Located at the crossing of Zakariya Street and Rabindra Sarani, former Chitpur Road, amid the hustle and bustle and din and chaos of a crowded area of Calcutta, Nakhoda Mosque rises impressively above the bustling shopfronts of its neighbouring commercial establishments as the largest mosque in the city, and the centre of festive action every evening during the holy month of Ramadan.
Originally, it was a small mosque, and it was only in 1926 that the present structure of the mosque was erected under the patronage of Abdur Rahim Osman, a shipping magnate and a leader of the Kutchi Memon Jama'at, a small community of the Sunni Muslim from Kutch, in western India. The foundation stone was laid on the 11th day of September 1926, and was completed in the same year, at a total cost of Indian Rupee 1,500,000. As he was a shipper, Abdur Rahim Osman named the mosque Nakhoda, which stands for the English word mariner.
The Nakhoda Mosque was built with superior quality of granites, brought from Tolepor. The amazing architecture of the Nakhoda Mosque in Calcutta seems to be influenced by the structure of Akbar’s tomb at Sikandra, which is a masterpiece of Indo-Saracenic architecture. However, the main entrance of the mosque, made of red sandstone, has striking a resemblance to Buland Darwaza of Fatehpur Sikri.
The tall and majestic façade of the mosque is adorned with three green domes, blue windows, and huge walls painted in terracotta red. Adding more grandeur to the mosque's exteriors, there are the two 151 feet high minarets, accompanied by 25 smaller minarets rising 100 to 117 feet high in the sky. While the spacious courtyard contains a central well called 'Ablution Pool', for washing before prayer, the prayer hall is big enough with the capacity to accommodate around 10000 people at a time.
The inside of the Nakhoda Mosque is simply amazing with superb exhibition of exquisite ornamentation and artistic extravaganza. Attractive green shades on the pillars and marble on the floors give it a dignified and solemn look. Huge chandeliers with multi-coloured glass, turquoise blue bulbs, and mirror balls in the ornamented arches enhance the exquisiteness of the mosque. A small exhibition is held inside the mosque at regular intervals where interested persons can find junk jewelry and other interesting items.
The Nakhoda Mosque, the largest and the principal mosque in Calcutta, is administered by a board of trustees.