Armanitola Mosque

Armanitola Mosque stands a little away to the east of the well-known star mosque in the Armanitola locality of old Dhaka. The building has suffered much due to a series of repair and extension works in the early 1980s. A double-storeyed masonry veranda has been added in the east. On the outside, along the north wall of the mosque, are built two small rooms, now being used by the Imam of the mosque. In spite of all these changes the mosque still preserves its original layout and the chau-chala vaulted roof.

Ground Plan, Armanitola Mosque

This is a small mosque, oblong in plan (5.49m by 3.05m) and built entirely of brick with plaster; the walls are 0.91m thick. The building is without the usual corner towers and can be entered into only from the east through three arched doorways. The central doorway, bigger than the side ones, opens out under a half-domed vault - so common a feature of the Mughal monuments of Bengal and elsewhere. This doorway is kept within a projected fronton. In the axis of this central doorway there is a mihrab inside the qibla wall, which, though now remodelled and made almost semi-circular, must have been originally semi-octagonal in design, like those of other Mughal mosques. The mihrab shows a rectangular projection outside.  

The entire building is covered with a single chau-chala vaulted roof, which rests directly on the four walls. The roof is crowned with three lotus finials - one at either end and the other in the centre of the central horizontal ridge. The cornices and parapets are horizontal in the Mughal fashion.

The mosque is now completely devoid of its original ornamentation and is now covered with plaster and white washed. The only mihrab is adorned with pieces of modern cut tiles of China.

There was a Persian inscription over the central doorway, now preserved in the office of the Department of Archaeology, Bangladesh. The inscription records its construction in 1716 AD by one Ahmad during the reign of Emperor Farrukh Siyar. AH Dani and AKM Zakaria gave its construction date as 1735.

With its oblong plan and a single chau-chala vaulted roof the Armanitola mosque seems to be a successor of the churihatta mosque (1650) of old Dhaka. [MA Bari]