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Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh has the unique distinction of housing a number of historical and religious monuments; the Spanish Mosque is one of them. The Spanish Mosque so called because it resembles in architectural style the Cathedral Mosque of Cardoba in Spain. Some features of the mosque are also a reflection of the Jama Masjid in Gulbarga, Karnataka. The local names of this mosque are Masjid Iqbal Ud Daula as it was built by Nawab Iqbal Ud Daula and Aiwan E Begumpet since it is located in Begumpet in Hyderabad.
The Spanish Mosque has been declared as a heritage site by the Archeological Survey of India (AS) I and is under active consideration for enlisting in Asia Pacific Merit by UNESCO
The Spanish Mosque was conceived and built by Nawab Iqbal Ud Daula, a Paigah Nawabs who built other buildings of architectural eminence in Hyderabad. After a visit to Spain, where he saw the Cathedral Mosque of Cardoba, the Nawab came back with great inspiration and wanted to build a similar edifice. The Spanish Mosque bears a strong resemblance to the Spanish Mosque in Cardoba both on the exterior and the interiors. Some aspects of the Jama Masjid in Gulbarga, Karnataka were also copied. The mosque was completed in 1906.
The Spanish Mosque was built on the large 340 acres of land owned by the Paigah nobility where other beautiful buildings also exist. As Spain was ruled for a considerable time by the Umayyad Caliphate, there are a great many mosques in the country and the Cathedral Mosque of Cardoba is among the most prominent amongst them. It is a huge mosque that can hold upto 3000 people at a time and is a landmark of the Secunderabad- Hyderabad Muslim community.
The mosque is built of stone and lime mortar upto the level of the basement and plinth and over that with brick work in lime. The roof which is of jack-arch type is supported by iron girders. There are many spires, turrets and domes which are built with brick and lime mortar with a big dome in the centre.
The architecture has strong Moorish influence which is evident from the arches in the main hall for prayer. There are many features on the exterior and the interior which bear a resemblance to the Cathedral Mosque of Cardoba. There are inscriptions from the Holy Quran on the inner walls done with fine calligraphy.
It is not like all other mosques as there is neither water tank for ablutions nor a central courtyard. The mosque has two rooms in front of the main prayer hall with a corridor between the rooms to enter the prayer hall. An octagon shaped dome is over this corridor, the absence of minarets and round domes and the spires and octagonal domes give a very church like look to the mosque.
On the huge 340 acres property belonging to the Paigah noble family stands the Spanish Mosque and other exquisite buildings belonging to the nobility. Many of these buildings have been now taken by Government agencies.
The Paigah Nawab, Nawabs Iqbal Ud Daula is considered a great visionary and builder and has a proclivity to build exclusive and remarkable buildings is evident from another building that he has built; his magnificent Falaknuma Palace built atop a hill. Other palaces belonging to the Paigah noble family with influences of European architecture are Iqbal-Ud-Daula palace, Nazir Nawaz Jung’s Devdi, Vikhar Manzil and the building which is now the US Embassy.
How to Reach
Hyderabad is the capital of Andhra Pradesh and has an International Airport called Rajiv Gandhi International Airport which is 22 Kms from the main city of Hyderabad connecting Hyderabad to the rest of the world. Hyderabad also has good connectivity by rail and road
The International and Domestic Terminals at Hyderabad Airport bring visitors from the world and most cities and towns of India that are on the country’s air map.
The main railhead is at Secunderabad which is Hyderabad’s twin city. All important trains stop here and connect Hyderabad to the rest of the country.
The network of State Highways and National Highways such as NH 7, NH 9, NH 17, and NH 207 either pass through the city or on its periphery. Excellent road conditions make driving through a pleasure. For local travelling bus services, taxi and auto rickshaw are available.
The Spanish Mosque was an immaculate white till recently but now it has been changed to a light green colour.
Some time ago cracks were seen on the spires and arches of the Spanish mosque due to alleged which is more than a 100 years old caused by some blasts that were carried out in the vicinity of the heritage monument. Now it is seen that no construction is allowed near the site of this heritage monument protected by ASI.