched facades were carved out of a single piece of granite, which took five years to quarry.
Every year before the commencement of Ramadan, authorities set in process annual maintenance work to provide a facelift to the mosque. However, the ongoing work is a major exercise and is expected to beautify the mosque as well.
The people Hyderabad are hoping that the work will get completed sooner than later.
[First written by Aftab Hussain Kola for Al-Arabiya]