To promote harmony among all faiths the historic Jama Masjid Aiwan-E-Begumpet popularly known as the Spanish Mosque in Hyderabad will open its doors to the public this Independence Day on August 15. The mosque known for its Spanish and Turkish architecture is maintained by the Paigahs, an aristocratic family.
This would be the first time the 112-year-old mosque, built in 1906, will be opening its doors to the public from all faiths. The visiting hours on August 15 will be between 10 am and 7 pm. An interactive guided tour is being arranged for visitors and people can seek clarifications about the mosque's history and Islam.
The initiative is part of the 'Visit My Mosque' programme that was first launched in the United Kingdom as an effort to stem rising Islamophobia.
âWe invite people from all religions to attend the âVisit My Mosqueâ programme. This initiative promotes national integrity and communal harmony and it is an opportunity to meet, share and experience the values and culture of the Indian Muslim community,â M A Faiz Khan, a member of the Paigah family and âmutavalliâ (caretaker) of the mosque told Press Trust of India (PTI)
The mosque was commissioned by the Paigah noble Viqar-ul Umera after his European tour of 1887 during which he was inspired by the Moorish architecture of Spain, it was completed by his successor. The mosque had received the Intach Heritage Award in 2010.
âIn todayâs world, there are a lot of misconceptions about Islam. Unfortunately, barriers are being created and so we would like to undo that and bring people together. This is to promote brotherhood and all are welcome,â said Khan. Apart from feeling the structural beauty of the monument, the patrons of the mosque want the people to know what actually happens inside the mosque, he added.
âPeople can share a good time, discuss out the things and feel good about it especially on our Independence Day. Presently this programme is for one day,â said Khan.
The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Telangana, co-convenor P Anuradha Reddy told PTI that the mosque was distinctive in more than one way.
The mosqueâs design incorporated Turkish elements, including Turkish calligraphy which decorated its interiors, said Reddy.
Describing it as a fascinating architectural gem of the city, she said the mosque has a fairy-tale appearance with unique minarets and a matching dome.
On âSpanish Mosqueâ opening to all faiths on Independence Day, Reddy said âIt is a good idea... People of all communities can learn about each other. It is a happy thing for other people to go and recognise itâs beautyâ.