Over 500 km from Chennai, this small town houses a Dravidian mosque

One of those who made Kilakarai his home was a wealthy merchant Shaikh Abdul Qadir, who is believed to have commissioned the mosque.

On the East Coast of India, around 560 km south of Chennai is a sleepy small town known as Kilakarai. Predominantly populated by the Indian Moors, a community of Arab, Tamil, Malay, and Sinhala ancestory, this nondescript town would have been a footnote in history, if not for its prized possession – a Dravidian Mosque.

Subhan Bakery - Instagram Commercial

The Kilakarai Juma Masjid is the crowning jewel of this ancient town, not only for its history but also for its unique architectural heritage.

Employing the regional Dravidian architectural style reserved for ancient South Indian temples, the builders of the mosque have left a magnificent testimony to the true harmony of faiths and cultures.

MS Education Academy

A symbol of devotion carved in stone, the edifice also speaks of the great workmanship of the local craftsmen.

Once a center for trade and commerce, Kilakarai attracted merchants and sailors from far and wide, many of whom settled down in the warm environs of the town.

History of the mosque:

One of those who made Kilakarai his home was a wealthy merchant Shaikh Abdul Qadir, who is believed to have commissioned the mosque.

Venerated as a saint and a philanthropist, not much is documented about the nobleman, who is fondly known as Seedi Qadir among the locals.

According to the Qadhi of Kilakarai, Dr. Kader Baksh Makhdoomi, Seedi Qadir built this grand mosque during the later half of the 17th century.

The local legend has it that the current structure was built in place of a more than a 1,000-year-old mosque.

The Qadhi says that Seedi Qadir was a high-ranking administrator of Bengal during the reign of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

A generous builder, Seedi Qadir built several religious and secular structures on the East Coast, after settling down in the region. His contributions to the heritage of the region include the Ramnath Palace he built for the local raja in the nearby district capital of Ramanathapuram.

According to Dr. Makhdoomi, Seedi Qadir died in Kilakarai in the late 17th century and was buried on the premises of the Kilakarai Juma Masjid. His tomb is venerated and visited by the locals for blessings.

Subscribe us on The Siasat Daily - Google News

Shafaat Shahbandari

Shafaat Shahbandari is a story-teller, journalist and poet. Writing to make a difference and giving new meaning to the written word is his undying passion. As a writer, he likes giving voice to the voiceless, telling stories of people who are making a difference to our world quietly. As a journalist, Shafaat has worked in India and the UAE in an eventful career of almost 20 years, including an eight year stint as a Senior Reporter with the Arab world's leading English daily, Gulf News. His work has taken him to different parts of Asia and Africa. Currently based in Bengaluru, he is the founder of Thousand Shades of India, an alternative media platform that celebrates the diversity of India through documentaries and photo essays and long reads.
Back to top button