A Visit To A Historical Place/Building (Kherua Mosque)

Kherua Mosque (Bengali: খেরুয়া মসজিদ) is one of the earliest Mughal mosques founded in Bengal, and it is an archeological site of great significance in Bangladesh. The mosque, which has survived for about 435 years, is located at Khandaker Tola Mahalla in Sherpur Upazila Sadar, 20 km south of Bogra district, Bangladesh. It was built at a time when the period of the Sultani was coming to an end and the age of Mughal had just set in. Thanks to the large four-cornered minaret and thick walls the mosque survives. The brick carvings deteriorated, and the lime-surkey coating slipped off. The thin red brick walls made of lime-surki are 1.61 m wide. The three domes of the Kherua Mosque stand on the roof. According to the inscription found within the mosque, it had been built by Nawab Mirza Murad Khan, son of Jawahar Ali Khan Kakshal, in 1582 AD (989 Hijri). The tip of the 16th century AD is thought to be a tumultuous period within the history of Bengal thanks to anti-Mughal resistance spearheaded by the Bara Bhuiyans. During this era, the region, mentioned as ‘Sherpur Morcha’ in Ain-i Akbari by Abul Fazal, was the stronghold of the Kakshal rebels. They expressed solidarity with the bara bhuiyans of Bengal and also the Afghan leader Masum Khan Kabuli. In reality, the Kherua mosque was built to serve the community. A degree of neglect is evident in the design and ornamentation of the mosque, as it was constructed when a political crisis was going on. The naming of the Kherua Mosque isn’t clear. Abul Kalam Mohammad Zakaria mentions in his book Archaeological Heritage of Bangladesh that no history of Kherua of this mosque has been found. There’s no word for Kherua in Arabic or Persian. However, there’s a word in Persian called ‘Khayer Gah’. Which implies ‘inside a place’. When Raja Mansingh was the subaddar of Bengal, he built a fort at Sherpur. This fort not exists. However, if the mosque is made inside the Sherpur fort, then the name Kherua is also derived from ‘Khair Gah’.

From north to south, the Kherua Mosque is 17.34 meters long while from west to east, 7.5 meters wide. The interior dimensions are 13.72 meters long and 3.8 meters tall. The walls are roughly 1.83 m thick. The mosque has three passages on the east, of which the focal one is greater than the two on its sides. Likewise, there is a section on each side on the north and the south. Inside the mosque, on the west divider, there are three half-barrel shaped inward mihrabs inside a rectangular casing. The one in the middle is larger than the other two and all three lack any ornamentation. The upper portion is at the sultanate of pre-Mughal. Four wide minarets at the four corners, just outside the walls. Three 3 on the rooftop; a semi-roundabout arch with a width of 61 meters. The molding is bended like a bow. The beautification of the curve formed boards arranged on its floor. Kherua mosque has three arches in succession, which appear as though three dishes of the same size put topsy turvy. There is no theme or ornamentation on the vaults. Before the mosque is a rectangular field secured with green grass. Columns of palm, coconut, mango, and Kadam trees along the edge of the mosque. One side also features seasonal flowering plants. The entire courtyard is surrounded by brick walls with iron railings. About 59 percent of the total volume. Usually, no one joins during prayers except the worshipers. The courtyard is therefore secluded, and very tidy. There was some terracotta tile ornamentation, which is no longer there now. There were two inscriptions engraved on the 2 sides of the central entrance. One inscription remains there while the opposite is being preserved within the Karachi Museum. From the form of the stone used for the inscription, it’s assumed that the piece was a part of a statue; and therefore the inscription was inscribed on the backside of the statue and placed on the wall. Kherua Mosque as an example of early Mughal mosques in Bengal demands great importance. Inside this ancient mosque, daily prayers are offered. In addition, the mosque’s atmosphere is fine, as the mosque’s boundary wall was designed by the Department of Archeology.