Bagerhat is district under Khulna Division of Bangladesh. This region is famous for its archaeological richness. The group of architectures helped Bagerhat to be enlisted into UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
On 15th Century, a saint general Khan Jahan Ali founded a Muslim colony near Sundarban area. During the regime of Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud Shah, this affluent city was named as Khalifabad. With the patronage of Sultan, Khan Jahan decorated the entire city with more than a dozen of mosques.
Shat Gambuj Masjid (Sixty domes Mosque) is the most famous mosque among them. It’s construction started in 1442 and ended in 1459.
There is a trick in the name of this mosque. In Bengali, “Shat” means sixty, and “Gambuj” means domes. So, Shat Gambuj Mosque should have exactly sixty domes in its top. But actually seventy seven domes are present on the top of the mosque. Now, studying the internal structure of the mosque more closely we can see that the architecture contains exactly sixty pillars. This can be a reason for the name – Sixty Domes Mosque.
Let’s not think more about its etymology; instead we can focus on the architectural beauty of the mosque.
The Turkey style architecture was made by tempered brick. Seventy seven low domes (seventy of them are rounded domes and seven of them are “Char Chala” domes) are arranged in seven rows of eleven each. Four domes are on the top of four low towers (minar) positioned on four corners.
The interior has a vast prayer hall with eleven arched doorways on east, seven each on north and south. May be they have been placed for ventilation. Sixty pillars have divided the interior into eleven deep bays. There is a cool and comfortable atmosphere inside the mosque that may be due to the unusual thickness of the wall.
There are ten “Mihrabs” inside the mosque, the central one was built by stone; a special doorway had been built in “Qibla”.
Shat Gambuj Masjid is located at Khulna-Bagerhat Road and can be reached by rail, car or bus from Khulna and Jessore. Nearest airport is in Jessore.