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Muchundi Mosque in Calicut is one of the oldest mosques in Kerala dating back to the 13th century AD. The secular social atmosphere of the region encouraged the development of many religions and religious buildings and monuments in the region. The Muchundi Mosque is a fine example of this peaceful social milieu during the time when the ruler Zamorin encouraged and helped whichever religious institution that needed help. Situated in the heart of medieval Calicut, in Kuttichira the Muchundi Mosque represents the artistic and archeological excellence and the peaceful amity that existed during the 13th and 14th Century AD in the region.
Muchundi Mosque or Muchundipalli as it is called in Malayalam was built in Circa 13th Century. There are a lot of stories relating to the name “Muchundi” and also regarding who built it. While the inscriptions on the walls state that the land around the mosque was donated by the rulers of the region called Zamorins who were Hindus themselves but supported all religions including Islam equally, yet the actual builder of the mosque is unknown.
Some say that some Arab merchant that had a similar name to Muchundi could have built it, it is also said that a Muslim slave donated his life’s earnings to build the mosque and in return got freedom in return, explaining that the word Muchundi is similar to a Jain word which means freedom.
There is also another explanation which states that the word Muchundi is similar to Muchanti which means that which is located at a junction where three streets meet. Since Muchundi mosque is actually located at a junction of three roads, this also seems to be a possibility as to how the name was derived.
The mosque is mainly made out of timber and stands on a elevated platform of 1. 5 metres. The roof is two-tiered and has an ornate gable, there is also a decorative carved wooden ceiling. The many pillars that lend support are also carved with intricate carvings of flowers, animals and people. the whole structure and more importantly the artistic decorations and embellishments show a marked influence of Hindu temple Architecture prevalent during the time.
There are also inscriptions of the Holy Quran on the walls and pillars and a mihrab or pulpit of the imam that is half-round in shape. The land on which the mosque was built and the surrounding area was donated by the rulers, Zamorins. There is a stone slab with inscriptions on it in Arabic and old Malayalam script called Vattezhuthu which confirms this postulation. This stone slab inscription in two languages called the Muchundi Inscription also speaks of a slave called Shihabuddin who donated his lifetime earnings to build the mosque on the land given by the king.
How to Reach
Kozhikode is well connected by Air, Rail and Road and by sea route to the rest of the country and also the world.
The Calicut International Airport has flights mainly from the Persian Gulf countries such as Dubai coming in. Domestic connections to all major cities are also available from Calicut Airport. Kochi or Cochin which is about 170 Kms and Chennai also have international airports and are well connected to Kozhikode. From any of these airports, pre-paid taxi service as well as bus service is available.
Kozhikode is a main railway Junction of the Southern Railways and has innumerable trains from all major cities and towns from all over India. Superfast and high class trains also stop at Kozhikode.
Kozhikode is well connected by road to the rest of the country with state highways and national highways such as the NH17 , NH213 passing through or near the city. Buses ply from cities and towns around and within the city bus, taxi and riksha are the common means of public transport.
The Muchundi Inscriptions hold a lot of importance to historians to understand the social, political and religious atmosphere that prevailed in the Malabar Region in the 13th and 14th century.
The Muchundi mosque is also associated with the famous scholar and writer Shaikh Zainuddin Makdoom II who wrote the history of Islam in the Malabar region in a book called Tuhafat-ul-Mujahidin sitting in the mosque. He also taught his students in the mosque.