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Located in Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh State of India, Toli Masjid is an excellent specimen of Muslim architecture. The Toli Masjid, also called Damri Masjid has been declared as a protected Heritage Site by ASI or Archeological Survey of India. INTACH or Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage has recognized the architectural and artistic value of this national monument and has awarded it with the Heritage Award. Among the many historical monuments that dot the landscape of Hyderabad, Toli Masjid stands proudly in its exquisite beauty and splendor.
Toli Masjid was built during the reign of Abdullah Qutb Shah, Sultan of Golconda by his Mahaldar or Chamberlain; Mir Musa Khan in 1671, only a year before the sovereign’s death. The royal architects of the Qutb Shah dynasty drew the intricate plans and built this mosque which is recognized by stalwarts as the premium example of Indo-Islamic Qutb- Shahi architecture.
It has been found in royal records of the Golconda Empire that the architect was paid a “damri” to every rupee spent on building the mosque; where one rupee was equivalent to 320 damris. Hence the name Damri Masjid that was in colloquial use.
Toli Masjid built in the 17th century during the rule of Abdullah Qutub Shah is known for its architectural splendor. The royal architect s of the Sultan and the architect of Mecca Masjid built this elegant mosque on a elevated platform and had a high plinth that raised the mosque to a height. The main building had two large halls; one inner and the other outer hall which opened out with five ornate arches, the central arch being larger, broader and more decorative than the other four. The two tall minarets or towers on either side were over 65 ft. tall. The minarets from where the call for prayer was given, has three tiers of galleries that are shaped like the octagon. The central tier is supported by elaborately carved moldings and designs. The exterior of the shafts of the minarets are carved with different rounded patterns. The main building has a dome shaped roof that has a brass ornament on top the building is decorated in stucco where fine plaster was used for covering the surface of all walls with architectural decorations.
The parapet had many smaller arches each one decorated with different carved designs. Over the parapet are small indentations that have finials or ornamentation at the top of the roof. The prayer hall has inscriptions that mention the role of Musa Khan in the building of the mosque. Basalt and granite has been extensively used in the building as well as the carved decorative parts of the masjid.
The Toli Masjid is considered one of the best examples of Indo-Islamic architecture that prevailed in the Qutub Shahi era. The superior workmanship of the artisans in the different areas of the mosque has to be seen to be admired and embodies the cultural and artistic heritage of the monument
Unfortunately, this splendid monument has suffered because of the vagaries of nature and people who have vandalized the building and encroached upon the land surrounding the mosque. Although declared as a protected monument by the ASI and INTACH, the deterioration of the mosque continues.
How to Reach
Toli Masjid is only 2 kms from Golconda Fort. The Fort is about 12 kms from Hyderabad city and is accessible by bus, taxi or private car all available from Hyderabad. It is barely a 30- 35 mins. Journey from Hyderabad
The nearest railhead is Secunderabad, the twin city of Hyderabad which is connected by rail to all the major cities of India and towns of Andhra Pradesh
Hyderabad has an airport that serves both domestic and international air traffic. You can hire a taxi from the airport or from the hotel of the tourists.
The best season to visit Hyderabad is between November and February when the weather is pleasant. The summer months of April, May and June are hot with maximum temperatures of 44 to 46 degrees Celsius and a low of 30 degrees Celsius. The rainy season is from June to September when it is hot and humid.
There are so many places of historical, cultural and architectural significance in and around Hyderabad and tourists never miss on the architectural splendors of Toli Masjid as Golconda Fort which is on every visitor’s agenda is only 2 kms away.