Caravanserai
Bisutun, Iran
South of the walled city of Gaur are the ruins of Dhunichak mosque. Only the west and north wall remain standing with only the foundations left of the east and south walls. The mosque derives its name from its locality which was inhabited by dhanchak (cotton carders), hence Dhanchak or Dhunichak masjid. Stylistically the mosque belongs to the Ilyas Shahi period though no inscription has been found to substantiate this.

The mosque is of brick and measures 44'-8" x 29'-2" with 5'-6" thick walls. The interior was divided by basalt pillars into two aisles of three bays each corresponding to the three entrance archways. The west wall has carved brick designs interspersed with exquisitely carved stone pilasters of Hindu workmanship and three richly ornamented mihrabs with floral and geometric patterns, the central one being most prominent. The mihrabs are encapsulated within rectangular frames that are bordered with bands of molding and creeper/arabesque motifs. The spandrels over the cusped arches are beautifully decorated with terra cotta tree motifs intertwined with terra cotta rosettes within its branches.

Due to the advance state of ruin, we cannot discern the exact number of domes. The mosque could have been surmounted by six domes based on an assumption that it was probably constructed in the late fifteenth or early sixteenth century when six bayed mosques like the mosque of Baba Adam at Rampal (1483) were popular.

In the revised list of the Ancient Monuments of Bengal 1886 it is described in the following terms: "An old front of this mosque with 33 columns is now existing. The inner ornamentation comprises carved and colored bricks". Therefore it is thought to follow the rectangular plan already seen in the Tantipara mosque. Hence the mosque probably had 3 domes. It is possible to have been covered by a single dome. However, if we assert it was a multi-domed mosque then it is the only example of a single aisled multi-domed mosque in Gaur and also in Bengal. It is also hard to determine whether there was a verandah in the eastern front of the mosque.



Sources:
Asher, Catherine B. 1984. Inventory of Key Monuments. Art and Archaeology Research Papers: The Islamic Heritage of Bengal. Paris: UNESCO, 72.

Hasan, Syed Mahmudul. 1980. Muslim Monuments of Bangladesh. Dhaka: Islamic Foundation, 119,120.

Ahmed, Nazimuddin. 1984. Discover the monuments of Bangladesh. Dhaka: University Press Limited, 149.
Location
Bisutun, Iran
Images & Videos
Associated Collections
Events
1681-85/1091-95 AH
Style Periods
1501-1722
Variant Names
Caravanserai
Safavid Bazar-i Bistutun
Alternate
Shaikh Ali Khan caravanserai
Alternate
Building Usages
caravanserai
commercial