Goa - the picturesque coastal state in South India is not only about beaches and churches. The place has a rich cultural heritage where people from different religions and races lead a harmonious life. Despite the majority being from the Christian community, there are various mosques in Goa, some of which are the oldest in the history of India.
Given below is a list of some of the famous mosques in Goa that deserve a must-visit especially during the holy occasion of Eid:
1. Jama Masjid, Sanguem, Goa
The popular Jama Masjid of Goa is located in Sanguem, South Goa. It is easily accessible by road and located at a distance of 56.5 km from Panjim Kadamba Bus Terminus, 24.2 km from Margao Railway Station, and 53.4 km from Vasco Da Gama Railway Station.
It is one of the few mosques, which is held in high regard by Goan citizens. The old structure of the mosque was completely renovated in the year 1959. The new structure is truly an architectural beauty. The center of the Jama Masjid consists of a Dome-shaped structure that is surrounded by four minarets. The entrance of the mosque has two towers surmounted with pillared kiosks.
The mosque witnesses a huge flock of visitors throughout the year and is very active during festivals especially during Eid when the devotees gather to celebrate the festival with great zeal and enthusiasm.
2. Safa Mosque, Goa
The historic Safa Mosque is also known by the name Safa Shahouri Mosque, which is located at about 2km from the center of Ponda, Goa. This mesmerizing piece of Islamic monument is a fusion of Indo-Islamic style, which was built during the 16th century in 1560 by the Sultan of Bijapur – Ibrahim Adil Shah. The Safa Masjid of Ponda holds significant cultural value and is representative of medieval Goa's rich history and culture.
The walls of the mosque do not bear any inscriptions, unlike most other mosques. On the south of the Mosque is a masonry tank with Mihrab designs standing adjacent to the mosque. The premise of the mosque consists of gardens and fountains. The roof is built with terracotta tiles, which accommodates a rectangular prayer hall. The walls of the mosque reflect the intricate Mughal era designs and built in arched shape.
This is the largest mosque of Goa and attracts a large number of Muslim devotees, historians, and tourists from across the globe throughout the year.
3. Surla Taar Mosque, Surla, Goa
The Surla Taar Mosque is located in Surla Village, Goa. It is believed to be built by Adil Shah. It was one of the few surviving mosques built in the Adil Shah Era and surrounds an interesting history. The architecture of the mosque gives away a modern look. There is a water tank built in the front yard, which speaks volumes about its old age. The tank has beautiful arched structures around its boundary and has four steps on all sides.
There is a single untarred road that leads to the Mosque from the river bank. Before that, there was no direct path. There were only dense cashew and mango forests surrounding its premises and required devotees to hike all the way to gain access to the prayer chamber. Alternatively, some preferred crossing the river on a raft.
4. Namazgah, Bicholim, Goa
Namazgah is another beautiful mosque in Goa built by Prince Akbar II son of Mudhal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1863 It is located on a hill in Bicholim, Goa amidst picturesque natural scenery.
The architecture of this mosque stands unique from other conventional mosques, with etymological Persian roots, granite flooring, and an open-air prayer area. Towards its north-west side, there is a high wall flanked with two domed-shaped pillars each end and a small open pulpit on the central part. The dome of the structure is a clear symbol of intricate Muslim architecture. The place serves as a place of worship and allows for reading namaz, offering prayer and idgah as well.
The Masjid-ul-Abrar is one of the oldest mosques located in Margao, Goa. It holds significant importance in Goa’s recent history. Post Goa’s liberation, The Ul Abrar was the first mosque in Goa that allowed entry for women to worship. This decision of the committee was highly opposed back then, but it was followed nevertheless. Till date, it has been providing equal learning opportunities to boys and girls. The committee strongly believes in Islamic teachings, which describe mosques as learning centers in the society besides being a place for prayers and worship. So it should be equally accessible to all genders.
This mosque was also the first mosque in Goa, which organized programs for people of other religions.