Thursday, January 2, 2014

Safa Masjid Survives

 Prologue : Enroute to Mulki from Panjim on a Christmas day we were blessed to visit all the religious monuments of Goa.  Imagine visiting Mount Mary Church on the hillock, than Augustine tower at Old Goa, Mangueshi Temple at Ponda and Safa Mosque at Ponda on the bye pass towards Belgaum.  The caretaker appointed by the ASI revealed there were more than 27 mosques and other monuments which were destroyed by Portuguese during the inquisition from 1560 to 1812.  More than the Muslims, temples belonging to Hindus were destroyed without a trace of their existence.  It can be safely assumed that more than 200 temples were destroyed which were vestiges of Kadamba and Vijaynagar Empire.  Surprisingly Safa Mosque was constructed in 1560 when the inquisition just began survived.  The caretaker told me it survived because it was located in midst of a forest.  I just used my logical thinking to surmise probably it was because of Portuguese this wonderful mosque survived.  After chasing out the Muslims probably Portuguese higher ranking officials occupied the mosque and used it as a guest house by creating an outpost.  This theory is deduced by the fact that this mosque is located just 16 kms away from Old Goa which was the seat of Portuguese reign.  In all likelihood it was occupied in 1759 when the plague struck old Goa, when there was exodus of the population in all directions
Safa Shahouri Masjid is located just on the highway leading towards Belguam with a small deviation inside the the main road.  The premises is currently a protected monument under the ASI jurisdiction.  It has been beautifully landscaped and resurrected into a wonderful monument of historic importance.

Currently the Immam offers prayers in the mehrab and in the masjid at regular intervals.  The caretaker was kind enough to open the doors and give me a glimpse of the interiors of the Masjid without expecting any money. 

The next discovery was that of the much touted Adil Shah’s Palace, he showed me a calendar containing the pictures of Islamic structures currently existing.  It was an amazing discovery therefore i was tempted to photograph the same for posterity. 

The architecture of the tank is the main attraction in this premises.  The tank is almost the size of two basket ball courts.  Each side has 6 to 8 chambers with water being sourced from a spring nearby.  The purity of water can be gauzed from the fact that the residents draw water from the tank for their domestic use currently.

Overall photographs or videograph may not give an idea of this wonderful monument, one should experience the beauty of the resurrected premises by ASI in order to appreciate its conception.  Thank you Portuguese for preserving this monument for posterity.
Ack:  Outlook Traveller, Wikipedia and Original surmise

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