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Mariam Saleha Mosque


Mariam Saleha Mosque a three-domed Mughal mosque in the Nilkhet-Babupara area of Dhaka city. The mosque has been much repaired and extended twice in the east with masonry coverings. A Persian inscription still fixed over the central doorway records its construction by one Mariam Saleha in 1706.

Built of brick with plaster, the mosque is oblong in plan having an outside measurement of 13.72m ' 6.71m. The four corner towers of the building are octagonal up to the parapet level and then onwards circular with fluted cupolas on the top. The eastern facade is pierced with three arched-doorways, all opening out under half-domes and containing multi-cuspings in their outer faces. The central doorway is set in a projected fronton bounded by octagonal slender turrets. Each of the north and south walls is also pierced with a single archway, now closed with iron grilles. The qibla wall has in the inside three semi-octagonal mihrabs in axis of the three eastern doorways. The central mihrab is bigger and projected on the outside having an ornamental turret on either side. The interior of the mosque is an elongated hall having three divisions-the central one square and the side ones rectangular.

Over the roof the mosque has three slightly bulbous domes on octagonal drums, of which the central one is the largest. The systems applied for supporting these domes are exactly the same as in the lalbagh fort mosque. The eastern facade of the building is richly ornamented with sunken rectangular panels in the usual Mughal fashion. The octagonal drums below the domes and the horizontal parapets are faced with rows of blind merlons. Moulded bands at regular intervals divide the corner towers.

All the mihrabs have multi-cusped arches. Only the central mihrab is now contained with a rectangular frame, the frame being topped over by a frieze of blind crestings. Each of the north and south walls has internally at either end an elongated sunken panel, the upper part of which is arched of plain four centred type. All the domes were crowned by lotus with kalasa finials and had basal ornamentation in the inside. At present only the apex of the central dome contains a full-blown tiered rosette. The mosque is typical of the late 17th century Mughal mosques of Bengal. [MA Bari]