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The Masjid atop the mountain

Srinivasan Balakrishnan

A Masjid built some 360 years ago is attracting the faithfuls like a magnet. Situated on a hill top called Hajo in the Garudachal range in Kamrup District, it is 32 k.m. west of Guwahati,  Assam’s capital city.

It is renowned as Poa Mecca, meaning Quarter of Mecca. It is believed that a visit to this masjid  earns 1/4th benefit of pilgrimage undertaken to the holy Mecca. In Assamese, ‘poa’ means quarter or 1/4th, like the Hindi word ‘paav’. There is also a belief that sacred soil was brought from Mecca and used in the construction of this masjid.

There is another reasoning for the name Poa Mecca: When Assam was being ruled by the kings of Ahom dynasty, the Dargha atop Hajo was known as ‘Bar Moqam’ (big / spacious place). Both in Urdu and Hindi, the words moqam/muqaam/maqam mean the same thing – a place.  During 18th century, the Ahom King Lakshmi Singha appointed Anwar Haji Faqir as administrator for this Bar Moqam Dargha; the king also ordered that 1/4th (poa) of the land revenue earned from that area would be dedicated to this Dargha. So, it is believed that the Bar Moqam came to be called Poa Moqam which, as years rolled by, could have become Poa Mecca. This is one more reasoning behind the name Poa Mecca. This fact is inscribed in a plaque there.

The Dargah was built in memory of Sultan Ghiyasuddin Auliya. Leaves of historical records indicate that he was the Governor as well as Chief of Army of Kamrup. It is remarkable that he was also a great Sufi saint. Though his period could not be ascertained, it could be around 14th century. But it is for sure that he was one of the pioneer propagators of Islam in this part of India. The masjid atop Hajo was built later in 1657, during Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s reign (1628 – 1658). Both the masjid and dargah were renovated in 1925 and again in 1980; the marble cover of these structures is of recent addition. The complex is under ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) protection.

 The plaque has first two lines inscribed in Arabic  - a verse of Holy Quran (Surah-E-Taubah, Verse 18), Salutation to Prophet Muhammad (Durood), and then a hadith (tradition) of Prophet –‘He who builds a masjid in this world, Allah builds seventy masjids for him in the next world’. The next three lines are in Persian with a total of 16 couplets written in nastaliq style, recording the construction of the Masjid during the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan and the governorship of Prince Muhammad Shuja (hence this area was then known as Shujabad), by Lutfullah Shirazi, Faujdar of Kamrup and a disciple of Saint Shah Niamatullah, in the month of Ramadan A.H. 1067 (1657 A.D.).

A historical note is also extracted from this that the Mughal army was victoriously marching towards Bengal.

A motorable road leads to the hill top, though some devotees prefer to climb up all the way. A panoramic view of the lavish greenery of Assam, nourished by the mighty Brahmaputra River, can be enjoyed from atop the Hajo hill. A few shops there sell religious items. Nearby in the same Garudachal hill range is the Hayagriva Madhav temple which, it is said, was once a Buddhist temple. Hazrats were seen praying for devotees and blessing .Built in traditional Islamic architectural style and embellished with devotion, the Dargah and Masjid stand peacefully aloof atop Hajo hill, providing enlightenment to those who take the pain to reach the hill top.      We returned not ‘poa’ (1/4th) satisfied, but fully satisfied and fully blessed.  

 

 

Writer's contact

S.Balakrishnan

krishnanbala2004@yahoo.co.in /

9840917608 WhatsApp 



 
 
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