Bakht Binat’s Mosque

Bakht Binat's Mosque is situated in the eastern part of old Dhaka and is located by the side of an old bridge (known as Hayat Bepari's Bridge) in Narinda. The square single-domed mosque measures internally 3.66m a side and is covered with a hemispherical dome which rests directly on the roof. Its walls are 1.83m thick. There are three arched entrances, one each in the middle of the east, north, and south sides. The single mihrab has a projection at the back of the west wall. It originally appears to have been unplastered with four octagonal corner towers and curved battlements. Repeated restoration and subsequent additions in the mosque have entirely changed its outward appearance. The earlier parapet was straightened, another domed room was erected to its south and a verandah was added on the east and south. The terracotta decoration is not traceable because of repeated thick plastering.

According to an inscription, Musammat Bakht Binat, daughter of Marhamat, built the mosque in the year 861 AH (1456-57 AD). The inscription does not refer to any ruler, but the date 861 AH suggests that it was erected during the time of Sultan nasiruddin mahmud shah (1435-1459 AD). In all probability, the inscription of Bakht Binat's Mosque is the earliest Muslim inscription visible in Dhaka city.

Though renovated and extended, pre-Mughal sultanate features are quite perceptible in the mosque. It is evident that indiscriminate alterations done to most sultanate monuments have deprived them of their identity and beauty. Nevertheless, Bakht Binat's Mosque has endured at the cost of its dignity and originality. The curved cornice and battlements that distinguish the mosque are still visible in the qibla side. The north and west facades and the first dome represent its sultanate character. Bakht Binat's Mosque is possibly the earliest surviving Muslim building in Dhaka. [Ayesha Begum]