Centuries Old Mosque In Srinagar Gets A Face Lift

15 March 2009

Srinagar: Renovation work at the centuries old Mosque of Akhund Mulla (also referred as Akhoon Mulla) at Srinagar in Kashmir is underway to restore the old grandeur of the monument. The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has taken the responsibility to restore life in the much-neglected heritage. Akhund Mulla is said to be a mosque within a mosque. The main sanctuary is a separate and detached building, placed within a courtyard surrounding the mosque. Built in Circa 1049 by Dara Shikoh, son of the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, to honour his tutor Akhun Mulla Shah, the little mosque is a grey limestone structure, located just below the Makhdum Sahib mosque. The stone lotus erected over the podium is the only model of its type existing in Kashmir and has an inscription dated back to 1649. The main feature of the mosque is the specially constructed prayer chamber. This mosque had also Islamic library, Hostel facilities and Hamam (Royal bathroom). ‘It is a very big project that we have undertaken. The monument is very big, very old and in a very bad state. But thankfully, it can be restored. We would restore it in a manner that the historical significance is maintained,’ said Saleem Beig, INTACH head of Kashmir. Even the locals feel that attention should be paid to such monuments, which are a reflection of the heritage and culture of the region. The Kashmiri students as well as students from across the country at the time of emperor Shah Jahan used to come to Kashmir for Islamic studies. ‘It feels really sad when we see this kind of degradation taking place. No one is paying any attention to these monuments. The government says a lot but what is required is that work should also be done. Monuments like this are our heritage,’ said Mohammad Sayed, a local resident. With the INTACH taking this project, the locals of the area have hailed this decision.