Centuries-old mosques in crying need for renovation
Two ancient mosques in Delduar upazila of Tangail lie in a shabby state due to lack of maintenance and are in crying need for immediate renovation.
Of the two, the over four-century-old Atia Mosque is enlisted as an archaeological site by the government’s Department of Archaeology, while the 182-year-old Sawdagori Mosque is not enlisted yet.
According to the Department of Archaeology, Zamindar Syed Khan Panee built the Atia Mosque beside the Louhajang river in 1609. The Atia Mosque was badly damaged in a strong earthquake in 1800. Over the period of time, it was renovated in phases by different zaminders and merchants in this region.
Later in 1978, the archaeology department took over the responsibility of Atia Mosque, and then the photo of the mosque was featured on the Tk 10 currency note in 1996 by the government.
Its nearby Sawdagori Mosque was built by Rowshan Khatun Chowdhurani, a female merchant from Delhi, in 1837.
Local officials of the Department of Archaeology said they might initiate renovation works of the Atia Mosque next near, but they would not do anything for the Sawdagori Mosque yet as it is not enlisted by the department.
During a recent visit, this correspondent saw the beautiful structure of Atia Mosque with intricate terracotta patterns has become faded while ornamental plaques on the walls have worn away.
Several cracks were also seen to have developed on the roof of the mosque, said Farid Ahmed, who has been performing as Imam of the mosque for the last 16 years.
Prayers are still being held at the Atia Mosque while visitors also come to witness its archaeological heritage, Imam Farid Ahmed also said.
Although the mosque was partially repaired in 2000 and cleaned in 2010, more repair work is urgently required, he added.
On the other hand, the Sawdagori Mosque has been found abandoned and almost damaged. No prayers are held in the mosque anymore and the site is hardly visited by anyone.
Abdul Aziz, superintendent of adjacent Hazrat Shahan Shah Dakhil Madrasa, said the south-east brick pillar of the Sawdagori Mosque has already been damaged few years ago, while the north-east side of the mosque may collapse any moment.
The madrasa committee has submitted an application to the upazila administration for taking necessary measures for protecting the ancient mosque, he added.
Contacted, Rakhi Roy, regional director of the Department of Archaeology, said she along with an engineer and other officials of the district administration visited the Atia Mosque several months ago. After examining it, they found that the condition of Atia Mosque was not as bad as what the local people think.
“Nevertheless, the ancient Atia Mosque needs some renovation and the works may be initiated next year,” she said.
“However, we have nothing to do for the other mosque (Sawdagori Mosque) for now as it is not enlisted with the department yet,” she added.
In last one decade, The Daily Star ran stories on the tattered condition of Atia Mosque three times in 2008, 2010 and 2015. But the authorities concerned is yet to take any major step to renovate the mosque to bring it back to its former glory.