Cheraman Masjid to be restored under Muziris Heritage Project
India’s first-ever mosque and the oldest in the sub-continent will be recreated in tune with its original character and aesthetics, as the Muziris Heritage Project (MHP) is set to restore the Cheraman Juma Masjid built in 629 AD at Kodungallur of this district.
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan will inaugurate the project, an initiative of Department of Tourism through its heritage conservation efforts, on Sunday at the site of the religious structure, 40 km south of this city. State Finance Minister Dr T M Thomas Isaac will preside over the 4 pm function.
Amongst the dignitaries at the event will be Benny Behanan, MP; Kodungallur MLA V R Sunilkumar; Kerala Tourism Director P Bala Kiran; prominent industrialist, Vice Chairman, NORKA Roots M A Yusuff Ali; Kodungallur Municipality Chairman K R Jaithran; civic body councillor Asha Letha; Muziris Heritage Project’s Managing Director P. M. Nowshad; and Cheraman Juma Masjid Committee President Dr P A Mohamed Sayeed.
The Cheraman Masjid occupies a pivotal place in the Muziris civilisation that enjoyed glory as the ancient world’s greatest trading centre in the East, trading everything from spices to precious stones. The land, also known as Mahodayapuram or Muyirikkode, was the capital of the Perumals as rulers in the line of Chera kings between 9th and 12th centuries AD.
The oral tradition says Cheraman Perumal, as the king, went to Arabia where he met the Prophet and embraced Islam in the early 7th century. From there, he had sent letters, along with Malik Ibn Dinar, as a Persian scholar who travelled to India. Dinar is believed to have built the masjid in 629 AD, five years after the king’s death.
In the early centuries, Kodungallur was a settlement of traders, standing as the doorway to India for varied cultures and races, thus emerging as a cradle of several civilizations. It came to an abrupt end in 1341 owing to massive floods that submerged the region.