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Home » Monuments In Kashmir » Madin Sahib Mosque And Tomb In Kashmir

Madin Sahib Mosque And Tomb In Kashmir

Madin Sahib Mosque And Tomb In Kashmir

Madin Sahib Mosque And Tomb In Kashmir

Among the pre-Mughal Muslim buildings of Kashmir, one of the most prominent is the mosque of Madin Sahib at Zadibal. It is also interesting as it shows to perfection the way in which the early Muslims used the materials of the Hindu temples. The group of buildings at Vitsarnag and a number of others strewn about the city belong to this series.
The base is square and is built entirely of materials belonging to a plinth of a mediaeval temple. Even the arrangement of courses is identical with that of the ordinary temple base. The superstructure consists of four walls, adorned externally with trefoiled brick niches. The upper foil is pointed, but in the case of the doorway it is ogee-shaped. The corner pilasters of the walls as well as pilasters of the niches stand upon bases, and are surmounted by capitals which are purely Hindu in style. The spandrels of the arches of the niches are decorated with beautiful tracery work. Their entablature is distinctly Hindu. The cornice over the walls is composed of half a dozen courses of wood, the most prominent feature of which is the double series of dentils and metopes, the latter bearing delicate open-work carving. Above these are the eaves, which are adorned with a row of wooden tongues projecting downwards. The chamber is covered by a pyramidal earth and birch-bark roof overgrown with a jungle of white and blue irises. On the apex of the pyramid was the spire, the only remnants of which that exist are a single long upright pole and a few pieces of timber. The entrance to the mosque is, of course, through the east wall. The wooden doorway is elaborately carved, and is flanked by two fluted stone columns originally belonging to the adjoining Hindu ruins. The interior is plain. The ceiling of khatamband (thin pieces of wood worked into geometrical patterns) is supported on four multi-sided wooden columns.

To the north of the mosque is the tomb of the saint. In ancient times it must have presented a brilliant spectacle, as its entire wall surface was decorated with glazed tiles, most of which have unfortunately been removed and sold out of Kashmir. A few fragments are preserved in the Pratap Singh Museum, Srinagar. The left spandrel of the entrance arch was adorned with a very well executed representation of a beast with the body of a leopard, changing at the neck into the trunk of a human being, shooting apparently with a bow and arrow at its own tail, while a fox is quietly looking on among flowers and " cloud-forms." The "cloud-forms " are common in Chinese and Persian art. The principal beast in the picture is about 4 feet long, and strikes quite an heraldic attitude. The human chest, shoulders, and head are unfortunately missing. The tail ends in a kind of dragon's head. As for the colours, the background is blue, the trunk of the man is red, the leopard's body is yellow with light green spots, the dragon's head and the fox are reddish-brown, the flowers are of various colours. Besides the spandrels there is more tile-work in the building. The jambs of the archway are lined with squares, many of which have fallen out and been put back in the wrong place. None of these is of any special interest, except that they show that tile-work was used on masonry buildings in Kashmir before Mughal days. There is, however, an interesting narrow border above the dado on the east facade representing a flowing floral pattern interwoven with the heads of donkeys and lions.

Both the tomb and the mosque were built in memory of the same person, and the inscription on the lintel of the entrance of the mosque records the date of its erection as A.H. 888 (A.D. 1483) in the reign of Zain-ul-abidin. The tomb may have been built a few years later, though it is not impossible that it was built at the same time as the mosque, for among Muslims the practice of building tombs during the lifetime of their future occupants is not uncommon.

Around these two structures, and on the way between them and the Sangin Darwaza of the fort, there are numerous Hindu remains, all of which have grievously suffered at the hands of the iconoclast. Many of them have been converted into mosques, though even these latter have now fallen into desuetude.

 

 
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