The Sidi Saiyyed Mosque is one of the most well known mosques in India and undoubtedly a place of architectural significance. Located in the bustling area of the city, it provides a peaceful and shady shelter to the devotees and curious tourists. For an avid architecture lover, the main attraction of the mosque lies within the arched windows with exquisite stone carvings. Although the stone latticework, or Jaali, is widely found throughout India as part of the architectural design for historical buildings and modern structures, the carvings of the Sidi Saiyyed Mosque are truly unique. The most masterful one, known as the ”Tree of Life”, has become an unofficial symbol of Ahmedabad and is really a joy to lay one’s eyes upon.
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Architectural style of the Sidi Saiyyed Mosque
The Sidi Saiyyed Mosque is a fine example of an Indo-Islamic architectural style. The structure is built with yellow sandstone, like many other monuments in the region. On the sides of the structure there used to be two minarets, but at the moment one can see only the base of each of them.
Unlike the Jami Mosque with its grandeur, the Sidi Saiyyed Masjid is fairly simple and small in size. The arched windows with stone latticework are placed on the back wall. The window in the center of the back wall was left unfinished due to the invasion of the Mughals to the Gujarat Sultanate during the construction of the structure. In front of the mosque there is a small ablution pond, providing a cosy nook to sit nearby and behold the architectural marvel.
History of the Sidi Saiyyed Mosque
The monument was built in the end of the 16th century. The construction was interrupted when the Mughal leaders took over the region after defeating the last Gujarat Sultanate. That’s why the window in the center, which was supposedly intended to be the most magnificent one, was left without the stone carvings.The design of the structure is attributed to Sidi Saiyyed, an Abyssinian by birth who served Sultan Nasir-ud-Din Madmud III. According to the historical records, 45 artisans worked laboriously in order to finish the jaali in timely manner. During the British rule the monument serves as a governmental building. These days the mosque is recognised for its historic value and architectural splendour.
The Sidi Saiyyed Mosque travel tips
- Visiting the Sidi Saiyyed Mosque can be easily combined with exploring other monuments of the area – Tin Darwaza and Jama Masjid.
- The best time to visit Ahmedabad and other cities in Gujarat is October to March, when it’s not too hot.
- Women are not allowed inside the prayer hall. I was not aware of that, thinking that being modestly dressed and having my head covered was sufficient. So I actually entered the mosque, observed it in detail and took photos. There was hardly anyone there, so my presence was not interfering as such. The caretakers kindly let me finish and then said to my brother-in-law (the only man in our group) that women are actually not allowed inside. So if you’re a female visitor, you can take pictures of the jaalis from the front of the mosque, without entering the hall. Alternatively, go behind the structure for clearer photos.
- It’s a place of worship, so treat it with sensitivity when taking photographs.
- The monument opens early in the morning and closes late in the evening. Visiting the structure is free of charge.
- Avoid visiting on Fridays during the mass prayers.
- Across the road from the mosque, there is New Lucky Restaurant. Visit this restaurant for an unforgettable experience, and I don’t mean only food 🙂
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