Baitul Mukarram (The Holy House) is the national mosque of Bangladesh. Located at the center of Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh, the mosque was completed in 1968. The mosque has a capacity of 30,000, giving it the respectable position of being the 10th biggest mosque in the world. However the mosque is constantly getting overcrowded. This especially occurs during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which has resulted in the Bangladeshi government having to add extensions to the mosque, thus increasing the capacity to at least 40,000.
The mosque has several modern architectural features whilst at the same time it preserves the traditional principles of Mughal architecture. Baitul Mukarram’s large cube shape was modeled to that of the Ka’abah at Mecca making it a noticeable structure being unlike any other mosque in Bangladesh.
The mosque is on a very high platform. The Baitul Mukarram Mosque’s building is eight storied and 99 feet high from the ground level. According to the original plan, the main entrance of the mosque was to be on the eastern side. The ‘shaan’ on the east is 29,000 square feet with ablution space on its south and north sides. Ablution or Wu’du Place cached an important part when the Baitul Mukarram was begun. The absence of a dome on the main building is compensated by the two superficial domed entrance porticoes, one on the south, and the other on the north. The height of these porticoes consists of three rabbit’s foot shaped arches, the middle of which is bigger than the rest.
Two patios (roofless inner courtyard) ensure that enough light and air enter the prayer hall of Baitul Mukarram Mosque. The mehrab of the hall is rectangular instead of semi-circular. Excessive ornamentation is avoided throughout the mosque, since minimizing ornamentation is typical of modern architecture.
The mosque complex was designed by architect, T Abdul Hussain Thariani. The construction of Baitul Mukarram Masjid began on
27 January 1960, and has been going on in periods. At first Abdul Latif Ibrahim Bawany came about with the proposal of building a grand mosque with a large capacity. The plan included shops, offices, libraries and parking areas within the complex. Though there has been a tradition of dome mosque for Muslim, this building did not maintain the rule of traditional mosque in that time. A Mosque without a dome over the roof of its main prayer hall must have been a unique experiment. The mosque was built when the country was the Part of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.