About 50 yards away from Alakuri’s Mosque lies the famous Satgumbad Mosque (pl. 44.1&44.2). It stands on the northern edge of a swampy pool, which formerly constituted the course of Buriganga river, now receded farther back to a mile distance. [Now it is further away.] During the rains, on approaching in a boat along the river, the white plastered mosque presents a picturesque view. Tradition ascribes the building of this mosque to Nawab Shaista Khan, and the graceful style that permeates through it suggests that it must have been constructed by about A.D. 1680.
Satgumbad Mosque Dhaka
Satgumbad Mosque Dhaka
A small modern gateway leads into the mosque compound. The mosque is an oblong structure, measuring 58’ long by 27’ wide externally, with hollow octagonal towers, 12’ wide, instead of the usual minars at each of the four corners. These towers are of two storeys, each story having arched panels and windows, surmounted with chhajja, and are crowned by domes with lotus finials. The main facade has three entrances with four-centred arches, the middle entrance slightly larger than the others, all under higher arches with angular half domes. The central high arch is multicusped, while the flanking ones have cusped ornament applied to their outer faces. The central opening is seen in a slightly projecting bay and bordered by circular ornamental minarets. The whole facade is panelled with niches, and is topped by a battlemented cresting, above a band of modern blue colouring. A similar cresting caps the two stages of the corner towers. The roof is covered with three domes which, with the four domes over the towers, give the name Satgumbad (locally pronounced Satgumbaz), “seven domed” to the building. The domes – central one larger than the others – have a basal course of merlons, and terminate in lotus finials. Internally they are carried on pendentives, and as, on the outside, have a basal course of petals. On the west there are three mihrabs, one in each bay ornamented with applied cuspings.
By the side of compound gate, on the right, is a modern grave of some faqir, who died about thirty years ago. Recently another grave of the former Mutawalli has been added. About 100 yards to the north-east from this mosque are the ruins of two brick-built tombs, which had formerly “basalt doorframes and marble Jails,” but now both the structures have fallen to the ground. Au lad Hasan notes the popular tradition that here lie buried two daughters of Shaista Khan.
Beyond the Satgumbad mosque stretches the wide expanse of the Buriganga, which affords nice game birds in the rains and winter. A boat-trip onward gives the most pleasurable diversion that one can have in Dhaka.