Pulpit and Prayer Niche in Transept, Adinah Mosque, Panduah.
Photographer: Ravenshaw, John Henry
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph taken in the 1860s by John Henry Ravenshaw, one of 45 prints in the album 'Gaur: Its Ruins and Inscriptions'. Pandua, near the city of Gaur in the Malda district of Bengal, was a centre of provincial Islamic culture, reaching its apogee when it supplanted Gaur as capital of Bengal from 1342 till the beginning of the 15th century. The Adina Mosque in Pandua, one of the largest in India, was built in c.1375 by Sikandar Shah I (ruled 1358–90). It is of stone up to the imposts of the arches with the upper part of the building composed of brick, a method of construction which became widespread in Bengal. The basalt stone used was taken from earlier Hindu structures and the brickwork was carved and moulded into diverse patterns. Although the mosque is largely in ruins, it is one of the best surviving examples of early Indo-Islamic architecture. It is well-proportioned and with an austere simplicity despite its immensity, and has been compared to the great 8th century mosque at Damascus. On the rear wall of the prayer hall is a beautiful central mihrab (niche), as well as a smaller additional one, and a minbar (pulpit) in stone. A line of additional mihrabs runs along the entire western wall and upper level of the mosque. Both the 32 mihrabs and the minbar have detailing derived from Hindu building traditions: scalloped columns, plinths shaped like lotuses, corbels, trilobate arches, volutes representing leaves, friezes of lotus petals.This view shows a minbar and, to the left, the mihrab (prayer niche).