The Jama Masjid in Ahmedabad was originally a Bhadra Kali temple!

The Masjid that is referenced here is the Jama Masjid in Ahmedabad. Built during 1424 CE by Ahmed Shah I, the masjid was originally a temple of Goddess Bhadrakali.

One of Ahmedabad’s ancient names was Bhadra which was after Goddess Bhadrakali. This temple was built by Rajput Parmar kings of Malwa (Rajasthan), who ruled this area in between 9th-14th centuries.

Ahmedabad was named after Ahmad Shah I of the Muzaffarid dynasty who captured Karnavati in 1411. The original Bhadra fort still exists in distorted shape. Jama Mosque is situated outside Bhadra Fort area, along the south side of the road extending from Teen Darwaza to ManekChowk.

Hindu Architecture

The temple complex has delicate carvings of flower and paisley motifs, lotus flowers and creepers, mandalas, elephants, coiled serpents representing the kundalini, and celestial dancers.

These carvings are found on the 100-odd surviving pillars and would typically be found in a Hindu temple.

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Islam strictly prohibits idol worship. It is forbidden and punishable under Sharia law to worship or give physical representation or the form of an idol, figure, figurine, animal, etc to God. These carvings clearly contradict the ideals of Islam.

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Another aspect worth noticing is that some of the central domes are carved like lotus flowers, closely related to the typical domes of Jain temples. Also, some pillars are carved with the form of a bell hanging on a chain which closely resembles bells that hang in Hindu temples.

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Pillared Halls

The hall in the complex has many pillars which would prove to be anything but obstructions in offering namaz. So, if this was originally a masjid, then wouldn’t the hall have any pillars? Mosques have large hall or open places for mass prayers.

About the Mosque

The mosque and arcades are built of yellow sandstone and intricately carvedin ways that are common to mosques of this period. The complex is centered on a large rectangular courtyard 75 m long and 66 m wide, which is floored with white marble,ringed by a colonnade painted with giant Arabic calligraphy, and has a tank for ritual ablutions in the center.

The Wall of Prayer, the Qibla is decorated. Pierced stone screens (the ‘Jalis’) are placed between the two pillars of the central openings.The main prayer hall has over 260 columns supporting the roof with its 15 domes.  The main entrance is framed by two columns, only the lower portions of which remain as they were destroyed by an earthquake in 1819.

Vinayak Jain


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