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Dakshineswar Kali Temple Burmese Buddhist Temple
Tipu Sultan Shahi Mosque - Shrines of Calcutta
657    Dibyendu Banerjee    20/02/2021

The Tipu Sultan Shahi Mosque, popularly known as Tipu Sultan Masjid, located in the heart of the city of Calcutta at 187 Lenin Sarni, is regarded as a relic of the architectural and cultural heritage of the city. The mosque, constructed in 1832 by Prince Ghulam Mohammed, the youngest son of Tipu Sultan, is one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture in the city.

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Tipu Sultan, born Fateh Ali Sahab Tipu in 1750 and later came to be known as the Tiger of Mysore, was an implacable enemy and a formidable opponent to the imperialistic ambitions of the British East India Company. He sparked the conflict with his attack on British allied Travancore in 1789. Unfortunately, he was defeated in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War by the imperial forces of the British East India Company, supported by the Marathas, and was captured while defending his fort of Serigapatnam. After that, he was unethically and unceremoniously killed by the British on 4 May 1799. Seven years after his death, his entire family, including his fourteenth son, Prince Gholam Mohammad, was deported to Calcutta in 1806 and was bundled into the mud huts on a marshy area, locally known as Russa Pugla, named after a Sufi Pir. Subsequently, it was renamed Tollygunge, after Colonel William Tolly.

tipu sultan shahi mosque

Depending on the stipends from the British, the exiled family gradually settled down in a growing Calcutta and prospered, mainly due to the diligence and versatility of Prince Gholam Mohammad. Soon, he built a large estate that included the present-day Tollygunge Club, also known as Tolly Club (Ref –Tolly Club) and the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (Ref - the Royal Calcutta Golf Club). He then purchased a plot of land in the central area of the city and built the Tipu Sultan Shahi Masjid in 1832, at the junction of CR Avenue and Dharmatala Street, later renamed Lenin Sarani, dedicated to the memory of his father. A decade later, he built the twin of that Masjid in Tollygunge, near his estate, at the crossing of Prince Anwar Shah Road and Deshpran Sasmal Road.

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The double-aisled Mosque bearing the footprints of Tipu Sultan and adorned with multiple domes and tall corner towers covers an area of 14,531 sq feet (1350 sq m). The spires over the domes, the minarets, the arches, and the elaborate carvings on the façade gave the mosque an impressive graceful look. The big checkered courtyard with the capacity to accommodate 1000 people at a time, looks almost like a massive, enclosed chessboard, while the roof over the courtyard is supported on several simplistic narrow pillars. People from all sections of the society, irrespective of religion, are allowed to visit the holy place without any restriction.

tipu sultan shahi mosque
The Checkered Courtyard

Tipu Sultan Shahi Masjid is run by the royal trust of the royal family, which is under the property of Ghulam Mohammad and managed by the two Imams of the mosque.Due to the digging and construction works of Metro Railway in the Esplanade area, Tipu Sultan Masjid was damaged in the early 1980s.

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However, the damage was repaired subsequently, with the joint effort of the Masjid Protection & Welfare Committee and the Metro Railways.

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Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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