Sixty Dome Mosque in Bagerhat

Among the many surviving monuments of the Khan Jahan Ali style, undoubtedly the most magnificent and largest brick mosque in Bangladesh is the Shait Gombuj. It is situated in Bagerhat district. For outstanding architectural value. the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO inscribed Bagerhat in the World Heritage list and it got the status of the second World Heritage site in Bangladesh after Paharpur. As there were a great number of mosques, the Historian, a French monthly termed it a city of mosques. The earliest torchbearer of Islam in the south, Khan Jahan Ali came from Delhi to settle a Muslim colony in this swampland in the early-15th century AD. The natural beauty of the region had such an effect upon him that he spent the rest of his life there. History says that he constructed about 360 mosques and as many freshwater tanks, as well as palaces, mausoleums and other public buildings in a very short space of time.

Out of today's surviving mosques, the Shait Gombuj Mosque is the most magnificent and certainly the largest brick mosque surviving in Bangladesh. Its name, meaning '60 domes', is misleading as in reality, it is roofed over with 77 small domes supported by a forest of slender columns covering a large prayer hall and giving it the appearance of a medieval church crypt. At sunrise when the rays of the sun penetrate the eastern entrances, the interior comes to life. There is little adornment to this building other than the carved stone decoration to the central mihrab at the western end of the prayer hall. The exterior facades, with slightly 'battered' walls, have discernible curving cornices a concession to the local style.

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