With a prayer hall the size of an indoor stadium (capacity for 10000 people), two large Ablution Pools and Three high Domes – The Nakhoda Masjid , standing at one of Central Kolkata’s oldest neighborhoods – the Chitpur Area of Burrabazar business district, rightfully earns it’s place as the Principal and the largest mosque in Kolkata.
It is also a prime tourist attraction in Kolkata owing to its sheer size and magnificent architecture.
As you enter the masjid/mosque you are bound to be astounded by the vastness of the structure. The 2 Ablution Pools located few steps from the main gate add a beautiful dynamism to the overall ambiance.
The open roofs over the pools provide a great view of the below structures as well as augmenting it’s beauty as the sun’s rays shines onto the pool and reflect against the ceiling.
As you take the stairs to the upper prayer hall, colorful stained glass doors and windows welcome you. Across the vast hall you can find people completing their daily religious rituals, in complete peace with themselves.
During the times of the namaz or azan, large gatherings of people can be seen, synchronously performing the rituals.
During the festive seasons, a huge crowd gathers at this place to celebrate, pray and share greetings.
The place outside the Masjid gets filled with make-shift stalls catering the to the various gastronomic delicacies like Biriyani, Haleem(a special dish made of wheat, barley, meat , lentils and spices), Kababs, Vermicilli (Shevi or Shemai), dried fruits, Sheermal ( Big round breads ), Rooh Afza(A red syrup usually of rose flavor) as well as gift items like Attar (perfume), Caps etc.
On a concluding note, a shot while approaching the Masjid- Standing tall in all its magnificent brilliance among the cluttered, harmonically cacophonous and vibrant city – my City Kolkata – the City of Joy.
Unlike many temples or religious places where photography is restricted, there is no such things here. But its extremely important to maintain the calmness and peace that this place offers and so probably the best idea to photograph this place would be a lone visit or in a very small group.
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