Past Splendor of the Chhota Sona Mosque
The sun once bounced off the domes of the Chhota Sona Mosque, lighting up the brilliance of the mosque by casting its warm rays onto the gold covered rooftop. It was a symbol of faith and of worship, and though its exterior has lost its magnificence, the mosque remains a breathtaking monument to a time ruled by Sultan Husain Shah and the Sultanate architecture that was left behind from a period in the history of Bangladesh that was once ruled by Sultans.
The Chhota Sona Mosque, also referred to as the Small Golden Mosque as its name suggests, is believed to be built between 1494 and 1519 during the years of Sultan Husain Shah’s rule. Even though the exact date of construction is no longer visible, the Sultan’s name can still be seen, and the date of construction is therefore derived from the time he was in power and ordered the building of the Small Golden Mosque.
The gold on the domes no longer exists, but the building itself is still impressive and a favorite attraction for tourists visiting Bangladesh. Fifteen domes adorn the roof of the building, with four corner towers bringing together the rectangular structure. The mosque was erected in brick and black stone and the difference in materials can be clearly seen at the start of the domes, as the transition from one material to another is visible at this point. A wall was constructed around the mosque as a form of protection, but only the gateway remains today and barbed wire has replaced the mighty walls. During the 1897 earthquake, the mosque suffered structural damage, causing most of the stone facings that once covered the west wall of the southern side of the mosque to be lost forever. Repairs and renovations have been done in recent years to preserve the mosque, but mere modern duplications have replaced the glory of the original work.
Stone pillars divide the north and south side of the interior of the mosque, and each side has been divided to produce fifteen different units. The royal gallery is located in the northwestern side of the mosque and has a mirhab. It is said that the western wall of the Small Golden Mosque would have been the most beautiful element in its day, with mirabs and semi-circular mirabs decorating the wall. Some of the intricate and patiently hand carved designs can be seen in places, allowing the imagination to add color to this wonderful building.
As an attraction in Bangladesh, the Chhota Sona Mosque is worth the visit. Located approximately three kilometers from Kotwali Darwaza, the mosque is one of the most preserved monuments of its time, and a reminder to the architectural genius that allowed buildings such as the mosque to be constructed.