When the heritage Thazhathangady mosque opened doors to women for two days

Thazhathangady mosque belonging to Kottayam district of Kerala is one of the oldest mosques of Kerala. This 1300-year old mosque is known for its architecture, wooden carvings apart from its heritage value. Situated on the banks of Meenachil River, this mosque is also known as “Taj Juma Masjid”. Only a fewer mosques are there is India which owns a millennium-old history and Taj Juma Masjid is one such. It’s also known for the fact that its structure and constructions have not been altered too much and enough to be described as a heritage pilgrim place. 

Thazhathangady mosque

In 2016 April, it created another historic moment by opening its doors to women for two days to have a look at the inside of the mosque. Though the mosque broke its 1000-year old tradition, it was an eye-catching moment when thousands of women entered the indoor of mosque, and many old women were weeping. Those who entered the mosque included women more than 90-years old also, who got opportunity to enter the holy mosque for the first time in their life time.

A brief note on the history of the mosque

Centuries ago, Kodungallur near Ernakulam was a major port, and many religions including Christianity, Islam and Judaism entered Indian sub-continent through this port. Hard to believe? Of course it’s true. Now though a port is not found in this major town, now belonging to Thrissur district and historic reminisces are only present, India’s first mosque – Cheraman is found in this town.   
Now back to the topic. 1000 years back, when Islam started flourishing across the world, a ship from Arabia reached Kerala land at Kodungallur port. 22 messengers of Islam headed by Malik Ibnu Dinar put their foot on this land. They built the first Indian mosque – Cheraman in the town where they landed, and later they moved across Kerala and Tamil Nadu preaching the principles of Islam. It’s believed that they built 10 mosques in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. After the temples were built, Malik Ibnu Dinar gave the responsibility of each mosque to his disciples.
Wandering disciples reached Thazhathangady of Kottayam district, a commercial centre then. To build the mosque at Thazhathangady, the rulers of Kodungallur then gave their own architects. Thus very soon a mosque was constructed on the banks of the river Meenachil, by combining Kerala’s architecture and Arabian beliefs. Thus architects who built Kerala homes and temples were behind the construction of the mosque of new religious beliefs also. The construction was so strong that it withstood more than 1000 years, and may be among world’s oldest mosques. Thazhathangady is also known for a famous Christian church and a Siva temple. The mosque was later renovated by rulers of Thekkumkoor which gave importance to beautiful crafts, wordings and sculptures. But its heritage has not lost yet.
In old days, a tributary of Meenachal River flowed in front of the mosque. When the river changed its director, the small stream disappeared. A great example of religious integration, Valiyapally and Cheriyapally of Christians and Thaliyil Mahadeva temple and Thirumala Venkatachalapati temple are situated in the same town. 


Richness of architecture and amazing construction

It’s a two-storied building which stands on 8 pillars. Its architecture and construction is extra-ordinary and stood for many centuries. Its roof and wooden pieces are filled with brilliant carvings. The wall that divides the main hall of the mosque is filled with great wordings of Quran, apart from carvings of hundreds of flowers. Though the walls are 1000 years old made with old construction methods, they are still strong. Sword of Thirumkoor King is also placed inside the mosque.
It’s still amazing to see the bolt of inner door of the mosque. Sundial (Shadow Clock) has been used to know the time and it was fixed long before clocks came into existence. Whole religious ceremonies were conducted on the basis of this shadow clock. A small pond is also present which has water throughout the year. Apart from Muslims, it’s also a destination of tourists who want to see this old mosque which preserves its heritage. 

Other landmarks

There is one water resource inside the mosque, constructed in a single stone. Its construction is amazing. A person who enters the mosque should wash his hands and legs from this water reservoir before moving forward. There is one well inside the mosque. One has to draw water from the well, and pour on a narrow drain, and water reaches this reservoir. It is believed that when a devotee washes his hands and legs before entering the mosque, his sins are also washed off.
In the east side of the mosque, two unknown graves are present. These two graves are separated and believed to belong to those who constructed the mosque. People who visit the mosque read Quran in front of these graves and pray to god for them. The east side of the mosque is also filled with countless graves. Many elder people often express their desire to bury them here, after their death. As per popular belief, soon after the last person leaves the grave by 7 yards, angels reach there who assess the good and bad things done by this person during his lifetime. 

The great positive move breaking all traditions

The mosque known for its religious harmony allows all people to enter, irrespective of their beliefs. That’s why an idea was proposed to grand permission to ladies for two days to see the interior architecture of the mosque. Thus the historic moment occurred on April 25, 2016, and it received good support from activists as well. An announcement was also made to let people know.
Though this move was aimed to give opportunity to women of the town, it received an overwhelming response from across the state, and more than 10,000 women entered the mosque in those two days. Full support was given by men outside the mosque. Ladies were allowed to enter the mosque, except the prayer hours. It was an unforgettable moment to many ladies who spent their lifetime in Thazhathangady and many shed tears in happiness while going inside one of the heritage pilgrim places of Kerala.
Image source: Wikipedia
Also read a few articles related to Kerala Culture, Traditions & Social Life. Here is the page link. Click on the images in the gallery to read


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A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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