Star Mosque

Published:  12:06 AM, 12 August 2017

A structural nicety of old Dhaka

A structural nicety of old Dhaka

The historical site of city Star Mosque also known as Tara Masjid, is a mosque located in Armanitola area, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Both inside and outside of the mosque are decorated with mosaic made of small chips of Chinaware-plate, cup etc and pieces of glass. It was built in the first half of the 19th century by Mirza Golam Pir (Mirza Ahmed Jan), as a three domed oblong edifice.

But an over enthusiastic and zealous merchant named Ali Jan Bepari completely remodeled and reconstructed it with extremely delicate and richly colored tiles of variegated patterns. Ali Jan has added the new verandah, that is mentioned in the introduction, on the east and spent lavishly on importing Japanese and English decorated China clay tiles to improve the inner and outer show of the mosque. It is now a five domed structure. In 1987, two domes have been raised on an extension to the northern side without any respect to its antiquity, architectural style and decoration.

Three domes crowned the mosque, the central one being the larger. Towers accented the corners and the façades displayed plastered panel decoration. In early 20th century, Ali Jan Bepari financed its renovation when a front verandah was added. The surface was redone in 'Chini Tikri', a popular broken china decoration.

The mosque is one of the very few examples of exclusive chinitikri mosaic, found in the striking blue star mosaic, which gave the mosque its name Star Mosque. In 1987, the prayer hall was extended by the Department of Architecture to include two more domes. It was decorated with imported china clay tiles and used both methods of applying chinitikri and used solid color, cur clay tiles and formed patterns by placing the colored tiles in white plaster.

The domes and the exterior are covered with different colored star shaped china clay tiles. The upper portion of the eastern façade also incorporates a crescent motif. The work assumed another texture by using assorted glazed tiles on the interior. The three mibrabs and the doorways are decorated with mosaic floral pattern. A plant and vase motif is repeated as a decorative element on the pendantive and the interior of the verandah wall.

A white reflecting pool surrounding a massive white star is stationed in front of the mosque's impressive exterior. Nearly a dozen archways guide travelers and worshipers alike to the stunning white marble domes of this iconic religious structure that is certain to be a highlight of any visit to old Dhaka.

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