Cheraman Juma Masjid - The Restoration of Oldest Mosque in India
February 4, 2023 at 6:30:00 AM
The Journal of the Indian Institute of Architects featured the Cheraman Masjid as their Design Feature for the December 2022 issue. It covers the entire story of the mosque, from its legendary origin to its conservation and addition.
The oldest mosque in India, Cheraman Juma Masjid, is located in Kodungallur, Kerala, and was conserved as part of the Muziris Heritage Project by Benny Kuriakose and Associates. In addition to remodelling the original mosque, a new underground mosque that can accommodate much more is now being built. The lost spirit of the Islamic architecture that previously dominated the area was successfully restored via conservation. Elements such as the vilakku, or oil lamp, are the essence of eclecticism present in the mosque.
The conservation delved into a deep study on the origins of Islamic architecture in Kerala. The mosques in Kerala were slowly imitating the Persian architecture of North India. Bringing back the sloped timber roof of Kerala’s vernacular architecture restored not just the mosque but also the structure’s significance and history. Similarly, the project raised several questions that are interesting to explore, such as the need for an additional mosque to accommodate the community, either as a separate structure or a basement, where the committee opted for the latter.