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Kusumba Mosque


Kusumba Mosque, Naogaon

Kusumba Mosque is named after the village of Kusumba, under the Manda upazila of Naogaon district, on the west bank of the river Atrai. It is inside a walled enclosure with a monumental gateway that has standing spaces for guards.

It was built during the period of Afghan rule in Bengal under one of the last Suri rulers Ghiyasuddin Bahadur Shah, by one Sulaiman who was probably a high ranking official. The inscription tablet in Arabic (only the word 'built by' is in Persian) dating the building to 966 AH (1558-59 AD) is fixed over its eastern central entrance.

Although built during Suri rule, it is not influenced at all by the earlier Suri architecture of North India, and is well grounded in the Bengal style. The brick building, gently curved cornice, and the engaged octagonal corner towers are typical features.

Kusumba Mosque ground plan

The mosque, presently protected by the Department of Archaeology of Bangladesh, was badly damaged during the earthquake of 1897. Although the main fabric of the building is of brick the entire exterior walls, and the interior up to the arches of the pendentives have stone facing. The columns, platform, floor, and perforated side screens are of stone.

The mosque has a rectangular plan with three bays and two aisles, three entrances on the east and two each on the north and south sides.

Central mihrab of the Kusumba Mosque

The central mihrab is projected in the west. The interior west (qibla) wall has two mihrabs on the floor level opposite the central and southeastern entrances, but the one in the northwestern bay is above a raised platform ascended by a staircase on the east.

The mihrabs have elaborate stone carving. They have cusped arches crowned with kalasa (water pot) motifs, supported on intricately carved stone pillars, which have projections and tasseled decorations hanging from chains. Bunches of grapes and vines curve in an almost serpentine manner on the mihrab frames, and kalasas, tendrils and rosettes are reduced to dots.

The platform edge has grape vine decoration, and there are rosettes on the spandrels of the arches supporting the platform, as well as on the mihrab wall.

The stone used in the exterior facing is of a coarse quality and carved in shallow relief. Mouldings are most prominent decorative feature on the outside. They divide the walls into upper and lower sections, run all along the curved cornice, around the corner towers, in a straight line below the cornice, and frame the rectangular panels in the east, south and north walls. The spandrels of the central entrance arch are filled with small kalasa and rosette motifs. The north and south sides have screened windows. [Perween Hasan]

Bibliography AH Dani, Muslim Architecture in Bengal, Dacca, 1961; CB Asher, Inventory of Key Monuments, in George Michell (ed), Islamic Heritage of Bengal, Paris: UNESCO, 1984.