Historic Bengal architecture -The Asian Age

Darasbari Mosque is a great example of the Sultanate period architecture of Bangladesh. This mosque was the 3rd largest mosque in Gaur, the ancient capital of great Bengal.  

It is located in Shibganj Upazila of Chapai Nawabganj District, Bangladesh. It is situated about one kilometer to the south-west Kotwali Gate and about half kilometer to the west of the Chhota Sona mosque. 

The name Darasbari is derived from its being located within a darsbari (place of lesson or learning), pointing to the madrasa to the east of the mosque, separated by a large tank, forming a typical Muslim educational complex. According to its inscription, which is now preserved in the Indian Museum at Calcutta, Shamsuddin Abul Muzaffar Yusuf Shah built the mosque in 1479 AD.

The mosque consists of two parts - a verandah in front in the east and the main prayer chamber to its west, the whole being divided longitudinally by a wide nave running east west. 

The roof of the prayer chamber consisted of three chauchala vaults over the nave - the middle one larger than the others - and nine inverted tumbler-shaped domes over each side of the nave, making eighteen in all.

An important feature of the mosque was the existence of a royal gallery (often erroneously described as a ladies gallery) in the northwest corner of the hall, approached from outside through a stared platform protected by armed guards at the entrance. It was this gallery, which marked this mosque, like several others in the city, as the Friday Congregational Mosque (Masjid-i-Juma). 

There was a gate to the north of the mosque, now reduced to debris. The mosque was strengthened in the corners by octagonal towers - those of the east now ruined, keeping only the traces to a certain height. The ornamentation of the mosque was of most sumptuous character. 

The outside walls were patterned with vertical offset and inset designs with terracotta panels dominated by hanging motifs on their faces. The inside was patterned with brick settings noticed on the face of the arches and pendentives within. 

The ornamentation of the mihrabs, set against each of the bays, consisting of engrailed arches with frames of terracotta creepers, foliage, rosettes, spread out plants and hangings motifs are some of the finest specimens of this kind of decoration from Gaur-Lakhnauti. 

These terracotta's are finer than other examples and appear to have been coated with a little glaze to make them look different and attractive. The walls extant to the west and south sides are now mostly the result of restoration work, which obliterated the original terracotta designs.