THRISSUR:In a move aimed at nurturing inter-faith harmony and communal amity, the Cheraman Juma Masjid authorities will seek the support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to renovate the historic Masjid, considered as the first and oldest one in the country, in line with the ancient Hindu architecture which existed in Kerala during the time of ancient Chera rulers.
The decision was taken after the Prime Minister gifted His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud a gold-plated replica of the Cheraman Juma Masjid. Recently, the state government had approved the project proposal of the mosque authorities to renovate it by retaining its original Kerala traditional style of architecture and adorn the walls of the museum of the mosque with mural paintings similar to temple murals.
Speaking to ‘Express’, Dr Mohammed Syed, president of Cherman Mosque Committee, said the faithful here were a happy lot when they heard the news about the Prime Minister gifting Saudi King a gold-plated replica of Cheraman Juma Masjid. “In fact the PMO has not contacted the mosque authorities in connection with the development and we are happy to know that the mosque has played a part in injecting fresh momentum into the bilateral trade ties between the two countries,” he said.“The mosque authorities said they were planning to hold a fund-raising tour to the Middle East by September as it is estimated that the project would cost around Rs 30 crore. Though the renovation project is being planned under Muzaris Heritage project, a large sum of fund for the project has to be raised by the mosque committee. And the new development gives a fresh hope and we decided to seek the support of the Prime Minister to complete the ambitious project,” they said.
The mosque, which is considered to be more than 1400 year-old, was reconstructed three times earlier without altering its central portion comprising the pulpit as part of reinforcing the old structure and accommodating more faithful. As per the new plan, the mosque will be renovated in the line of 14th centaury structure by demolishing the recently constructed annexure. The plan comprises an underground chamber with a plinth area of around 10,000 sq ft which provides ample space for 6,000 faithful to offer prayer at a time. The most attracting part of the renovation plan is that the walls of the museum situated adjacent to the mosque will be adorned with mural painting depicting the history of the mosque and the ancient civilization around the region.
The mosque situated near Kodungallur has also touching similarities with the ancient Hindu culture in the region and the architecture prevalent in the state during the time of Chera rulers. The mosque was a double-storey structure with sloping tiled roof similar to the old buildings in Kerala.
The original structure of the mosque did not have minarets. Besides, there is a big oil lamp inside the mosque which is believed to be more than a 1,000 years old, and it had been burning without break until recently and people of all faiths used to bring oil for the lamp as an offering, underlining its secular moorings.