DHAKA: A 201-dome mosque in Bangladesh has become the center of attraction for people all around the country. It is built on the bank of the Jhinai River in the Tangail district some 140 km from the capital Dhaka.
The 451-foot minaret of the mosque is the tallest concrete minaret in the world, recognized by Guinness World Records. The minaret is equivalent to the height of a 55-story building. The mosque will hold more than 15,000 devotees at a time. Among the 201 domes, the tallest one is 79-feet high and the surrounding ones are 42-feet high.
Construction work on the mosque began in January 2013 and took more than five years to complete. The organizers have spent about $13 million building the mosque.
The project began when Rafiqul Islam, from South Pathalia village, Gopalpur, Tangail, dreamed of building the mosque at his birthplace. Later he formed the Rafiqul Islam Trust to look after the construction of the mosque. Islam has donated some of his ancestral land for the building of the mosque. At the same time, some of the villagers helped to make Islam’s dream true. Finally the construction of the mosque started on 5 acres of land.
“My village South Pathalia was an unknown place to my countrymen. But now many people from home and abroad come here to witness the beauty of the 201-dome mosque and during every holiday around 10,000 people visit the mosque,” Islam told Arab News.
“It was a dream project for me, which I started with only $20,000. Later on, many of the philanthropists of the country extended support in building the mosque and the construction work was not stopped even for an hour due to lack of funds,” Islam said.
To make the mosque unique, Islam visited many world-famous mosques in the Middle East, from where he developed the primary idea. Later on he shared his experience with a Bangladeshi architect to visualize the design of the mosque.
The 201-dome mosque complex also has a helipad for the convenience of international tourists. In addition, organizers plan to run an orphanage, old people’s home and a charity hospital for women.
The tiles and marbles of the mosque were imported from Italy, Germany, Turkey, Switzerland and China.
“The main attraction of the mosque is 201 domes and the tallest minarets. The domes were designed in line with the sub-continental traditional base of Islamic structures,” said Mrinmoy Adhikary, the lead architect of the mosque.
“The south and north side of the mosque is kept open to have plenty of light and natural air. The design is made in such a way that the devotees can offer prayers even without an artificial air-conditioning system,” Adhikary said.
Sitting inside the mosque, devotees can recite all the verses of the holy Qur’an, which have been inscribed on brass and installed on the mosque wall.
“With the grace of the almighty Allah we have already completed construction work of the mosque. Now the 451-foot concrete minaret is in under construction and we are facing some technical difficulties in building this,” said Islam. “It would be a great support for us if we receive some assistance from any Muslim country for the completion of the minaret,” he said.
Although the mosque can currently hold more than 15,000 devotees at a time, the organizers plan to double capacity to up to 30,000.
Islam, who is also the founder chairman of the mosque trust, said that Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will attend the inaugural ceremony of the mosque next January or February. The grand imam of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah will also attend the inaugural ceremony and lead the first official prayer of the mosque.