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Of the two known Qadam Rasuls from Murshidabad one is attached to a mosque known as the Qadam Sharif Mosque, the emphasis needless to say is on the Qadam Rasul from which is the appellation. The Qadam Sharif Mosque was erected in 1780­ 81 by one Basant Ali Khan who was ‘the chief eunuch of Mir Jafar and subsequently of his wife Munni Begum’. The present foot print housed in the Qadam Rasul is a copy of the original one reported to have been brought from Gaur by Nawab Sirajuddoula but returned afterward by Mir Jafar. The interior of this Qadam Rasul is almost identical with that of the Qadam Rasul at Gaur. The square chamber inside containing the relic is surrounded by a 10 ft wide verandad and surmounted by a small bulbous dome. The entire structure is altogether a modest building not comparable to the grand one at Gaur.

The second Qadam Rasul, lying between the palace and the imambara of 1847, is generally known as the ‘Madina’. This building, however, does not contain a foot­ print but earth ‘carried from the Karbala in Mecca’. This is a Qadam Rasul in the sense that it homes the earth trodded by the Prophet, and has almost the same significance as the stone trodded by him. Nawab Sirajuddoula is said to have put the first basket of sacred earth into the foundations. The structure a beautiful pavilion-like square building surmounted by a bulbous dome is Mughal in appearance but with a Bijapur influence on the roof cornice and the four guldestas flanking the dome. The over­ crowded lotus-petals on the base of the dome also speak of a similar connection. The wide eaves above the verandah is Mughal, but the slender stone-pillars carrying it and the tall doorways with planks make it a Colonial structure– a mixture of Indo- European styles initiated in the 18th century.

3.2.4 The Idgah at Dhaka

Idgah is an open space, generally a higher ground, for performing Id prayers in congregation. It’s origin is uncertain, but the idea might have been taken from the prayer led by the Prophet at Quba in an open space. The musallahs in Iran were probably of the same nature. It’s use is particularly noticed in Indian Sub-continent including Bengal where the congregation is huge, not accomodable in mosques



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Dhaka: The Idgah (1640)

generally small because of the climatic condition. Historically the reference of an Idgah is rare, and in the sense the present Idgah is used constitutes one of the rare examples of it’s kind. In modern times Idgahs are say in Bangladesh, raised on demarcated land, fronted occasionally with an arched gate corresponding to the built- in mihrab on the qibla side with a mimbar at it’s north.

The Idgah at Dhaka was erected on the northern side of the old city now on the side of the Satmasjid Road in Road No. 15 of Dhanmondi Residential Area. It was built by Mir Abul Qasim, described as Dewan of Shah Shuja and also as chief architect, in 1640 CE. It was raised an a land about one meter high and consisted of a curtain wall ‘on all the sides enclosing an area 245´ long by 137´ wide’. The qibla wall is about 4m high with a central semi-octagonal mibrab flanked by three others on the sides. The central mihrab is higher and larger than the side ones which all face with stilted four-centred arch decorated with multifoil cuspings. Above them was a running horizontal cornice-moulding topped by a battlemented parapet, symbolic of a Mughal building. The walls have been renovated giving now the impression of a modern building with colored plasterings over. The enclosure is used nowadays as an Id congregation place during the dry season.



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